The finals are here, the most competitive final ever, they all say. I’m not absolutely sure about, especially with only three couples dancing tonight again, but it’s a good one, even if with the reduced field and no elimination it only lasts an hour tonight. The couples march out in familiar looking costumes; looks like the first round goings to be reprises. Indeed, it is, with the couples choosing which of their past routines they do again:
Noah Galloway & Sharna Burgress: Argentine Tango; “Rather Be” Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne(from Week 3). Noah notes during the fluff he was too in his head last time, and thinks he can improve on that. He does improve on his movement; it’s much smoother this time around than it was. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do the dance cleanly; the ending lift especially is shaking. The dismayed judges wish him better luck in the freestyle and break out straight Eights for 36.
Riker Lynch & Allison Holker: Paso Doble; “He’s a Pirate” Pirates of the Caribbean (from Week 5). Allison calls this the first dance where he nailed the character, and she wants him to do that with better technique. And he does, being even more powerful and still perfectly Jack Sparrow than he was last time. When Len doesn’t even wait for his turn to speak before standing and clapping, it starts to look like even if there are no Mickey-eared Tens this time, there may be straight ones. And there are; first perfect 40 of the night.
Rumer Willis & Valentin Chmerkovksiy: Foxtrot; “Take Me to Church” Hozier (from Week 1). She wanted to redo the dance she’s had the most time to improve upon, and as impressive as this dance was the last time, it is even better now. Although it’s also different because there’s a lot more smiling in it, and honestly I’m not sure how I feel about that. But the judges don’t mind, raving about how purely ballroom it was, with Julianne even calling it flawless, and they get straight Tens too.
And now, after we are once again invited to vote on the encore freestyle tomorrow, it’s time for a freestyle round that’s looking good to determine who wins this one:
Noah Galloway & Sharna Burgress: Freestyle; “Titanium” David Guetta feat. Sia & “Fix You” Coldplay. In the fluff Sharna notes Noah’s shown himself as strong and a fighter so far, but now she wants him vulnerable. He doesn’t seem too thrilled about it. But whatever it takes out of him to go back to his lowest point just after his limbs were blown off, he manages to find it, and the result is very moving, and perfectly showcased by the choreography. Not only does everyone in the ballroom stand, but the judges remaining standing while giving their raves, Carrie-Ann doing so through her tears, and of course that means they get their own set of straight Tens, and end the night with 76.
Riker Lynch & Allison Holker: Freestyle; “I Won’t Dance.” In the fluff, as well as getting choked up, Allison talks about doing something different from what he’s done so far. But she is prudent enough not to stray from Riker’s strengths; he gets to be different by portraying Fred Astaire, but there’s modern flair and like all his best numbers this is all about his personality and performance, and Fred’s just another character he nails perfectly. With time running short the judges are only briefly given chances to rave, but Len finds time to tell Riker Fred is smiling down at him, before they do the straight Tens again and leave them with a perfect 80 tonight.
Rumer Willis & Val Chmerkovskiy: Freestyle; “Toxic” Britney Spears. In the fluff, they first talk about differentiating themselves from her parents and his brother, then he says he’s going no frills for this one; it’ll be purely about the dancing. Tom ends up being the one to sum that one up: good call. They go out and they dance and dance, all passion and chemistry and perfection moving and…really, there are no words for this one. It’s just wonderful. The judges agree, and they too end the night with a perfect 80.
So really, just lots of crazy amazing dancing crammed into an hour. Pity we can’t hope for that sort of thing from tomorrow’s two-hour affair. At least there’ll be suspense; Noah might just be getting enough votes to overcome a four-point deficit, and so this is definitely one where anyone could win.