Dancing With the Stars, Season 18, Week 10, Finals, Night Two

This is a long night: there’s a preview hour even before the finale begins, and then the show opens with all the couples of the season on the floor behind centering on the final three at the end.  Tonight we have three final dances but two hours, so here comes some filler, including:

The encore dance, which actually goes to James & Peta!  Apparently they won the right in a landslide too.  Guess people really were pissed about their getting eliminated last night, as well they should’ve been(right after the elimination, #encoreJames at one point was trending worldwide, so this isn’t that surprising, despite it not being what one might expect)

Reprise of Team Loca’s dance, which is actually really nice since they couldn’t do it live during the actual competition

Australia hip-hop star Iggy Azalea with Charlie XCX performing hit “Fancy,” except early in her earpiece malfunctions and she briefly stops and tells the world that, though then she manages to go on and finish

Drew & Cheryl reprising their jive, Danica & Val and Charlie & Sharna reprising their Disney numbers, & Cody Simpson singing “Surfboard” with Witney coming out for them to do a little reprising during the dance break.  Later James & Peta also reprise their Michael Jackson Cha Cha Cha

Meryl & Charlie dancing with each other to “I Won’t Give Up”(wait for Jeremy Abbott to make another tweet about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery-he made this song his last year on the ice)

Nene getting to rule the floor as in her own way to “Grown Woman” with the female pros as her background dancers

Singer Ariana Grande has a motorcycle hanging around in the ballroom when beginning her song “Problem” but then she leaves it behind and just dances around

Last season’s winner Amber Riley, having already sung a bumper, doing a full performance to “Do Your Thang,” and even doing a little dancing during the number, though she’s really here to sing

Then at last come the 24 hour fusion dances with which the competition concludes:

Amy Purdy & Derek Hough: Argentine Tango/Cha Cha Cha to “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne.  Derek does a good job fusing this two odd styles together and Amy does a good job moving her legs around, with the camera even focusing on them at one point to emphasize this.  The judges praise her both for her performance here and her performance throughout the season, with Carrie-Ann saying she could write a novel about it, then break out the straight 10s, leaving them with a final score of 89.

Candace Cameron Bure & Mark Ballas: Samba/Quickstep to “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder.  She does it well enough, but she still lacks the sharpness Amy had and you know Meryl will have too.  The judges are kind in their comments, and give her straight 9s, leaving her with a final score of 78.

Meryl Davis & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Foxtrot/Cha Cha Cha to “Glowing” by Nikki Williams.  They do the two styles separately, in two halves with the change marked by her losing most of her skirt.  In a lesser couple that might be a point against them, but not with these two; they’re simply too perfect while doing it.  It’s staight 10s once again, so they end with a perfect 90…

But this needs its own paragraph: while giving his comments to Meryl & Maks, Len says this might be his last season on the show!  Seriously people, all the changes the show has had of late, suffering and surviving most of them and maybe benefiting a bit by a few, would be nothing to losing him.  We saw from the quality of the guest judges this year; most of them aren’t as good as even Carrie-Ann or Bruno, let alone him.  Combine that with the fact that Len arguably is DWTS, and this could spell disaster.  Our only hope is a replacement as good as him; we’d probably need him/her to be someone with professional ballroom judging experience, because that really is important, and we’d need him/her to have at least some of Len’s wit.  Maybe we could get another judge from Strictly Come Dancing?

Meanwhile, tonight, we have one last filler piece, as Christina Perri performs “Human” to a montage of the three finalists, and then, as one would expect, Candace & Mark are in third.  That leaves two couples, one with a perfect score, the other with only one point less, and honestly, Amy & Derek probably should’ve gotten a perfect score too.  In any case it’s probably not enough of a difference for this one to have not been settled by the viewers.  So…which one?  The Paralympian or the Olympian?  The (slightly more) knockout freestyle or the (slightly more) knockout season?  The inspiration story or the story of a unique partnership?  The guy whose won six times or the guy who’s never won?  Amy or Meryl?  Maks or Derek?  We see Maks’ head bent; how badly he wants this…

And he gets it!  Meryl & Maks finish off their story with the Mirrorball Trophy, and when it comes time to comment, she directs Maks to the mike.  As we’d expect by now, he talks about the ten years he’s been trying to win this competition, and says he thinks the reason he never did before now was because it was destined to happen with Meryl.  Meanwhile she’d being lifted up in the air even before Tom hands her the trophy, and trophy and Maks join her up there, and they kiss each other’s cheeks, but no obvious romantic kiss to end the story with.  Ah well.  It still was a great one.  Let us just enjoy that and try to avoid worrying about Len’s announcement and next season.  At least for a while.

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