May 25th, 2010
11:03 AM ET
Someone will be holding the mirror ball trophy on “Dancing With the Stars” tonight, but will it be ESPN correspondent Erin Andrews, Olympic skating champ Evan Lysacek or singer Nicole Scherzinger?
Whoever the winner is, he or she will be exhausted by the time the season finale ends. The couples have to perform four dance routines spread over two nights before one of them will be declared the champ.
Last night, each of the couples danced a “redemption dance” (one that the judges felt they should have excelled in but didn’t when they first danced it earlier in the season) and a freestyle routine, in which there are no rules and anything goes.
So let’s talk about the freestyle routines, which are the most fun and can often make or break a couple’s chances of winning the whole competition.
Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy took a risk by choosing a routine that portrayed a turbulent romantic relationship and involved two pretty big props – a couch and a bed. This was a weird choice and I sometimes felt as if I were looking at an IKEA showroom with two people thrashing about on the furniture. They rolled on the bed, did lots of complicated lifts and pouted at each other. The routine was very passionate and technically difficult, but was it a great freestyle? I’m not sure.
“It was a mix of emotion and commotion,” said judge Len Goodman, adding that he “didn’t love it.” Judge Carrie Ann Inaba, on the other hand, was impressed.
Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya also seemed to miss with their freestyle, going for a high-spirited, somewhat manic routine set to the music from “Footloose.” Lysacek looked like he was going to burst with energy, bouncing all over the dance floor and beaming a high-voltage smile, but he does so much better as an elegant, passionate dancer, not a goofy, bouncy one. Nothing about the dance really stood out – it was more of a mish-mash of styles and it prompted lots of negative comments from the judges. “You looked like you were bitten by a tarantula,” said judge Bruno Tonioli, calling the routine “demented.” (Ouch.) Inaba proclaimed the dance odd, while Goodman said it was not what he wanted to see.
Finally, Scherzinger and Derek Hough took over the dance floor and they wowed the crowd with a fun routine set to Elvis Presley’s “A Little Less Conversation.” Dressed in sparkly black suits and lime green shoes, they bounced, twirled and jumped around so much that they were barely breathing by the end of the dance. (The dark suits came off, by the way, to reveal more of the lime theme.) They had a bit of a slip on the last lift, which probably kept them from getting a set of perfect scores. “That’s the freestyle we’ve been waiting for,” Inaba said. Goodman also praised the routine’s “dazzling creativity.”
The couples will dance two more times during tonight’s season finale before the mirror ball trophy is given out. Unless there’s an upset, it seems Scherzinger is on her way to a triumphant, well-deserved finish.
Who do you think will win?
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