Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
If you were anywhere near a TV Sunday night, you knew there was only one competition you had to see — and no, I’m not talking about Iron Chef America’s Battle ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE!!! (Sorry, that Chairman really rubbed off on me.) Of course, I’m referring to the lavish season finale of Dancing with the Stars. After weeks of cha chas and paso dobles, we finally would discover who’d be taking home the trophy of chintzy distinction that is The Mirrorball. Would it be nimble boybander, Drew Lachey? Would it be leggy wrestler, Stacy Keibler? Or would it be proud champion, Jerry Rice? There were only two things we could be sure to see: 110 minutes of useless filler and another embarrassing Samantha Harris flub. And let me tell you, we certainly got both.The big night began with Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris greeting us from their little perch in the crowd. Seeing how this was a special night, the two came to us decked out in their finest coat and tails. Okay, maybe not coat and tails. More like black tie. Actually, scratch that too. You see, Tom had on a tux, but he marred his classy outfit by wearing an unseemly silver necktie. For shame, Bergeron. This is Dancing with the Stars, not the All-Star Hollywood Squares Reunion Special. As for Sam, well, her outfit seemed fine… for now. More on that later.
Anyway, in proper “We need filler, STAT!” form, we then watched all the previous stars of the season enter the ballroom via the mini-grand staircase. I was somewhat surprised that the producers didn’t force the cast from the first season on us as well. Must… kill… time… Actually, the biggest surprise was that the ever-loopy Tatum O’Neal didn’t tumble down the stairs. Props to her.
Well, with the band playing a lame rendition of “I Want to Dance With Somebody” (then again, what rendition of that song isn’t lame?), the stars boogeyed down on the raised portion of the stage before descending onto the dance floor and swooping across for the audience to see. Kenny and Andrea were first, and in typical Mayne style, he jumped off the stage and acted like the fool he is. And speaking of fools, Tatum and Nick descended to the dance floor next. The troubled Oscar winner immediately shimmied around like an over-eager wedding guest, which might explain why Nick was so happy to suddenly wander off and schmooze with the judges. Of course, this was a critical error on his part because it left Tatum alone to flap her arms spastically, all with a silly smile plastered on her face. I’m pretty sure she was high.
As for the rest of the couples, their entrances were fairly standard. Jonathan Roberts gave Giselle a nifty lift, Maksim moonwalked across the floor, and Edyta went a little nuts, shaking her ruffly dress all over the place. And then, of course, there was Master P who plodded out with his usual heavy-footedness. Oh — and Lisa Rinna. She shimmied onto the floor as if the world might explode if she were to stop shaking her chest. I’ve never seen so many tassels move so quickly. It’s official. This was the best Bar Mitzvah ever.
With everyone introduced, Tom and Sam announced that Mary J. Blige would be performing later — a name synonymous with ballroom dancing, naturally. The camera then pulled out a little to reveal part of Samantha’s dress. Granted, we couldn’t see the whole thing, but from what had been revealed, it looked as if she had found a black tablecloth and wrapped her legs up in it. Seriously, Samantha Harris is Julie Chen’s protégé. Chronic stuttering: check. Bizarre fashions: check. Silly smile: check. I’d love to see them join forces.
Well, seven minutes into the show, and nothing had happened yet. So what better time to recap Thursday’s show? Sweet. And so we sat through four minutes of recap (which was good for me since my Tivo had so spuriously shunned the episode). Eleven minutes into the program, the recap ended… for now. Yes, in an effort to create the world’s most ridiculous piece of filler material, the producers actually inserted a cliffhanger into the recap, which meant we had to wait through an entire commercial break to get back to the action. Before that though, the camera finally revealed Samantha’s dress in all its glory, and yes, it was even larger than I had ever feared. This was not a ball gown. This was a monster. Like Jaws. No wonder why the director had waited so long to show it. I couldn’t be sure, but I think she may have been sporting a hoop skirt. And not just any low-rent hoop skirt. I’m talking about a hardcore whalebone hoop skirt. And because I have a mild obsession with looking things up on Answers.com, I was quite amused to find the site’s entry on hoop skirts reported, “They can sometimes be seen in the gothic fashion scene.” You heard it here first: Sam Harris is a secret goth.
Anyway, fourteen minutes into the show, and we were finally ready to commence part deux of the recap. We got to relive moments like Jerry’s triumphant freestyle dance — a performance leaving me to question why Anna looked so natural in her afro wig. Maybe she’s the long lost daughter of Pam Grier. I also got to see Stacy’s infamous performance, and yeah, her disco stuff was really lame — at least, for her standards. Drew was really the man of the hour Thursday night. And furthermore, Cheryl really wanted to hump him too. Somebody get her a cold shower.
Once the recap was over, Samantha gushed to the camera, “All of those routines brought such a smile to my face.” Let’s be honest, so do bubbles and the word “spelunker.” Well, if you thought this show was going to be all recap and no dancing — or as Len would say it, all sizzle and no sausage — then you had another thing coming. The three finalists would be judged one last time before tabulating results. First up: Jerry Rice.
At twenty-two minutes into the program, the football legend took to the dance floor with a downright funky cha cha. Even though Jerry was the celebrity, Anna was the real star as her body wiggled and jiggled all the way through the routine. Of course, the crowd went nuts, showering the two with chants of “Jer-ry! Jer-ry!” as usual, and Len offered up a particularly nice compliment, saying, “In twenty years time, when you’ve got your grandchildren on your knee, you can say, ‘In 2006, I mastered ballroom and latin dancing.’” Sadly, in twenty years, all I’ll be able to tell my grandkids is “In 2006, I mastered using the remote control shortcuts on the Tivo.” And even that’s a lie. Sigh.
Jerry received equally high praise from Carrie Ann, who seemed to be wearing fake eyelashes from the Drag Queen Accessory Hut, and let’s not forget Bruno, who snuck in this week’s forced pun, “The lady and the champ!” Ultimately, Jerry scored straight nines for a total of twenty-seven. Even though it paled next to Drew and Stacy’s showy string of thirties, it was still very impressive. I kind of wanted Jerry to earn one ten though. Ah well. His cumulative score was eighty out of ninety, which was solid, but surely nothing compared to what Stacy and Drew’s scores would be. Afterwards, Jerry talked about wanting the Mirrorball Trophy so badly, he might just steal it. This caused Tom to later joke, “Jerry’s such a gentleman because when he’s thinking of stealing something, he gives an hour’s notice.” Another instant classic from Bergeron!
Next up was Stacy, who we learned had injured her foot earlier in the week. Suure. Now you say that. Funny how this surfaced after her freestyle bomb. Anyway, since his partner had been ailing from a variety of injuries, Tony brought in a “stretch specialist” — make that a creepy stretch specialist — who pulled and yanked Stacy in all sorts of painful ways. Must have worked because Stacy’s was as fleet-footed as ever in her samba. And yes, Tony’s animé hairstyle was back (it comes out with Latin dances). Well, Stacy brought the crowd to its feet, and hey, there’s TVgasm friend Geoff Stults. Apparently, the two are dating. Huh. I didn’t know that. I guess Geoff’s not as close a TVgasm friend as I thought.
Well, the good news for Stacy was that she was back in top form. “If there are fifty series, I doubt if ever a celebrity will produce a samba like that,” Len said, continuing his trend of flowery praise. Stacy eventually racked up yet another perfect score of thirty out of thirty, bringing her cumulative up to a lofty eighty-six. Plus, she topped it off with a touching story about how the kids at Johns Hopkins Medical Center had sent her a poster of encouragement. Aww, that’s so sweet. But was it as sweet as Cheryl giving Drew a “onesie” for his unborn child? I DIDN’T THINK SO! Yes, in the next segment, we saw such a gift exchange happen between Cheryl and Drew, and in case the sight of a onesie wasn’t enough to make you sigh, it had inscribed on it “Drew Crew.” Wow, looks like Drew and Cheryl have taken a page from the Lisa Rinna school of t-shirt making. Except, of course, Drew Crew has the added bonus of rhyming. Take THAT, Team Rinna!
The big excitement in Drew’s final dance was that at the end, he had to leap over Cheryl. It could be a dramatic finale. Or an embarrassing gaffe. What would happen? This was more exciting than the climax of Dirty Dancing! Well, I won’t keep you in suspense. Drew executed the move flawlessly, and Cheryl’s head remained untouched by his airborne crotch. Bravo, Sir Lachey! Bravo!
Just like with Stacy and Jerry, the judges heaped praise onto Drew, earning him a solid score of straight nines. His total of twenty-seven maintained his first-place lead by one point (eighty-seven out of ninety), but despite that, the excitable audience booed the judges. Gosh, wasn’t there a time when earning straight nines was an unbelievable feat? Tough crowd.
With the dances over, it was time to get into some major filler material. And who better to do so than Mary J. Blige, who took the stage while two champion salsa dancers (the ones from earlier in the season) performed below her. Oh yeah, good times. Doing the salsa to “Family Affair” — total match. Maybe next season, they can get some square dancers to do-si-do to Mya.
As the clock approached the sixty minute mark, Tom and Sam announced that the third place winner would be eliminated from the competition. Chances were that Jerry had the highest amount of votes, so he wouldn’t be going home just yet. But then again, Drew’s cowboy dance may have won over some valuable phone calls. Oh, enough speculation. I’ll just tell you who was dropped. Sadly, it was none other than the ever lovely Stacy. The crowd once again let loose with the boo-birds, and I feared that perhaps some tomatoes would be thrown. That’s okay. If objected were hurled at the audience, Samantha would surely shield everyone with the gargantuan black tarp she called a dress. Seriously, that thing was huge.
Well, with Stacy out, it didn’t take much to figure out how the rest of this would go. She clearly had the lowest popular vote (mathematically, anything other than last place in the popular vote would have knocked Jerry out of the running), which meant that Drew could earn no less than two points in the popularity scoring. Considering that he had already earned three points for having the highest judging score, this meant that Drew would earn at least five points total. Jerry, meanwhile, could only score four points at best (1 point for judges scores, 3 max for popularity). Thus, no matter what, Drew had clinched it.
So now we had to sit for an hour to find out what we already know? Great.
As we began twiddling our thumbs (well, we started that about forty five minutes ago), Stacy spoke to Tom. We could barely hear her over the continuing, thunderous applause, but that’s okay. She wasn’t really saying anything noteworthy beyond the usual “We’re all winners already” stuff. Then it was time for some memory lane junk, which predictably led to footage of Stacy crying in the interview. Aw. Poor stacy. She deserved better. I love her. Maybe I can start a love triangle with her and Geoff. It would be all over the tabloids! Or not.
Later, in a touching moment, Stacy teared up as she addressed Drew and Jerry, and might I add that Jerry looked like he may have been crying as well. His face looked a little puffy. Just saying…
But enough of this Stacy stuff. We have bigger and better filler to attend to. “Who will be crowned Dancing With The Stars Champion?” Samantha asked. “We’ll find out soon!” Soon — a.k.a. an hour. Better get a snack. This is gonna take a while.
We then cut to commercial, or rather, a trailer for the new movie, Take the Lead. It was a rousing preview, but honestly, I’m not sure I could take it seriously. Strike 1: Antonio Banderas. Strike 2: Yaya. Yes, our old friend Yaya from America’s Next Top Model was featured prominently in the trailer (a step up from Radioshack commercials, I suppose). I know what you’re thinking: “Antonio Banderas and Yaya together at last? A gift from heaven!” But I assure you, there will be better things to waste your money on, come this Spring. Of course, my opinion is apt to change at any time, so don’t hold it against me if I someday report that I have seen Take the Lead.
Eventually, we returned to the big show where we briefly said hello to last year’s winners, Alec Mazzo and a very breasty Kelly Monaco. Once the contact high of this cameo abated, we were able to move backstage where Jerry and Drew were eagerly awaiting the results. Drew admitted that he had started to do some math in his head — which meant that he too had figured out that he’d won. So let’s just give him the damn thing already.
But wait! Let’s see some abbreviated dances by our favorite couples! Sure enough, the first four eliminated couples took to the stage to strut their stuff one last time. Kenny Mayne frenetically performed the cha cha cha. Tatum did the waltz. Giselle and Jonathan revisited Rosarita and the tango (gosh, I really liked them), and last but never least (okay, quite certainly least) Master P returned to jive. And yes, he was still as un-limber as ever. I’m starting to think that his knees don’t actually bend. It’s more like he’s been surgically melded to some stilts.
Well, that was just some wonderful dancing. And in case you wanted more, great news! After the commercial break, we then got to see the remaining banished couples relive their dance floor glory. Tia and Max tangoed, George and Edyta hammed it up with… some dance (wasn’t paying attention at that point — sorry), and then Lisa and Louis jived like mad, perhaps hoping that they could somehow crack into the top two by sheer determination. Sorry, Lisa. But I have this consolation prize for you. It’s a t-shirt that — oh wait. It’s one of your Team Rinna tops. You know, one of the forty-million you’ve plastered around the country.
After the dancing, Tom and Sam suddenly turned into a 1936 duo as he said, “When we have a homecoming, we really have a homecoming. Don’t we, Sam?” And to that, she replied, “We sure, sure do!” Aw, gosh, Tommy! This is the very bestest homecoming we’ve ever had!
At this point, there was very little left for the show to throw our way, but never underestimate the Dancing producers’ ability to provide bloated entertainment. With that in mind, we then launched into a recap of the entire season (fast forward on the Tivo), and when we came back to the live show, we found Tom standing by the stars, ready to assault them with silly questions. Of course, if there’s anyone who can make Bergeron seem like Cronkite, it’s Kenny Mayne, who attempted to infuse the show with his dry humor. Tom obviously would have no such thing in this hour of hamming it up, and so he simply moved on to Tatum, asking “Favorite memory?”
“I’m glad to be back!” Tatum replied. Ooookay. That’s not much of a memory, but when it comes to Tatum, we should just be happy she’s not slurring. Next up, Giselle proclaimed that her favorite moment was jumping into Jonathan’s arms. This caused Jonathan to lurch forward with a comment, but — ooh! Too slow for Bergeron. Our speedy host had already moved on!
Anyway, Master P made some comment about how he and George Hamilton were now going into TV (I think it was some lame joke. Couldn’t quite tell). The newly slender Tia Carrere had nothing remarkable to say, and George Hamilton told us that he had been tackled by a ninety-five year old woman who had broken four of his ribs. I’d like to think that was just a yarn, buuut, you never know. Those old ladies do enjoy his leathery hide. Lastly, Lisa and Stacy looked like twins in their nearly matching pink, tasseled outfits. They babbled about who knows what, ultimately saying that George would never have any shot with Stacy. Yada yada yada — let’s move on.
As we headed into commercial break, Samantha Harris promised us a performance by “one of the greatest singers of all time.” Who was she referring to? Aretha Franklin? Paul McCartney? Bruce Springsteen? Nope. Mary J. Blige again. Look, I’m all for hyperbole, but let’s not get ridiculous.
Well, Mary J. sang her latest single, and then it was time to watch some profiles on our two finalists. First, an in depth analysis of Jerry Rice uncovered that he was a “warrior” and furthermore, he was quite the savory treat. Just ask Lisa: “Who is more fabulous than Jerry Rice? You want to eat him up. He’s delicious!” If Charles Nelson Reilly and Paul Lynde had a love child, it would be Lisa Rinna.
Anyway, as the profile continued, Jerry talked about the coveted Mirrorball trophy. “I would put it right up there with all my other trophies,” he said, adding “My many, many, many, many, many other trophies.”
As for Drew, he seemed to have less reverence for the big prize. “It’s an ugly trophy, but you still want to win it,” he explained. Hey, what’re you calling ugly? Just because the Mirrorball looks like it was created in a first-grade arts & crafts class doesn’t mean it’s ugly!
Eventually, these two profiles ended, and at one hour and forty-seven minutes into the show, there was only one thing left to do: watch two more profiles on Drew and Jerry. This time, the slant was less about them as competitors, and more about their journey. And so we revisited Jerry and Anna AGAIN and then it was time to see Drew and Cheryl’s story AGAIN. I wish I could describe to you what these segments were like, but honestly, it was just more of the same (the only addition being Cheryl crying a little on camera).
We then went to commercial, and finally, finally it was time for results. Did I say “results?” I meant “the most awkward and enjoyable Samantha Harris flub of all time.” Honestly, this was Chenbot quality. Here’s the deal. Samantha and Tom greeted us from the commercial break and then announced that they’d be revealing the winner right then and there. Now, I can’t be sure about this, but I think the way it was supposed to go was that the lights would dim, the spotlights would move, and the suspenseful music would begin. At that point, Sam and Tom would begin reading from their cards. However, Samantha jumped the gun, and before the lights could change, she began reading, “Well, Jerry and Anna, the judges said that your commitment and attitude were unrivaled.” This was then followed by a looong, awkward pause in which the lights finally dimmed and Samantha said nothing. Even after the set was darkened, she still didn’t say anything. In total, it was eight seconds before anything was said. Eight seconds — that’s an eternity in TV. Millions and millions of people watching, the critical moment, and Samantha Harris royally messes up. Fantastic.
Anyway, once the show rebounded from the sound of Samantha Harris silence, Tom Bergeron announced the winner. And no surprise here: Drew and Cheryl won! Yay! Sparklers! Now, let’s hear from the victorious couple!
Or not. We then headed over to Jerry and Anna as they babbled to Samantha about how wonderful the experience was and blah blah blah. What show interviews the runners-up before the winners? Ryan Seacrest didn’t talk to Bo before Carrie. Michelle Tafoya didn’t corner the Seahawks before the Steelers. We just want to hear from the winners! Man, who would have thought they could sneak in more filler?
Luckily, we did get to hear from the winning couple. Cheryl talked about how awesome it was to win, and Drew merely let out a howl of excitement. He was then presented with the ever impressive Mirrorball Trophy, which Jerry Rice promptly pretended to steal. Oh, good times. The rest of the stars and dancers then filed out onto the floor for some old fashioned group hugs.
Well, it’s been a fun season. I could certainly have done without all the extended episodes — kind of made watching this lighthearted show more of a chore than it should have been. Can’t wait to see which celebs sign up for next season. And Sammy Harris, it was nice knowing you. Have fun hanging out with Lisa Canning next season.
What did you think? Happy with the results? Was Stacy robbed? Or does it not really even matter?