Dancing With the Stars, Season 17, Week 11, Finals, Night 2

At last it’s the final night, and also the only results show of the season, and they start it with a callback to the opening of the first episode, with stars, pros, judges, and hosts dancing down the red carpet to “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” once again, this time with our final three stars leading the way.  Then it’s about an hour and a half before the last three couples perform their final “fusion dances” for the last of their scores, and they are left to prepare-except when obliged to do dancing in all the filler numbers that occur before then.  There are plenty of those, including:

Enrique Iglesias performing his new single, “Heart Attack,” accompanied mostly by a light show, but also by a quartet of pros who dance through the lights.

The encore dance, like last year voted on by Twitter: Amber & Derek land it, and as they perform again, one suddenly wonders if maybe their freestyle was better enough even than the other two that landed 30s to get her the win after all?

Also an “supersized” encore of Team FoxingAwesome’s freestyle, this time with Ylvis performing their song live, traveling up the red carpet to the judge’s stand before joining in, wearing the fox costumes even.

A trailer for “The 6.5 Million Dollar Dance Man,” where Bill Nye becomes a dancing cyborg is followed by a reprise of their opening week cha cha to “Weird Science,” where now she’s the one bringing him to life, and he does some flips and cartwheels; good to see him recovered, certainly.

Other dances by eliminated couples, including Elizabeth & Val redoing the cha cha that bagged the season’s first perfect score, and Bill and Emma doing their week 4 samba that perhaps, in the end, displayed what was best about him and summed up what he was about.  Meanwhile, Valerie & Tristan get to do a new dance, and to Colbie Caillat singing “What A Wonderful World.”

All these and more, but then at last it’s time for the final round.  It’s a sentimental affair, with the fluff pieces showing all three couples getting surprised to find pictures of themselves on the rehearsal room walls and getting the feels over being in the space for the last time.  The dances for all the hype are surprisingly short:

Corbin Bleu & Karina Smirnoff: Cha cha and foxtrot to “All Night” by Icona Pop.  Doing the foxtrot to this kind of music might be strange, but Corbin’s foxtrotting is elegant and flawless, then they burst at the right point in the music to what should be the knock-out cha cha-and then he messes up.  The judges all lament heavily; it becomes clear this would’ve been a perfect 30 dance, but now it gets straight 9s instead, adding 27 to their total from last night to give them an overall final week score of 89.

Jack Osbourne & Cheryl Burke: Paso doble and salsa.  It’s a pretty good dance, especially considering Jack hadn’t learned the salsa, and in fact before today knew it only as a food.  But Carrie-Ann thought his salsa was flat-footed, and he doesn’t seem to quite kill it the way Corbin & Karina would’ve had they not had the mishap, so they too get straight 9s, which takes his total score up to 84.

Amber Riley & Derek Hough: Samba and quickstep “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” by Jackie Wilson.  They manage to integrate the moves of a ballroom and Latin dance with perhaps not dissimilar feeling but still much different technical requirements into a seamless whole, their execution is flawless, and perhaps they’ve got the extra spark here the other two couples aspired to but didn’t reach.  Certainly the judges seem to think so, because they break out the straight 10s on last time, taking their total up to 94.

We get a short but sweet combination of Colbie Caillat, Tyne Stecklein, & Tony Dovolani out on the carpet doing her new single before it’s time for the final announcements.  First they have all three couples stand below a screen on which plays a video of the three celebrities expressing their gratitude to their partners, which seems going a bit far until Amber’s segment shows her getting choked up.  Then they have to announce who’s in the third.  One gets the feeling it should be Jack & Cheryl, that the final two should be the two couples that have been best on the floor, pretty much.  And lo and behold, it is.  Jack takes it philosophically, noting he tied Kelly and agreeing it was a triumph for him to make it as far as he did.

So we’ve got a final two, there’s five points between them, and this one could easily go either way, but at this point it would be more emotionally satisfying for Amber & Derek to win it.  Their freestyle was probably the best, Twitter even agreed with that, they killed it in the fusion, and after watching her be moved to tears talking about what this show has meant for her, well, if this were a movie, she’d definitely win.  But it’s not, so will she?

Yes, she will!  Amber and Derek are the winners, Derek winning his 5th trophy, which is just ridiculous, but by his choreography alone this week you can’t deny he deserves it.  Amber, when she can talk again, is sure to tell all the bigger sized girls that they too can dance.  Corbin’s a gracious loser, saying he’s happy with his own accomplishments on the show.  Amber lifts the trophy, a couple of guys lift Derek, and so we leave the cast thronging together on the dance floor as the confetti streams down, not to see the ballroom again until next spring.  It’s a satisfying end to a satisfying if sometimes flawed season


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