The first portion of the Dancing with the Stars finals took place Monday night with each of the three remaining pairs performing their first two dances. Each pair was asked to perform a redemption dance chosen by the judges that would allow them to demonstrate their mastery of one of their weakest performances from the competition. The second dance of the night was the freestyle performance chosen by the dancers in an attempt to really shine for both the judges and audience alike. There is no doubt that tonight’s performances separated the remaining competitors, making it obvious that the competition is now between Erin Andrews and Nicole Scherzinger.
The remaining three pairs all gave strong performances in their redemption dances. What set them apart were the freestyle performances and none of them were flawless. The remaining two performances tomorrow night will have to technically precise and it goes without saying that they will have to be real crowd-pleasers.
Dancing with the Stars underdogs Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy were asked to repeat the Samba for the judges. Maksim managed to keep his shirt on, which undoubtedly pleased judge Len Goodman. Their improvement over their first Samba was huge. Erin looked like she was relaxed and having a good time, which translated into high marks from the judges. They were awarded a near-perfect score of 29 out of 30 total points.
DWTS duo Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya were asked to take another run at the Viennese Waltz. Throughout the season, Lysacek has been criticized for lacking connection to the music and his partner. This performance demonstrated that Evan truly is a dancer and the connection has greatly improved. The judges were pleased with the performance awarding the pair a total of 28 out of 30 points.
Next up on Dancing with the Stars, Nicole Scherzinger and partner Derek Hough were asked to repeat their Rumba. These two have by far been the strongest pair this season and tonight was no exception. This performance was nearly flawless and showed why these two have been the judge’s favorites consistently. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba dinged them for completing a lift before the music had technically ended and their total for this dance was 28 out of 30 points.
The Freestyle Dances Narrowed It Down Tonight
Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy took a huge risk with their freestyle by performing contemporary dance. This was one of those performances that judge Len Goodman could do without. They had a bed on the dance floor that was incorporated into the performance and it distracted from the dance. Erin and Maks had good chemistry and basically achieved what they set out to do with this performance. The lift at the end was pretty amazing, although Maksim took a shot to the nose. It couldn’t be seen other than in slow motion, so it didn’t impact their score. The judges awarded them a total of 26 out of 30 giving them a combined score of 55 for both performances. If Erin is strong tomorrow night, she could win this thing.
Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya blew it with their freestyle performance tonight. It was clear that they disagreed about the direction the dance should take and both settled on a performance that was less than stellar. This was a lesson about what happens when you settle instead of fighting for what you believe in and sticking to your guns. This performance was a disappointment and likely cost them a chance at the trophy. The performance had good energy but they weren’t in sync during their side-by-side steps and they were just…off.
In a departure from the expected, Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough chose a freestyle that incorporated steps from many of the dances this season. It seemed likely that Nicole would use the hip hop strength she came into the competition with, and instead she and Derek chose a very difficult and challenging routine. They had incredible energy and precision with a small mistake in their lift at the end, which cost them a small deduction and landed them in a tie with Erin and Maks heading into tomorrow night. The judges awarded them a total of 27 out of 30 giving them a combined score of 55 heading into tomorrow night.
A slip up by either Nicole or Erin tomorrow night may prove to be the deciding factor this season on Dancing with the Stars. It’s unlikely that Evan will be able to recover from the poor choice he and Anna unfortunately made for their freestyle performance-it’s never a good thing when a judge says you reminded him of a tarantula!
As always on DWTS, the audience will likely choose the champion. It’s still a popularity contest in part, so it’s tough to say what will happen. Many people feel that Nicole Scherzinger came into this competition with an unfair advantage, but that could be said for Evan Lysacek as well. Erin is the only remaining competitor that hasn’t constantly worked with a choreographer in recent years. This may prove to be the edge she needs with the audience in order to win. Nicole Scherzinger is a better dancer, but the Dancing with the Stars audience likes to see someone struggle and improve throughout the season and Erin Andrews has done that. If I had to make a Vegas bet tonight, my money would be on Erin Andrews. We’ll see what happens tomorrow night with the remaining two dances-it’s too close to call.
Source: Dancing with the Stars