November 28, 2012 12:21 AM by Stephanie Gustafson
Somehow, we’ve already made it to the all-star finale of Dancing with the Stars. How is that even possible? Tonight’s finale is unprecedented in multiple ways. For example, it’s the only finale in which all three contestants are females. Also, one of two finalists (Shawn Johnson and Kelly Monaco) could be the first on DWTS to take home two mirror ball trophies! The pressure’s on!
The finale is two hours long, which means lots of dancing and lots of filler material. Several favorite contestants from the past season will return for more dancing (I’m hoping for performances from Gilles Marini and Sabrina Bryan!) before the finalists take the stage one last time for an instant dance-off. Side note — every time an instant dance-off takes place on this show, I feel like I’m talking about microwaveable oatmeal. Let’s hope the dances are a little higher in quality than mushy instant breakfast.
Kicking off the finale is a jam-packed performance featuring the entire cast of the all-star season. It’s pretty cool to see everyone back on the stage…well, for the most part. The performance does remind me just why I was so glad to see Pam Anderson and Bristol Palin eliminated. And why I’m ecstatic that Bristol did not make the finale. Yes, she’s improved, but can you imagine her in the top three with the likes of Shawn Johnson, Melissa Rycroft or Kelly Monaco? That would just be wrong.
In keeping with tradition, the judges announce their favorite of last night — predictably, Shawn and Derek’s insane freestyle dance, in which the blondies were joined by the Fierce Five. I’m always happy to see this group of talented young women and I’m convinced that one of them will be returning to the stage next season as a part of the all-new cast.
Good think Shawn doesn’t look too tired after her freestyle performance (talk about stamina!), because she’s not done dancing for the night. The finalists select their instant dance-off styles and they are as follows:
-A jive to Cat and Mouse for Kelly and Val
-A samba to Life is a Highway for Melissa and Tony
-A cha cha to Respect for Shawn and Derek
I don’t think any of these selections are particularly ideal for the contestants. Life is a Highway is a horrible song for a samba, unless they’re planning on using some crazy remix version I haven’t heard about. Shawn would have been better suited to the jive, as it allows her to better show off her athleticism. And Kelly and Val could amp up the heat during the cha cha. Oh well, it will be interesting to see what the finalists make of the challenge.
Bristol and Pam both return to the stage in order to remind us once again just how lucky we are to have Melissa, Shawn and Kelly in the finale. Bristol’s short dance isn’t as painful to watch as performances past, but it still is pretty boring. Pam is more entertaining (especially, I suspect, for any guys who would rather be watching ESPN but succumbed to the wrath of their significant others), but her gyrations hardly count as ballroom dancing.
I completely forgot that Helio Castroneves was even a part of this season! A brief appearance with Chelsie Hightower proves again that he was eliminated from the show far too early. Helio is followed by Drew Lachey with partner Anna Trebunskaya…and Drew’s adorable daughter. D’aww, so darn cute!
Team Gangnam Style returns for another hilarious group dance, the highlight of which, once again, is Gilles shaking his stuff in an itsy-bitsy towel. Kelly couldn’t be a part of the dance this time around, as she needs the time to prepare her jive. Taking her place is Joey Fatone, and wow, he sure is the perfect fit for this crazy dance!
Just in case you haven’t had your fill of Joey, he’s back with a bizarre performance that involves time travelling and weird conversations with himself (about french fries and boy bands, of course). It’s actually an intriguing concept, but really, this should have been placed earlier in the show, when I was feeling less antsy. Why not put Bristol and Pam in for the long middle stretch that nobody’s really watching?
Team Call Me Maybe is back for the second guilty pleasure dance of the night, and while it is well-choreographed and well-danced, it just isn’t that exciting compared to Gangnam Style. The filler continues with a fun performance from Kirstie and Maks, followed by a repeat of Gilles and Peta’s sizzling Bollywood routine. Apolo and Emmitt also perform, and while they are respectable dancers, I’m still glad they didn’t wind up as finalists. At this point though, I don’t really care — I just want the damn results already!!
Finally, finally, we return to the actual competition. Kelly and Val head out for their Cat and Mouse jive, and while I still think the dance would have been better suited to Shawn and Derek, it’s a nice performance. The couple earns 9.5s all around, which I actually think is pretty generous on the part of the judges.
Melissa’s next! Everyone was in awe of her freestyle last night and I, being the picky studio dancer and So You Think You Can Dance enthusiast I am, yawned and thought “meh, I’ve seen better.” Still, I acknowledge that contemporary isn’t easy to pull off. Nor, for that matter, is dancing the samba to a country song on limited notice. As I suspected, the song and the dance are a terrible match, but Melissa and Tony still manage to make it look decent.
Shawn and Derek’s instant dance-off is definitely the winner of the night. Derek had really been hoping not to get cha cha, but it seems to have worked out in the his favor after all. Carrie Ann Inaba swoons (but thankfully, does not fall out of her chair again), labeling the performance “nothing less than perfection!”
And now, after sitting through all this filler, it’s time for some results! Kelly’s the first contestant out of the running, and honestly, I expected that. She’s definitely a talented dancer, but I think she’s overshadowed by Shawn and Melissa. We get a brief clip of Kelly’s experiences on the show followed by another rendition of the stereotypical but awesome Patrick Swayze lift from Dirty Dancing.
It’s down to Shawn and Melissa…and last time they were in a finale together, Shawn took the mirror ball trophy home. It looks like we’ll have to wait awhile before a double winner though, because Melissa is the season 15 victor! Tony’s reaction to the victory is hilarious — he jumps all over the place like a madman after being lifted up on the shoulders of his buddies Val and Maks. And Melissa looks like she’s about to cry. Aww, I’m happy for her — after all she’s been through and all the amazing performances she’s given us, she definitely deserves that trophy!
Were you glad to see Melissa crowned the champion of the all stars? Or were you hoping for a victory from Shawn or Kelly? Feel free to share your reaction in the comments section below!
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Photo Credit: ABC