Tonight marked the final episode of ABC’s summer hit, Dancing With the Stars. If you had told me that I would have spent the summer reviewing a show on ballroom dancing, I probably would have laughed at you and said something like “I would rather smoke the stems and seeds than watch any ballroom dancing on TV.” For those of you who may not be hip to that analogy, let’s just say it is a situation that requires either massive amounts of desperation or utter stupidity. Well, I don’t know if I am desperate or stupid, but I did enjoy the show, and was looking forward to seeing who was going to be crowned the winner this week. Would it be John O’Hurley and Charlotte Jorgensen, the embodiment of grace and elegance? Or would it go to Kelly Monaco and Alec Mazo, the underdogs who have rode their youthful style into the finals? We’d only have to endure 60 minutes of television and a half dozen Bergeron jokes to find out.This week, each pair would perform a repeat of their favorite dance, and then come back to do a “no holds barred” freestyle. The way Bergeron made it sound, it was like we were to be prepared for an Ultimate Fighting Championship and not a ballroom dance.
Before we started, with the repeat performance, we got to see a little bit of the teams while they practiced for their freestyle. John and Charlotte went first, and we saw that John was really having a difficult time learning how to do the lifts and get Charlotte off of her feet and spun around without killing anybody. She’s not that big of a woman, unlike, say, Rachel Hunter, and John is old but not frail, so clearly there was something wrong with his technique. He would have to call in somebody a little more seasoned to give him a few lessons from the man’s perspective.
Theoretically, he could have called on Louis van Amstel or Jonathan Roberts, but this is Hollywood. John is an actor, so why not call in another actor to give him some perspective? And when it comes to mainstream actors who do dancing, who do you think of first? If you said Richard Gere, you should be shot. If you said Kevin Bacon or John Travolta, you can be forgiven. No, John called in the big guns, ie Patrick Swayze, he of the dirty dancing. BTW, how good was this guy in the late 80s/early 90s? I could watch Road House or Point Break back to back forever (I have not actually seen Ghost, but people tell me that’s pretty good too). Anyway, Patrick gave him a few lessons, and right away John was able to throw her around the floor like he was born to do it.
But enough of that, John and Charlotte were back to perform the quick step, a dance that they received 26 points from the judges very early on in the competition. With their added fluidity and John’s clearly improved skill, they were hoping to really put on a strong performance. I keep on saying that these two have the best chemistry, and this is a great dance to show that chemistry. I’ve gone from laughing at the way Charlotte preens her neck to a sort of mocking acceptance, and so I was able to control myself during this dance. When they were finished, the judges were absolutely amazed at their performance. After scoring a 26 last time, surely they were going to blow that score out of the water. Would we see a 10? Alas, no. Despite heaping much praise on the two of them, the judges kept the double digits under wraps, and awarded a score of 27.
Kelly and Alec were next, but first we had to get their practice scenes. Whenever these two are practicing, I think they are basically simulating sex. Then again, who can blame them? Neither of them have seemed to mention a significant other, so why not get some of that frustration off on the dance floor? They were also having trouble doing some of the lifts, so they went back to Kelly’s house to practice in the pool. Ahh, I remember those great summer days of “practicing” by the pool with a lady friend of mine. Surprisingly, it looked like the two of them were all business, and Kelly had covered herself up more for being in the pool than she had at any point during the competition.
The dance for Kelly and Alec would be the samba, a dance for which they also received 26 points for during the time they had previously performed the dance. This time, she was determined to keep her top on, which would allow the two of them to try more daring moves, and they were right. They performed largely the same routine, except Kelly wasn’t using her hands to prevent her top from flying off. I guess it was good for a couple of extra spins. The dancers thought they did a great job, but they actually received a lower score than the previous time, only managing 25 points. Kelly was really disappointed and said she might take her top off more if that’s what it took to win. Actually, it is really not that hard to find any nude pictures of Kelly Monaco(yes, bush included), you just have to google them. Therefore, I am not sure how much difference simply losing her top is going to make.
Earlier in the episode, Bergeron promised that the contestants that had previously been voted off would make a reappearance to dance. Yes! I would be able to have one more fleeting image of Evander Holyfield before I go to sleep, although to tell you the truth, the orange shirt he was wearing probably burned my retina, so maybe it was good he lost and didn’t subject me to seizures or glaucoma or something. I thought that they would put the returnees into the middle in order to break up the show a little bit, but instead we got started with the freestyle.
You may have guessed by the name, but the freestyle involves a little bit of everything. John and Charlotte aren’t the sexiest duo, but they used every ounce of appeal that they had to get this to work. As Charlotte mentioned in the little best moments montage before they came out for their second dance, John is so good at portraying the person he needs to be for every dance, and this time was no different. They were very daring, which surprised one judge, but was worth another 27 points on the scoreboard for them.
Kelly’s story has been an underdog story the whole time. She received the lowest score the first week, but has bounced back and really made strides in all areas of her dancing. They tried to make her out to be a big klutz who kept falling over, and they even tried to make her the working girl, only able to fit dancing in between her scheduled scenes on ABC. “She may not have the best dancing talent, but she has the biggest heart.” This isn’t “Dancing with Greenpeace;” I think I am already sick of her. Luckily, this was the very last dance anybody was going to have to endure.
I thought their samba was good, and their freestyle was also good, although it looked to me like they made a few mistakes. On a couple of the lifts, it looked like she landed pretty hard on her knees. Then again, this is Hollywood, and a lot of people do a lot of hard work on their knees in order to get ahead. The judges, however, went absolutely gaga over the performance, calling it the best in the whole competition. And with that sort of praise came the 10s. Finally! Kelly and Alec won not one, not two, but three 10s, giving them a total of thirty points, and combined with that 13 they received in the first week, an apt title for the post.
The eliminated dancers came back on, and they also got to perform their favorite dances. It was good to see Evander shake it once more, but god is his footwork ever slow. I still wish everybody had voted for him, because it would have been remarkable if he had stayed longer, but that was not to be. Anyway, the reunion was kind of boring with all of the old routines and all of the people dancing like they didn’t have that much practice.
Although ABC thought it had cleared up any confusion as to the scoring system last week, apparently some people missed the advisory, or ABC didn’t want to take any chances, so they flashed their web address where people can exhaustively search for the information they needed on the scoring system. With the combined scores of the two dances, Kelly and Alec received 2 of what ABC calls ranking points, and John and Charlotte received 1. That means that the internet vote would have to favorite John and Charlotte for them to have a chance. The internet vote didn’t come through, and Alec and Kelly became the champions. ABC even had some fireworks going for the celebration. It made me feel like I was driving through Commerce on the 4th of July.
Everybody clapped, and Kelly was asked to give a speech on what the win meant to her. She went on to say that she was always the underdog and never won anything, so it made her very happy. I’ll pretend I didn’t vomit when I heard that this girl had such a tough time. Oh, to be so pretty. THE HORROR.
There you have it. One season in the record books. It turned out to be so enjoyable, copycats are all over the place, namely “Skating With the Stars,” which promises all of the great costumes and many more falling-flat-on-their-faces moments in the coming months. I really wanted John and Charlotte to win, but Alec and Kelly did do a great job and have worked very hard to get where they are. After both dances, it was a toss up on who was the better dancer, and the internet decided who would get the prize. I still think that scoring from the previous week’s performance (with the internet vote) is fairly sloppy and can be problematic. I also think it is a little too convenient that the person who happened to work for ABC won the overall event, but I’ll save the conspiracy theory for another day.
What did you think of the finale? Did the right team win?