CLEVELAND - The Girl Power will be turned up to nuclear levels for the season finale of "Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars."
The three finalist ladies got to perfect a previous dance and enjoy a freestyle. But not just any ordinary freestyle. It's 2012 and today's women demand a supersized freestyle, darn it!
Two dances Monday night. The first one is the redo. Let's go.
First up, actress Kelly Monaco and Val decide to give another whirl to their paso doble from week three, Iconic Dance week. Kelly notes how they made it to the finals without scoring a single ten. One guess how long that will last. Onto the dance, which looks more demanding than its first go around. Kelly has sharp precision, their hold is great, her spins are amazing. She does have one slip-up, though.
In week three, Judge Len Goodman called their paso Kelly's best dance yet, and he's saying it again for week ten. Bruno Tonioli said Kelly always has power, but tonight she had artistry. Carrie Ann Inaba said she was proud of Kelly, who struggled the hardest to get to the finals. Really? Ask Shawn Johnson about her lifelong struggle to get to the Olympics.
Slip-up notwithstanding, they get 29.5 out of 30, a near perfect score with two elusive tens. Still, that's higher than their original 27 for that same dance.
Next, TV host Melissa Rycroft and Tony redo their samba. Also from week three, Iconic Dance week. Huh. Surely just an odd coincidence, right? It starts off with Tony doing that thing where he kicks Melissa's head around like a hacky sack. She looks like she's really dancing, just enjoying the whole routine, but she could do a little more hip action. Maybe that's just me. Good kicks and nice footwork, but some moves seem a bit clunky.
Bruno says Melissa blossomed as a performer. Carrie Ann says Melissa's abs look ridiculous. Aww, Carrie, don't be jelly. Len says they had great technique and great rhythm. Score: all tens. Perfect 30. A big improvement on the original 27.
Last, Shawn and Derek redo their quickstep. Also from Iconic Dance week. Hey, wait a minute! Shawn picks this dance because it was the first time they did a dance differently. In other words, breaking the rules. They broke hold, which is a quickstep no-no. Derek wants to do that again. Of course, he does. Speak up for yourself, Shawn, don't let Derek get all Bela Karolyi on you. It starts with them doing flips to "Hey Pachuco" again. They look great in hold, have great footwork, great extensions. Do they break the hold? Umm, does host Brooke Burke have on a tight dress? Duh! It looks peculiar for a quickstep, but the whole thing is a crowd-pleaser. In fact, everyone's clapping along. They seem weightless at points and, once again, dive into the bandstand to finish. Big cheers.
Carrie Ann says it's sad they chose to not follow the rules because, at this point, points matter. She hopes it pays off for them. Len calls it a fantastic routine, but says they're not allowed to break hold. Bruno says their scores are bound by the rules, but that takes nothing away from their achievement. Derek looks validated. Shawn looks like someone took the wind out of her sails. Score: 27, just a notch higher than their original score of 26.5.
Onto round two, the supersize freestyle. What does supersize mean? Everything but the kitchen sink, of course. The stars picked the style, song, costumes and extra performers.
If you didn't watch, take a moment to process this one. Kelly and Val put a lot of planning into it. Their freestyle opens with Kelly twirling above the dance floor doing an aerial stunt. Val is literally serenading her, actually playing a violin to the theme of "I've Had The Time of My Life." Yep, suddenly it's "Dirty Dancing," folks. She twirls to the ground and into Val's arms and even has that big Jennifer Grey smile on her face. He picks her up like a dashing knight and Kelly looks glorious. Oh, look, there's a gospel chorus singing. Cue the whole dance troupe to flesh out the routine, so suddenly it's the big dance number from the movie. She sprints at him and he lifts her like Patrick Swayze did Jennifer. Gotta hand it to Kelly, she plotted out a routine that is many girls' fantasy.
Len says the opening was spectacular and he loved the lifts. He notes, it lacked originality but the actual dance was spellbinding. Bruno calls it Cirque du Soleil meets "Dirty Dancing." He adds, "Patrick, I'm telling you, is smiling on you." Carrie Ann says it was a perfect dance for them and a happy ending to a beautiful love story.
Before they get their scores, Brooke confronts the flirty couple: "Give it up. Is this showmance, is this romance?" Kelly skirts it by saying there's one more day of interviews left. Also, overlook the fact that Kelly has a long-term boyfriend. They get 29.5, 59 overall.
Melissa and Tony chose a contemporary
approach for their freestyle. They perform lots of neat holds and balancing tricks. The routine is graceful and controlled, yet still projects emotion. There are some futuristic go-go dancers spinning around in the air behind them.
Bruno calls it the perfect setting to showcase all of Melissa's extraordinary qualities. Carrie Ann says they took humongous risks and will get a great reward. Len calls it wonderful. Perfect 30, perfect 60 overall.
Melissa tweeted, "Love reading your Tweets! They always make me smile! Thank you for making this ride so special for us :-). What a great journey!!"
For their freestyle, Shawn and Derek brought in the US Women's Gymnastics Team. The number begins with a Cirque du Soleil-esque tango. It's very Vegas showgirl-ish when the Fierce Five show up. Shawn and Derek simply cut a rug, flipping around and– did I just see a Bollywood move? Then it channels some Vaudeville vibe. It's like history of dance as they spin and flip across the floor like grand performers. It's a big number.
Carrie Ann says these two have been doing freestyle the whole season, that we all waited for this, and it did not disappoint. Len calls it a medley of Derek and Shawn's best hits. Bruno says it was exploding with brilliance. Perfect 30, 57 overall.
The rate this show is going, next season it will do freestyles from the bottom of the ocean, the surface of Mars, and Dick Cheney's bunker. Who will win Tuesday night?
It's way too early to tell. Remember, these three All-Stars still have another dance. An instant dance. That's when they learn, live on TV, which style and song they will dance do a half hour later. They only know the style will either be a jive, cha cha or samba. Only the judges will vote on those - no viewer votes, so Derek's rule-breaking could come back to haunt him.
But the best part is the return of DanceCenter with Kenny Mayne and Jerry Rice handicapping the odds with Len.
Oh, and we can probably look forward to emotional pre-produced segments for each of the All-Stars, meant only to make us cry.
The finale of "Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars" airs Tuesday night at 9:00 on ABC.
More information can be found at: beta.abc.go.com/shows/dancing-with-the-stars/index .