CLEVELAND - The dancing queen is crowned on the All-Star season of "Dancing with the Stars."
How I've waited for this day… the end of my web series. Ha, I kid! Ha… ha. Sigh.
It has all come down to three ladies and, remember, two of them already have a Mirrorball Trophy of their own. Olympian Shawn Johnson won season eight and actress Kelly Monaco claimed the first on season one. Will the All-Star season Mirrorball Trophy go to TV host Melissa Rycroft, who came from behind for her spot in the finals? Who will win? Oh, the drama.
Speaking of the drama, the show starts with a big pre-produced package full of flash cuts, flashbacks, and a soundtrack featuring an ominous choir chanting straight out of "The Omen."
The winner will be decided by the two dances they did Monday night and a new instant dance, performed just moments before the trophy is handed out. Since that only takes fifteen minutes, the show has two hours to fill.
Cue the cast-offs. We get a big opening dance number with all the previous All-Stars. There's Drew Lachey and Joey Fatone. Gilles Marini pops up. Oh, there's Sabrina Bryan. Emmitt Smith and Apolo Anton Ohno are in there. Making their spinning sequined entrance are Kirstie Alley, Pamela Anderson and Bristol Palin. Helio Castroneves? Helio? Bueller?
For the encore dance, the judges ask Shawn and Derek to perform their supersize freestyle again. It's just as entertaining the second time around.
Now what I wait for all season: DanceCenter is back. Sporting some sparkly facial makeup, Kenny Mayne and Jerry Rice poke fun at Drew, Joey, Kirstie and Bristol.
Back to the competition. Since the finalists must perform one last dance, they must pick the style and song live.
Kelly and Val get the jive to "Cat & Mouse." Melissa and Tony get to samba to "Life is a Highway." Shawn and Derek will cha cha to "Respect." They get maybe a half hour to rehearse before doing these dances live.
Time for more cast-off performances. Bristol and Mark do a little twirl, and she looks more comfortable than ever. Then Pamela, decked out in sparkles and latex, and Tristan take over for some sort of burlesque deal where six men pass her around. Pam must've choreographed that one.
Helio and Chelsie do a cute number to "Tu Vuo Fa' L'Americano." Loved it. Couldn't we have more of that all season? It just leaves me feeling like these All-Stars held back all season and stayed safe in an effort to earn points.
Drew and Kym bring out his daughter Isabella to do a jive. Aww, kids make everything better. Maybe they can start "Dancing with the Stars' Kids."
We get a confessional montage, featuring uncensored stars tripping over their words or saying goofy things. It may be the most amusing thing this whole season.
Then, whomp! It's the "Gangnam Style" team dance. Oh God, not again. Somebody should have warned me. There's Kirstie and Maks doing terrible cartwheels. Emmitt and Cheryl… and is that a carousel horse behind them? Joey Fatone plays Kelly Monaco. Gilles in his terrycloth loincloth. I've seen it all before, but the horror of it still hits me like the first time all over again.
A pre-taped comedy segment featuring Joey going "Back to the Future." He parks his Delorean in 1987, where he talks to child Joey. Back in present time, Joey and Kym do a jig with their "younger" versions. By the way, Joey clearly thinks he's on "Upstaging the Stars."
Sabrina and Louis take the dance floor and she reminds us why it was such a shame she was eliminated on week six. Remember, Sabrina will forever be known as "the most shocking elimination in the history of the show." Twice.
Time for the other team dance. The "Call Me Maybe" crew features Apolo, Helio, Sabrina, Drew and their respective partners. This number is so entertaining, it makes this annoying song tolerable.
More DanceCenter, with Kenny and Jerry poking fun at Emmitt, Helio, Gilles and Apolo while judge Len Goodman huffs at their off-color jokes.
Kirstie and Maks dance once more, before Gilles and Peta go all Bollywood. I notice sparkly things are just flying off the frenetic Peta.
Apolo, who was eliminated last week, and Karina return for a dance. They do a really beautiful job. Emmitt and Cheryl come out for a sharp number and his infectious energy reminds us why we love him on this show.
Back to DanceCenter. Kenny and Jerry point out how much Shawn giggles. They call Melissa the real deal. Then they ask the question on the mind of every DWTS fan: Did Kelly and Val have a backstage romance? "They did," Kenny says. "Oh, they definitely did!" Jerry yells. We'll see…
Cue the dramatic piano and another pre-taped segment. It's onto the final round.
Kelly and Val are first up with their jive to "Cat & Mouse." It's got a fun start, fast footwork, good spins, great kicks. Len calls her a revelation all season. Carrie Ann Inaba says it was hard to believe that was an instant dance. Afterward, host Brooke Burke asks Kelly about her relationship with Val. Kelly says, "I hope everybody can
have friendships like this. Val says it's not about boyfriend-girlfriend labels, they have "unconditional love for each other." See, just friends, folks. Oh, right – their score. They get 28.5 out of 30. That means 87.5 for both nights combined.
Melissa and Tony are up next with their samba to "Life is a Highway." I don't know whether to stare at Melissa's abs of steel or Tony's supernova teeth. They have good energy, great lines, and it looks more carefree than last night's samba. Bruno calls her a South American siren. Carrie Ann calls it pure artistry, but a bit rushed. Len says Melissa has been his greatest pleasure to watch. Score: 28.5, 88.5 overall.
Shawn and Derek are last with a cha cha to "Respect." More sharp lines here too, but they look far more precise than the other two couples. It's over in a flash. Great crowd response. Carrie Ann says that dance was the right way to end a star-studded season. Len says Shawn kept up with all the fantastic choreography Derek threw at her. Bruno says she's going out with a bang. Perfect 30, 87 overall.
After the instant dances, Melissa's still in the lead, followed by Kelly, with Shawn still in third, but it's so much tighter now. How will the viewer votes play into the judges' votes?
Time for the finale. In third place… Kelly and Val. Recue "I've Had The Time of My Life." Kelly's face lights up and she jumps into his arms, like "Dirty Dancing."
Kelly tweeted, "Thank you all so much for your support throughout the past few months. I had such an amazing time."
Winner time. Melissa and Shawn stand there, waiting to hear who host Tom Bergeron will announce. Tom says, "Now they have one, too." He means a Mirrorball Trophy. It's Melissa and Tony.
Tony is clearly way happier than Melissa. In fact, it looks like she is in disbelief. The judges and other stars look a little shocked. Guess they thought Shawn had it in the bag. Meanwhile, Tony clearly cannot wait to get his mitts on that Mirrorball Trophy. Geez, it's not full of chocolate or anything. Or, maybe it is. I've never won one. #thingsthatmakeyougohmm
Melissa tweeted, "AAAHHHHHH!!!!! OH MY MERCY!!! You guys did it!!! You gave this to us!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! Ahhhhhh!!"
So, we may never know just how much the viewer votes helped Melissa and Tony. The judge votes for the final three dances were almost perfect. But, I did note Carrie Ann's "Home Alone"-face when they did not announce Shawn the winner.
Did Melissa deserve to beat out dancing dynamo Shawn? Sure. Her chipper attitude brought out the best in Tony. For the first time, we saw him challenge his partner with demanding choreography. And who knew Tony had demanding choreography in him? Melissa improved every week. Kelly and Shawn both deserved to be in the finals, but Melissa did scoop up the highest judge scores at the end.
By the way, I want to point out that Brooke looked smashing in red on the finale. Best wishes to her as she soon undergoes surgery for thyroid cancer. She's got to be a trooper to bring her game face every week while battling cancer… and all in impossibly tight dresses.
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