Here we are, “Dancing With The Stars” fans! Only one episode left! The final finale is tomorrow night, and we’re now down to three couples. And as much as I’ve really enjoyed having Bill Engvall on the show, I’m so glad he didn’t make it into the finale.
The dancers had a lot to do, starting with a judge’s pick, where they rehashed a dance from earlier in the season. It’s very difficult to bring back an old dance after so many weeks, especially while constantly learning new choreography. Yes, the muscle memory comes back, to varying degrees, but the dances rarely have the same freshness, or adrenaline, that goes with a first performance.
Making matters worse tonight, the contestants were so nervous that they all had little bobbles and missteps. Well, except Amber, whose Charleston definitely improved. Bill’s dance was definitely better than last week, but not necessarily better than the first time he did this waltz.
Adorable, amazing Jack really surprised me, because he takes direction so well. He sees instantly how the movement is different and how to fix it in his body, such that when Bruno corrected his kicks, it was an immediate improvement—but that was in rehearsal. In performance, his movements were better than last time, but his timing suffered. Corbin’s quickstep was one of my favorite dances this season, but tonight, he seemed so concerned about not letting the dance become frantic that it almost looked low energy (not to mention those big mistakes at the end).
My Top 5 dances this week are pretty obvious—and not just because there are only five dances left. These were genuinely the best dances of the night—possibly the season:
The Samba Relay: All four couples danced samba to a section of the song, “No Scrubs,” performed live in the ballroom by TLC and Lil’ Mama. Jack and Cheryl, Amber and Derek, Bill and Emma, and Corbin and Karina, in that order, took the stage with cool transitions and hip samba moves. Though the samba felt a little slow, they all danced it really well. Even Bill was much smoother and grounded. But how was that Corbin’s first samba? Wacky.
All four freestyle dances were fantastic! Not just because they’re new and different and everyone pulls out all the stops, but because they were exciting and beautifully executed. Everyone was so nervous dancing the judge’s picks that I was afraid for the freestyles, but literally, each freestyle routine was better than the one before it. Terrific.
Bill and Emma’s Indiana Jones Freestyle: Wow, fantastic! That’s the way to do a finale, because that was Bill’s best dance. Apparently I liked it more than the judges did, because had I my own set of sparkly paddles, I might have given him a 10. He gave it his all, as usual, and played a fun character, but he was also on time, had terrific lines, lots of energy, and the lifts were really clean. It was great. And the producers continue to have lots of fun with the graphics—I love that giant mirror ball.
Corbin and Karina’s Michael Jackson Freestyle: While I really enjoyed this, I confess there was something missing about it. It was a tad too mechanical, or slow, or perhaps just too derivative. But there was some great choreography and cool tricks, and of course Michael Jackson is a hugely important icon in American popular dance. This was a wonderful homage.
Jack and Cheryl’s Top Hat Freestyle: How cute Jack is. He’s lovely, very sweet, and looked great channeling Fred Astaire. That wink! He’s such a showman. This routine had great choreography, excellent execution, a terrific barrel turn to finish, and was a big, classic Hollywood number on “Dancing With the Stars.” Terrific. I just needed Cheryl to stop crying before I started crying too! (Has she been much weepier this season than in the past?)
Amber and Derek’s Country Western Freestyle: Yes! I love stepping! I was overjoyed they incorporated it into the number, and it was so great to see Amber in charge too. I hope she gets a co-choreography credit for this number. They executed the dance expertly, and it really showcased her well. I, like Tom, am just surprised to hear Derek say he can’t do something. Shenanigans.
With the dancing out of the way, the couples assigned dance styles for tomorrow night’s fusion dance, and one couple was eliminated. While it’s sad to see Bill go, because he has such a great spirit, I’m very relieved it was he and not one of the others to leave. I’m very happy that Emma made it so far, because she came out of her shell more as the season went on, and she was a great addition to the cast.
So what think you, dance fans? Tomorrow’s the big night. Are you excited to see the fusion dances? Do you think there’s any chance they’ll bring back the Dance Center segment (my favorite part of each season)? Most importantly, who do you think will make off with the trophy? Who do you want to win? Those are two very different questions. As much as I love Corbin, I don’t think he’ll win. I suspect it’ll be Amber, but Jack could steal it—and I for one would be perfectly happy about that. Would you?
Place your bets in the comments.