Dancing with the Stars 2010 reached its crescendo Monday night as the three remaining competitors laid it all out on the ballroom floor for the judges and America to critique. The highly anticipated DWTS season 10 performance night finale featured two dances per couple, including a redemption dance chosen by the judging panel as well as the ever-popular no holds barred freestyle routine. Here’s how it went down, from the first shimmy to the final shake.
The Dancing with the Stars 2010 performance night finale opened with the official introduction of season 10’s three finalists, ESPN’s Erin Andrews, Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek and pop star Nicole Scherzinger, and their professional partners.
Up first to dance in the redemption round were Erin and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy with their Samba. During rehearsals, judge Bruno Tonioli visited the duo and encouraged Erin, telling her that she could actually win DWTS if she got into it.
The pair began their Samba in cute fashion, with Erin scolding Maks as he started to remove his vest. The rest of the dance was loose, flirtatious and fun. Regardless of their scores, the leggy blonde should be very proud of her efforts. Head judge Len Goodman thanked Maks for not taking his clothes off, and called Erin’s improvement “fantastic”. Bruno called her “hotter than noon in the tropics”, while Carrie Ann Inaba said “you moved yourself up three notches”. Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s Dancing with the Stars 2010 finale redemption round scores: 10, 10, 9 = 29.
Up next, gold medal winning figure skater Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya hit the Dancing with the Stars 2010 dancefloor with their redemption dance: The Viennese Waltz. Their mentor, Len, reminded Evan that connection with his partner is everything.
For some reason, their offering made me misty. I don’t know if it was the music (Piano Man), or the culmination of a season’s worth of emotion, but the whole thing just struck me as utterly lovely. Bruno praised their “fluidity and lyricism” and their connection, while Carrie Ann called it “a beautiful, emotional… enchanting dream”. Len said it was good, but criticized him for “collapsing” on his standing leg at times. Oh, pop a Midol, Len. Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya’s Dancing with the Stars 2010 finale redemption round scores: 10, 9, 9 = 28.
Last to perform in the Dancing with the Stars 2010 finale redemption round were Nicole Scherzinger and partner Derek Hough. Carrie Ann encouraged Nicole to let go and connect emotionally to the performance.
I admit it: It’s very hard for me to be objective when it comes to the Pussycat doll because I don’t like her. She’s a great dancer, but she should be since it’s part of her career. Their Lady in Red Rumba was good, but not perfect. Period. I don’t care what the crazy, pop star obsessed judges say. Carrie Ann predictably drooled, but called them out for executing a lift at the end. (Hahaha.) Len appreciated “the subtlety of the choreography” and continued on with minor criticisms. Bruno called it “something of extreme beauty” and “superlative”, which is not surprising since Bruno loves him a pop star. Groan. Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough’s Dancing with the Stars 2010 finale redemption round scores: 9, 9, 10 = 28.
I LOVE that Erin Andrews is leading headed into the second round. Love. It. And then: The Freestyle round!
Erin and Maks planned what Erin deemed “a contemporary, lyrical freestyle”, unlike the usual fast-paced offerings of past seasons. It’s a risk. For sure. But they got the round started.
My main concern, from the get-go, is that Len will hate the couch and bed props. But their routine was smokin’, emotional and full of power. I’ve been an Evan enthusiast all season long, but I loved this. Len called it “a mix of emotion and commotion” and didn’t love it. Bruno called it “a psychodrama unfolding out there”, while Carrie Ann “loved the story” and praised both of them for taking a big risk. Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s Dancing with the Stars 2010 finale freestyle round scores: 9, 8, 9 = 26.
The Dancing with the Stars 2010 finale freestyle round continued with Evan and Anna, who struggled mightily during rehearsals with a serious difference of opinion.
It was uber fun to see Evan really cut loose and have fun with the duo’s lift-filled Footloose routine. It was fun, which is what we want on Dancing with the Stars. Bruno criticized him for losing his technique, while Carrie Ann called it “odd”. Len accused them of taking “the path of least resistance” and didn’t like it. Ouch. I wonder if maybe they’re clearing the way for Nicole to take an easy victory here. Hmmmmmm. Whatever, he was robbed with a capital R. Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya’s Dancing with the Stars 2010 finale freestyle round scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24.
The Dancing with the Stars 2010 finale freestyle round came to a close with Nicole and Derek’s high-energy freestyle.
I came into this dance trying to be objective. I figured it would be awesome and I’d have to admit it and bow to their great dancing prowess. But it wasn’t. It felt lacking, given that Nicole is a good dancer. Carrie Ann called it “the freestyle we’ve all been waiting for”. What?! Len praised them for including lots of different dance styles. Bruno called it “dazzling creativity” and “incredible”. Gag me. Really. They’re all smokin’ from the same Nicole Pipe. Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough’s Dancing with the Stars 2010 finale freestyle round scores: 9, 9, 9 = 27.
At the close of the first night of the finale after two of the last four dances of the season, Nicole and Erin are tied for the top spot while Evan trails by 3. And I’m mad. Mad, mad, mad. Evan and Anna were dealt a ridiculous blow with their freestyle score, while Nicole and Derek once again were rewarded for a dance that was called awesome, but wasn’t. Go figure.
Tune in tomorrow night to see who takes the Mirrorball Trophy for Dancing with the Stars 2010. Or you can just check in with me. You know I’ll be watching.
Dancing with the Stars 2010 finale performance show, May 24, 2010, ABC