November 22nd, 2011
10:56 AM ET
Last night's "Dancing With the Stars" consisted of three couples, each performing two dances, all for one Mirrorball Trophy. (And if nothing is solved by tonight's finale, we'll settle it via a rock-paper-scissors battle.)
The first round of dancing begins with Ricki Lake performing a cha-cha. She gets help at practice from Carrie Ann Inaba, although I feared "help" would consist of Carrie Ann talking about happy trees and other nonsense for 30 minutes.
Honestly, the dancers could be motivated with the promise of Carrie Ann not talking.
The dance is on and Ricki is on fire, moving quickly and handling her footwork and spins well. The fans go wild, but let's talk about what the judges think:
Len Goodman said the routine was action-packed, while Bruno Tonioli called her overall body of work "consistently clean." However, all three judges noted some issues with the dance's fluidity. You know we're getting late in the competition when the judges bring out the $5 words.
Ricki Lake: 27/30 (Carrie Ann Inaba 9, Len Goodman 9, Bruno Tonioli 9)
We're now up to the only finalist not to achieve a perfect "30" in the competition, Rob Kardashian. As he continues to climb the Kardashian popularity chart, Rob gets assistance in practice from Bruno Tonioli, who seemed to suggest that Rob could win the "wompetition." No, I'm not sure what that means either.
Rob and pro partner Cheryl Burke perform a waltz that easily delights the crowd with its elegance. Rob also looked quite happy on the dance floor, a far cry from the early weeks of the competition when he looked like he'd soiled himself.
Bruno was impressed with the dance, but noted some footwork issues. Carrie Ann called Rob the "male version of Cinderella." I thought Jerry Lewis played that role in a movie....
Rob Kardashian: 27/30 (Inaba 9, Goodman 9, Tonioli 9)
J.R. Martinez is the final celebrity up, and he's getting tips from Len Goodman at practice. Unfortunately, the tips appear to consist of Len's fascination with J.R.'s hips, as well as the grumpy old judge reminding the audience that J.R.'s pro partner, Karina Smirnoff, has never won a Mirrorball, compared to Cheryl Burke and Derek Hough's combined five trophies.
The cha-cha is on, and J.R. is doing what he can to remain quick and versatile despite a hurt ankle. But something seems off with the overall routine, and I have a feeling the judges know what it is.
Carrie Ann said J.R.'s musicality was off, getting a rise out of the audience. Len said it was "brave" for J.R. to dance solo for a great deal of the routine, but thought there were too many timing and footwork errors. J.R. even admitted to timing problems in his post-dance interview with Brooke Burke Charvet. But Bruno seemed more positive, complimenting J.R. for the "mood" of the routine.
J.R. Martinez: 24/30 (Inaba 8, Goodman 7, Tonioli 9)
It's now time for the freestyle dance, where pretty much anything and everything goes. Ricki Lake performed a quickstep/salsa combo that got off to a hot start, thanks to Derek Hough channeling his inner Ozzie Smith by cartwheeling and back-flipping his way onto the floor. The frenzy continued with Ricki spinning around like no tomorrow, but was it enough to impress the judges?
Bruno said Ricki's performance was demanding yet impressive, while Len expressed delight at the routine.
Ricki Lake: 27/30 (Inaba 9, Goodman 9, Tonioli 9); 54/60 overall
Rob Kardashian is next, and promises to bring everything to the plate to vanquish his competition. Dressing like a '30s jazz club patron and getting down to Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher" certainly helps.
To Rob's credit, he maintained his control and footwork throughout the song, which can get incredibly fast at times. I would have loved to have seen a little audience participation during the "scat" portion of the song - that's what makes "Minnie the Moocher" such a great piece of work - but I'll take what the show gives me.
In the end, Rob looked like he was going to collapse from exhaustion. That was probably the most cardio-intensive routine we've seen this season.
Bruno said everything about the routine was brilliant, while Carrie Ann was "blown away" by what she saw. Len said Rob's family should be proud of him for what he accomplished this season. All of that led to Rob's first "30" of the season.
Rob Kardashian: 30/30; 57/60 overall
J.R. Martinez has our final freestyle of the night, and he gets off to a bad start by wearing white pants after Labor Day. Good thing this isn't a fashion competition. He bounced back with a strong routine that dazzled the audience when it was over. Bum ankle aside, did J.R. win over the judges?
Carrie Ann praised J.R. for a job well done, although half of what she said made no sense. Len was impressed with Karina revealing her body, which may have led to Len sitting in the corner for 15 minutes after the show. Nevertheless, J.R. roared back in to competition with a perfect score of his own.
J.R. Martinez: 30/30; 54/60 overall
Tonight, there's two more rounds of dancing, plus all of the eliminated celebrities are expected to return and dance again. And, of course, the Mirrorball winner will be announced.
What did you think of last night's "Dancing With the Stars" episode? Who should win the Mirrorball?
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