Monday, November 25, 2013

'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Journey's End

It seems like "Dancing With the Stars" just started, but now, the D-List Dance Competition O' Glitter is almost over. 

But first, the couples have to perform three dances, including the fan-favorite freestyle dance!

Let's get down to it ... we have a lot of ground to cover and celebrities to watch dance!

The judges' pick dances were up first, with judges coaching them during rehearsals on dances they wanted to see the dancers improve on. It was kind of awesome to see Len teaching Bill & Corbin, because it's clear that he really understands the dances. Len gets the "cranky old man" title on the judging panel, but he is really a sharp guy who understands dance. Bruno, who taught Jack, was also interesting to see in the rehearsal room, because he's much less crazy than he is on the judging panel. Carrie Ann worked with Amber, and she, too, came across as a very good teacher. It's easy to forget that these people are dancers, but they all clearly know what they're talking about.

  • First up was everyone's favorite underdogs, Bill Engvall and Emma Slater, with a Viennese waltz to "She's Always a Woman To Me." You could really feel the connection between Bill & Emma, which has been one of the most touching things about "Dancing With the Stars" this season. They definitely connected on a great level. This was probably Bill's dance thus far. He still had a few strange little issues with his feet and arms, but overall it was a very smooth, emotional and well-interpreted dance. Len liked the fluidity in his arms, but thought he lost his timing a little bit in a few places. Bruno loved his sincerity and honesty in his performance, but he still dinged him on his timing. Still, he said he loved watching him. Carrie Ann praised him for staying true to himself and bringing his warmth to the dance. Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 8. Total: 24.
  • Corbin Bleu & Karina Smirnoff danced a quickstep to a jazzy big-band song. It was a very clean and fun quickstep that worked perfectly with the jazzy 1930s feel of the song. It was very very cute, and I didn't feel like it had the problem that their earlier quickstep had, with being too frantic or crazy. It was a very sharp little quickstep that fell right into the "pocket" of the music. It was definitely quick, but it had its moments of stillness like Len told them to have. I enjoyed it! Len thought they slowed it down and it was less hectic, but he didn't love Corbin's frame. Overall, though, he thought it was an improvement. Bruno liked the control during the quick dance, but he said that he went out of sync a little bit. Carrie Ann said she didn't see an improvement, and she thought that they didn't sync. Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9. Total: 27.
  • Jack Osbourne & Cheryl Burke were up next with a jive to "Going Up the Country." Jive definitely isn't in Jack's comfort zone, but he has improved quite a bit. He's not as snappy on his feet as other dancers, but he did improve quite a bit. He still seemed a little overly frantic, but he stayed on the balls of his feet better. He also really showed off his wonderful personality, and that's what always endears him to me so much every week when he dances. It wasn't a fantastic dance, but he was adorable! Bruno was disappointed by his timing, but he did like the improvement of his kicks and praised his transformation on the show. Carrie Ann was "heartbroken" because the dance wasn't great and they were out of sync, but she did see improvement. Len said he lost it, but he encouraged him to come back stronger and enjoy the other two dances. Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 8. Total: 24.
  • Amber Riley & Derek Hough danced a Charleston to "Bang Bang." They definitely improved from the first time, even though I really did like their Charleston from earlier. It was more in sync this time, and I loved the crazy choreography that infused Charleston and hip-hop in such a totally awesome way. It was definitely the best dance of the first round. Carrie Ann was very proud of Amber & Derek, and thought they were much more in sync. Len said it was the most improved by far of the round. Bruno thought it was a "power surge," and was happy with the sharpness of their footwork. Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10. Total: 30.

Next round was the samba relay challenge. The order was Jack, Amber, Bill & Amber. All of the couples dance in order, with transitions, to TLC performing "No Scrubs." Which is AWESOME, because who doesn't love TLC!? The winner of the challenge gets 5 points, and on down to 2 points for the 4th place dancer.

  • Jack & Cheryl did well, but Jack kind of looked like a dork, because he couldn't quite get the hip action going. He's just so cute and fun, though!
  • Derek & Amber did great, and put a lot of passion into the dnace, with great hip action, shoulder action and general sass.
  • Bill & Emma were kind of dorky as usual, but Bill actually did a pretty good job. He has some really great moves in there and even had some hip action.
  • Corbin & Karina were fantastic, of course, Corbin had a lot of sex appeal, as well as some great moves. This is his comfort zone, and it shows.

The judges really enjoyed the dances. Len was glad they all did well and nobody screwed up. Bruno said it was all sexy. Carrie Ann loved Corbin's samba, and she was happy with Amber's moves, especially the samba roll. She said that Jack really improved, and she loved Bill's dancing, especially his transition.

Rankings: Fourth: Bill & Emma; Third: Jack & Cheryl; Second: Amber & Derek; First: Corbin & Karina. Sounds about right to me!

And then, it was FREESTYLE! The best dance of the season!

  • Bill & Emma did an Indiana Jones-inspired dance to the Indiana Jones theme. The dance really showcased what Bill does best, which is act. He was just plain hilarious and adorable, and he danced pretty darn well, too. His timing was better than it's been in weeks, and he had a lot of moves in there that he performed very, very well. It was a super fun dance with a lot of personality. It definitely was the right choice because it reminded people why Bill was in the final - because he's fun and entertaining to watch! (And then at the end, he tore off his shirt and made me, and everyone, laugh incredibly hard.) Len praised the entertainment factor, and loved the way that he put his cheeky moves in it. Bruno called it "insanely good fun." Carrie Ann said he is the "everyman's man who has become a dancing hero." Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 9; Bruno: 8. Total: 25.
  • Corbin & Karina were up next with a dance to "Smooth Criminal." Travis Payne, Michael Jackson's choreographer, helped them work on their dance. It was a very, very hip dance, with great moves and a few really epic and amazing Cirque du Soliel-inspired tricks. They really did a great job channeling Michael Jackson for some of it, and it was just a really neat, cool, well-executed dance. As far as spectacle goes it was just plain incredible! Bruno loved it, and Carrie Ann thought they really did a wonderful job channeling Michael Jackson. And Len just gave them a standing ovation. Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10. Total: 30.
  • Jack & Cheryl's dance was supposed to summarize his season, from having no dance experience to getting into the finals. They danced to "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails." It was a very smooth, Broadway/Old Hollywood-type dance that was a very clever choice because it really showcased Jack's strengths of smooth dancing and boatloads of charm. He did a fantastic job really keeping in sync with Cheryl and their backup dancers, and it was just a wonderful, fun and adorable little number that was 100% Jack. It was an incredible dance that I absolutely loved watching. Carrie Ann called it a "showstopper." Len said he is proud of him. And Bruno said, "Hooray for Jack!" He called the dance glossy and glitzy. Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10. Total: 30. (Seeing Jack burst into tears after he got a perfect score and run over to hug his mom, sister and wife was just the icing on the cake. D'awwww, I'm feeling all gushy!)
  • Amber & Derek featured Amber's step team history, but it had a country-western theme. They danced to "Can You Do This." It was incredible, featuring Amber and a whole crop of boy dancers. And, you know what? She held her own like you wouldn't believe. Then, when they go to her step-dancing feature, it was awesome. Amber knows how to move, and she really got to showcase that in this dance. It was a super, super cool dance. Len loved how the number was all about Amber despite the fact she was out there with six pros. Bruno said she was a leading lady with star power and praised her for commanding the performance. Carrie Ann said she was in control of the number, and called her a "diva dancing James Brown." Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10. Total: 30. (Amber also burst into tears, which, again, d'awwwww!!!!!! I love how emotionally attached they get to their dances!)

Unfortunately, they still had to eliminate somebody! It seems so sad - they should all get to compete in the Tuesday night finale!

Safe tonight are: Amber & Derek and Corbin & Karina. They both definitely deserve it - they've been tops all season.

And so, it comes down to this ... my two favorite couples in the bottom. Jack definitely deserves to be in the finals, but Bill is a lot of fun! 

Eliminated is: Bill & Emma. I'm incredibly sad to see them go, because Bill has been absolutely wonderful to watch all season! But I'm also amazed and so pleased that they made it all the way through to the finals, and that we got to watch such a great journey! Bill is exactly the type of person I want to see on "Dancing With the Stars" - someone fun and hilarious to watch! They won my heart for sure!

So, who should win the mirror ball trophy tomorrow night? It's really a toss-up, because they are all really fabulous dancers. Honestly, though, I really want Jack to win. I think he's made the hugest improvement, and his charm and charisma make him so much fun to watch. I also just think he really shows what dancing can mean to people, and how it can heal people and make them better. I really love Corbin and Amber, and I definitely won't be sad if they win, but Jack is definitely my favorite.

Who do you think should win?

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