Cue that theme music!

Posted: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 by Travis Cody in

It's the Grand Finale!

Yes indeed.  We've got our fru fru finery, our bread and cheese, and our double-step-over-lip-lock-chocolate-fudge-supreme-layer-CAKE.  Oh, and our nice merlot.  We are ready for 2 hours of frivolity.

And when you get to the end of this post, you'll know which of our three remaining pairs has danced away with that Glittering Globe of Glory!

First off, let's have a few encores from Monday's performance finale.

I'm not convinced that the freestyle from Rob and Cheryl was worth a perfect 30, but I did enjoy it.  Click here if the video doesn't play.

I loved the Cha Cha Cha from Ricki and Derek.  Click here if the video doesn't play.

The judges gave the other two freestyle performances perfect scores of 30 and thought that Ricki and Derek only deserved 27.  We thought their freestyle was dance of the night.  Click here if the video doesn't play.

Here's our leader board after Monday's two dances.

57 Rob and Cheryl
54 Ricki and Derek
54 JR and Karina

We'll add one more score from the judges before eliminating one pair, and then the remaining two couples will dance a final time before the winner is crowned.

Of course we have our pros leading off the show.  You know I like that.  And all of our celebrities are back as well.

Lady Antebellum is in the ballroom, accompanied by Kym, Dmitry, Peta, and Val.  Not a bad song, but I thought it was made better by the beautiful Rumba.

The first round of competition features our couples dancing a favorite and hoping to better their original score.

Ricki and Derek dance Tango.  This was fantastic the first time.  I love the drama in this dance.  I thought this was one of Derek's all time best efforts for choreography because the Psycho music was so challenging.  I think this time around, Ricki improved on her footwork.  That's something she has struggled with all season, according to the judges.  And her shoulders.  Now that she has figured out how to keep them down and back, her posture looks a lot stronger.  This was a calculated choice, because it's tough to improve on how well they danced it the first time.  It all comes down to detail, and I think that's what made this performance even better than the first time.

Rob and Cheryl dance Foxtrot.  I think this is a good choice, because Rob has improved so much since they danced this and I think the style suits the personality we've seen emerge over the last 7 weeks.  Unfortunately, it took him too much time to relax into the musicality.  The beginning was stiff and he had a couple of footwork bobbles.  The dance ended well, but I think he missed an opportunity to really improve on this.  It was a little sloppy.  I do appreciate the journey he and Cheryl have been through, and I like that he chose this routine.  The problem I have with it is that there isn't any amount of charm that overcomes the mistakes at the beginning the threw off the timing.  

JR and Karina dance Jive.  This is the Jive that Len didn't care for because he said it had too much Lindy Hop influence.  I did like this Jive, probably for that reason because I love Lindy Hop.  They'll change the choreography to take some of that out, and remove the opening lift.  The problem I have with the dance this time around is that they didn't connect all the movement.  There were a couple of moments when they stopped, almost like they were waiting for the counts to catch up to the music because they didn't put in enough steps.  In retrospect, I think they should have stuck with the original routine because it had more excitement.  This one looked like it was just thrown together and I didn't like it.  

Now the judges rank the couples to award points.  Third and 26 points go to Rob and Cheryl.  Second and 28 points go to JR and Karina.  First and 30 points go to Ricki and Derek.  I'll agree with that ranking.

Here's our combined leader board with the third round of scoring added to Monday's two dances.

84 Ricki and Derek
83 Rob and Cheryl
82 JR and Karina

Here we go now with the first elimination.  Finishing in third place...Ricki and Derek.

Thought so.  I thought she got jobbed for scores last night, but I also thought that the fan bases for JR and for Rob would overwhelm hers. 

So Rob and Cheryl will face off against JR and Karina with an Instant Samba to Shake Your Bon Bon for the final scores of the season.  JR and Karina go first, followed by Rob and Cheryl. comes the parade of eliminated celebrities.  Ron and Peta return, but his Cha Cha Cha isn't much better than it was in week 1.  Elisabetta and Val return...I thought she had potential but didn't have the fan base to stick around long enough.

Kristin and Mark return with a new routine, to which they added a second pro dancer.  I agree that she was probably eliminated too soon, but keep in mind that if you don't grab the fans, then it doesn't matter how much potential you have as a dancer.  That was a fun Jive routine.  I'd have thrown an 8, maybe even a 9 for that.

Chynna was an early favorite of mine with partner Tony.  She couldn't survive the mistake in her Mission Impossible routine.  I love that they get a chance now to do the dance as it was meant to be done.  With the pressure off, Chynna reminds us of the talent she had.  It's a shame she couldn't get it the first time around, and didn't have the fan support to make it through eliminations.  Who knows, maybe she still would have been eliminated after this dance.  But then again, maybe not.  She was really good.  I would have thrown 8s across.

Carson and Anna get a chance to put together a new routine to Madonna's Vogue.  Now that's entertainment.  Fun stuff.

Nancy and Tristan return with their Broadway Foxtrot.  This dance makes me smile. 

Next up it's Chaz and Lacey, accompanied by Lacey's dad Buddy Schwimmer.  Love it!  You know, Buddy is a former world class swing dance champion and still a first class teacher.

David and Kym return with their Broadway Quickstep routine, dressed up with our Dance Troupe.  That was fun!

Lady Antebellum are back with one more song, accompanied by our Dance Troupe.

Hope and Maks return with one of my favorite routines of the season...their sunny Quickstep. 

OK.  Here we go with Instant Samba.

First up, JR and Karina...Samba was one of my favorite dances from these two.  JR doesn't look good at all this time around.  The dance looks off time and out of step.  Judges say 10s across for a total of 30.

Now Rob and Cheryl...Rob looks very relaxed and in control.  Samba was also one of my favorite performances from him.  Gotta say it...Rob had a better performance than JR.  Judges say10s across for a total of 30.

I get what the judges did there.  The fan vote should decide it.  But if they were going to throw perfect scores regardless of what they say in the dancing, what was the point of doing it?

Here's our grand finale leader board:

113 Rob and Cheryl
112 JR and Karina

OK.  We've been through nearly 2 hours of frivolity.  Here are the final results.  Finishing second...Rob and Cheryl.

That means JR and Karina are the Season 13 champions!

Wahoooo!  Congratulations to JR, and to Karina for winning her first Mirror Ball Trophy.

I enjoyed this season.  There are always pleasant surprises and sometimes shocks when the celebrities actually get on the floor and start dancing.  But I'm always entertained.

Thanks to all for putting up with my silly obsession.  Season 14 is due next March.

Later gang!


  1. Anonymous says:

    Congrats to JR. I'm glad he won. I was hoping Ricki would have gotten second, but I think you're right about the fan base. I enjoyed the show.

  1. Cherie says:

    Great job from our favorite commentator! I love making it an event night. How fun! And congratulations to JR and all the finalists. They worked really hard to get there.

  1. Ivanhoe says:

    Lil' bummed that Ricki did not make it, but very happy for JR!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you & Pam!

  1. I'm okay with JR and Katrina winning, but I do think Riki was the better dancer this last week.
    Now, let's get to some REAL dancing, bring on SYTYCD!!!

  1. My hat is off to this great man for serving his contry and surviving the ied that almost destroyed him.

  1. Thanks for the update. No time really to watch this season, so I had to watch vicariously through you. I didn't even know who had won! I'm glad it was JR, for purely sentimental reasons. :)

  1. Thanks for the update. No time really to watch this season, so I had to watch vicariously through you. I didn't even know who had won! I'm glad it was JR, for purely sentimental reasons. :)