Cue that theme music...

Posted: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 by Travis Cody in

It's the performance finale and it's live from Hollywood!

I love the performance finale, even though it means there's only one show left in the season.  This should be a hyper-competitive dance off between our remaining three pairs.

Nicole and Derek are widely considered to be the "best" pair of the season.  They've been consistently good, dance after dance.  I think Nicole had quite a few little details of technique that she has improved each week, as well as overcoming some backlash from viewers who maybe thought she had an unfair advantage over the rest of the celebrities. 

Evan and Anna have been right behind the "ringer pair" all season, and sometimes have surpassed them.  Early on it was Evan's feet that gave him trouble, but he seems to have solved that problem.  He has developed a commanding presence on the dance floor, combining lyrical artistry with athleticism to deliver some truly stunning performances.

Erin and Maks have been the queen and king of contentious and dramatic rehearsal footage, and that has turned me off for much of the season.  When they focus on the dancing, they have shown consistent improvement each week.  And remember, each of these pairs has won the viewer vote at some point in the season.  It would not surprise me if they snuck into the final two.

They are all chasing this...

...the Fabulous Mirror Ball trophy, or the Glitter Ball of Glory as Tom Bergeron called it last week.  And our pairs have 4 routines over 2 nights to stake their claim to it.

Let us proceed with the Redemption round, which is the dance the judges thought each pair should have performed better than they did the first time around.

Erin and Maks dance Samba, with an assist from Bruno.  Sometimes it helps to have another set of respected eyes that aren't specifically invested in the performance.  Erin has to be confident that she can actually do this dance.  Just let go and be sexy.  She's got it.  The hips are going full force.  She's got control of her legs.  Her musicality was excellent.  She didn't just dance...she performed.  The choreography captured the flavor of Samba.  It was fun and flirty.  It had high energy.  She really worked it.  She danced with confidence.  And more importantly, her technique was solid.  Her footwork was strong, and that allowed her to really get her hips working and to take the focus off how bow-legged she is.  I wasn't paying any attention to that.  Instead I was watching some sexy LEGSSES!  And you know how much I like the LEGSSES!  Judges say 10,10,9 for a total of 29.  I'm a bit surprised by the 10's, but I can't say they didn't earn them.

Evan and Anna dance Viennese Waltz, with an assist from Len.  Len helped with the little details that focus on the emotional connection between Evan and Anna.  This dance is so smooth.  I love all the turns.  The extensions and lines are beautiful.  And their side by side work is so well synchronized.  That was so good.  He took the time to meet Anna's eyes, and that makes all the difference.  The dance was fluid, elegant, and graceful.  I loved the sophistication in the romantic story.  I didn't see the collapsed leg that Len pointed out.  I was more focused on the musicality.  In an up tempo Waltz with so many turns and spins, there's a tendency to lose the connection between each movement.  But I didn't see any breaks in musicality.  One move flowed into the next into the next.  This is my favorite style of dance to watch Evan and Anna because it brings out his artistry.  Judges say 10,9,9 for a total of 28.  Bruno must have seen the collapsed leg as well.

Nicole and Derek dance Rumba with an assist from Carrie Ann.  This was probably the worst dance of the season for Nicole, because she let her nerves get the better of her.  This is immediately better than last time.  She's calm and in control.  But the one thing I don't like is some of the pose positions.  I'm surprised because Derek's choreography usually hi-lights his partner better.  Those poses just weren't attractive or sexy, and so I didn't feel the sensuality I expect from a Rumba.  When they were just dancing together, I could see more of that erotic quality.  But then came those poses again, and I sort of felt like they were thrown into the dance just because they could do them, rather than for any real emotional purpose.  She certainly performed this Rumba better than before, and she let go of that need to be perfect.  Still, I wasn't able to get into this dance.  Judges say 9,9,10 for a total of 28.  

Here's our leader board after Redemption round:

29 Erin and Maks
28 Evan and Anna
28 Nicole and Derek

And now the free style round with no rules!

Erin and Maks are up first.  I love the idea of going completely different with contemporary lyrical.  And Maks brought in Mandy Moore to assist with choreography.  This is a risk, but I love that they have decided to go for it.  This is well done.  Erin's performance is stunning.  Wow!  I hope this sets a trend for future free style dances because it was really terrific.  The dance had passion and emotion.  The difficulty for the judges would be that it veered so far away from standard and traditional ballroom show pieces, although there were a few elements of Rumba within the choreography.  The tricks and lifts were amazing.  It's so different than anything we've seen before on the show, and I think it really worked for them.  Judges say 9,8,9 for a total of 26.  Risk for reward.  The risk was that the judges might not "get" it.  But here's the thing...the viewers may love it and that could be where the reward kicks in.

Evan and Anna are up next.  There's a difference of opinion in rehearsal.  Evan wants something completely different, while Anna is feeling the pressure.  This is a first, because they have been on the same page all season.  So Anna brought in Bobby Newbury to assist with choreography in an effort to polish it up and make it shine.  We're dancing to Footloose.  There's a lot of energy and plenty of Jive elements.  The dance is fun, but it felt a little repetitive after awhile.  Don't get me wrong...I really enjoyed it and I thought they danced well.  But it just felt like they would throw a move, and then a few bars later they recycled it.  I think I would have preferred that they do a mega-intense version of Tango or Paso that capitalized more on Evan's ballroom strengths.  Or go full out and do a wild-walking-the-edge-of-sanity Lindy Hop.  The energy and excitement was in this dance, but unfortunately veered so far from Evan's strengths that the dance ended up missing on too many levels.  Judges say 8's across for a total of 24.  Ouch.  But I can't disagree with the score.  I was disappointed.

Nicole and Derek probably have the most pressure.  The expectation might be to go all Pussycat Doll here.  It wouldn't be a bad choice, but regardless of the style they choose, they must bring the wow factor.  Yeah, that's the WOW.  The choreography and tricks were so difficult.  They maintained high energy, but they also had control of what they were doing.  This is one of the best freestyle routines I've seen...GAH...right up until they missed on that last lift spin.  They were headed for a perfect score, but they just slipped a little.  I liked this dance because it mixed actual ballroom steps and moves with side by side routine.  That's what I want to see in a freestyle.  Mix in what you've learned over the course of the season, and then go out and do it better than you've ever done it.  Outstanding job!  Too bad about that slip, but I think that might just leave a better impression with voters than if they had been perfect.  Is that a weird thing to say?  Judges say 9's across for a total of 27.  That would have been 10's across without the flub on that last lift.

Here's our leader board after the first 2 of an unprecedented 4 dances:

55 Erin and Maks
55 Nicole and Derek
52 Evan and Anna

It's really anybody's game at this point.  

We cast our final votes.  I stuck with my man Evan.  I am loyal!  

But here's the news flash...Pam never did settle on her favorite.  She switched throughout the season.  So what did she do?  She went with Erin and Maks!  She waited until everyone danced, and she said Erin and Maks had the best night.

So there it is.  You never can be sure how the voters are going to go.

Tune in tonight and wear your fru-fru finery!  We'll have encores and frivolity and fun!  And finally, we'll award that Glitter Ball of Glory!

I should also mention that So You Think You Can Dance returns this week, on Thursday.  So we get a DWTS champion tonight, followed by a shiny new American Idol tomorrow night, and then we get introduced to some new young talented dancers.

What more could a Dancing Bee want???


  1. The costumes are certainly interesting on this show.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I know what you'll be watching tonight...LOL!

    Have a great day! Give Mr. Tucker an ear scritch and a belly rub from me.

  1. Mags says:

    Go team Evan!!!

  1. Linda says:

    I'm with Mags, I'd love to see Evan pull out the win but I still think it's going to go to Nicole.

    I think it's great that Pam voted for the couple that she felt had the best night. That's the true spirit of the competition right there (though there's certainly nothing wrong with sticking with one's favorite either!)

  1. It should be a tense night for all...and wondering how it will all turn out.

    Most excellent job on the recaps once again Sir.

  1. Dianne says:

    I have been voting for Erin for awhile now
    I think Nicole is wonderful but she is a pro
    some comedian said they should call it Dancing with the Dancers ;)

    it is going to be an extravaganza tonight!!

  1. Charles: I'm partial to the festival of tiny costumes. I miss Edyta!

    Lois: We'll be enjoying this evening!

    Mags: Woooooooo!!

    Linda: I'm actually OK with any of the three winning. I like all of them.

    V: Thank you Sir! I had a blast.

    Dianne: I did throw some votes her way early in the season, but then they kept on with all the rehearsal drama and I just couldn't endorse that with my votes.