Dancing With the Stars Recap and Polls: Who Will and Should Win the Mirrorball Trophy?

A lot of crazy stuff went down on Dancing With the Stars‘ Season 12 performance finale. Head judge Len Goodman used the word “booyakasha.” Host Tom Bergeron got nuzzled tenderly by a sexy Russian beast in a sheer tangerine shirt. “The world’s best dressed ugly mob” got rowdy on behalf of the fabulous Kirstie Alley. Hines Ward had the sleeves of his marching-band uniform torn off by a gold-dipped McDonald’s Fry Guy. And Chelsea Kane’s stunt outfit short-circuited like Brooke Burke’s brain without cue cards.

At the end of the hour, though, it all came down to the routines. As Len pointed out, the Best Movie gets the Oscar, the Best Music gets a Grammy, and the Best Dancer gets the Mirrorball Trophy. Or something like that. Actually, do they? Actually, let’s not think too deeply about this.

The judges scored the evening as a two-way tie between Hines Ward and Kym Johnson, and Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas, with Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy left behind in third. But there are factors other than raw dancing talent that can alter the fabric of the DWTS championship: Who’s the most fun to watch? Who’s performing best for his/her age/physical condition? Who’s got the winningest personality? Who wore outfits for the freestyle round that were so hideous you’re not sure you’ll ever get over it?

Let’s review the evening’s six dances, and see if we can’t get some answers to those questions:

Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas: Samba, Freestyle
Carrie Ann stopped by to coach the couple on their first routine and demanded to see Chelsea’s “womanhood” in action (not as charged as it sounds on paper). What she really meant was that Chelsea needed to abandon the “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman” phase of her dance career and let her hips do the talking. I thought the Disney princess hit most of her marks on this one, but in their side-by-side moves, Mark did his usual Banty Rooster shtick — out-emoting, out-extending, and outshining his plucky beige hen, especially on the “flaying arms section” Len particularly disliked. And while Chelsea’s possibly suede fringed top was nifty in a post-Pocahontas sort of way, Mark’s open, sparkly, flesh-colored shirt came up short in camp, color, charisma, and charm. If a garment could be eliminated during Tuesday’s results show, this would be my first nominee! Scores: Carrie Ann, 10; Len, 9; Bruno, 10. Total: 29.

In the Freestyle, Mark and Chelsea scored a perfect 30, but I thought the judges were being overly generous. The competition’s youngest couple seemed out of sync for the routine’s opening 20 or 30 seconds, and the choreography became increasingly frantic and less visually sumptuous as the time raced by. Chelsea looked a little wobbly in the midst (and coming out) of some complicated lifts, but even more problematic was the battery dysfunction in Chelsea’s light-up gloves and sneakers for the second half of the number, which greatly lessened the impact of Mark’s glow-in-the-dark choreography (even if the descent into darkness spared us any more of his mid-dance facial contortions). Also: Anyone else think the couple should’ve been docked a point for the clash of Chelsea’s turquoise sequined sportsbra and Mark’s ghastly chartreuse sequined jacket? Or at least for riding in on a bike? Scores: Carrie Ann, 10; Len, 10; Bruno, 10. Total: 30. (Two-dance total: 59)

Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Samba, Freestyle
Kirstie’s orange and yellow fringed dress in the samba reminded me of a phoenix, and here’s hoping this DWTS stint helps this legendary funny lady back to fame in a sitcom that’s worthy of her talents. Bruno was right that Kirstie still looks tentatively at the floor sometimes — a habit she should’ve broken by this point in the season — and there were parts of the dance that seemed plodding, but still: The woman is 60 years old, and performs slinky, undulating samba rolls as if she were a third of her age. Plus, she has to put up with Brooke Burke asking the following brand of question: “What’s it like to be compared to someone born in 1988?” Shouldn’t someone give Kirstie a 10 just for resisting the urge to unplug our hostbot?  Scores: Carrie Ann, 9; Len, 9; Bruno, 9. Total: 27.

As for Maks and Kirstie’s freestyle round: Well, there was Kirstie in a monk’s robe with a red ribbon belt, walking down a scenic path. And then there was Kirstie tearing off said robe, revealing a skintight black bodysuit, doing some cartwheels, and forming the crossbar of a T-square to Maks’ twirling body. As Carrie Ann exclaimed, Kirstie shows us “life as it should be lived by a 60-year-old!” Apparently that’s only worth a “nine.” Sorry, 60-year-olds. But feel free to boo the judges loudly. Scores: Carrie Ann, 9; Len, 9; Bruno, 9. Total: 27. (Two-dance total: 54)

Hines Ward and Kym Johnson: Quickstep, Freestyle
I loved Hines skipping gingerly in his top hat and tails, alongside Kym (sporting what appeared to be a dress with a silver and black-ivy sequined top and a long sheer slip that looked like a deflated hoop gown), if that makes any sense. Kym’s face was almost manic with happiness during the routine, and Hines was predictably enthusiastic and charming, too. He may not execute every step like a particularly sharp guillotine, but he’s actually really good on the floor and he makes watching dancing fun. Thankfully RoboBrooke killed the mood by telling Hines that when the week is over, “you never have to dance again.” But what if he wants to? I think Len’s rehearsal commentary said it best: “Booyakasha!” Scores: Carrie Ann, 10; Len, 9; Bruno, 10. Total: 29.

I’m not sure if Kym and Hines watched American Idol‘s James Durbin and his marching-band drummers rock out to “Uprising” a few weeks back, but here we had Hines in regalia that was half halftime-show and half Chippendales revue. Hines hurtled Kym through flying flips and other moves most people wouldn’t/should’t attempt on their own –especially that move where Hines held Kym across his chest, tossed her into the air — flipping her like pizza dough, then catching her on his chest. Not for the faint of heart! But certainly a treat to watch from the safety of my couch. Scores: Carrie Ann, 10; Len, 10; Bruno, 10. Total: 30. (Two-dance total: 59)

What do you think? Are you excited for the Season 12 finale? Who should win, who should be runner-up, and who should take the bronze? Sound off in the polls below, then justify your picks in the comments, and for all my reality TV recaps and opinions, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. raksha says:

    I really, really hope Chelsea Kane wins the mirror ball trophy.

    • jamie says:

      I agree completely. I love Chelsea and Mark. I think Kirstie’s and Hines’ fanbases are probably higher though because they are more well known, so I think that may cause her to come in third. I think Chelsea or Hines need to win and Kirstie needs to be 3rd. I admired Kirstie for doing all the tricks she did in her freestyle at her age, but I think her dancing is so much slower and not as much high energy as Hines and Chelsea. They deserve to be the top 2.

    • Kathy says:

      We knOw you want Chelsie to win DWTS honchos…The man behind the curtain didn’t even attempt to hide this season. If Chelsie wins this show will pay a price in credibility for sure!

      • Reality says:

        1. It has lost credibility because Kirsty wasn’t eliminated in week 2. 2. Your and idiot!

        • Ava says:

          It’s you’RE, not your. You’re the idiot.

          • Seriously says:

            Not to mention they said “your AND idiot” when it should have been “an”….I mean really did anyone go to school and pay attention AT ALL???

          • Reality says:

            Those are called typos morons…not an inability to spell. Based on your lack of taste and understanding of good dancing and focus on little things like typos, I’m pretty sure that you’re both flunkies. You’re also jealous tubby slobs who root for Kirsty and hate Chelsea because she is either what you want to be or never will be or have…losers

        • Media Ho says:

          This is for “Reality”:
          You’re a douche who probably lusts for SleazeBallas as you display your lack of spelling and punctuation skills on this board. Probably a low-level ABC/Disney troll.

  2. Chmarin says:

    Hines had the worst freestyle, IMO. Wow, anybody can bring out a bunch of props out to the stage and make it look grand. Okay, Kirstie’s lifts weren’t executed well, but it was so much more entertaining.

    Of course, Chelsea & Mark had the best one.

    I know Hines is gonna win, especially after last week’s show with Kym’s injury. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve it, I just think he is being overpraised. Chelsea should win.

    • Lola says:

      That is just a silly comment. They all brought props. Chelsea and Mark had a bike and glow in the dark accessories, and Kirstie came out in a monk’s robe. That’s your argument against Hines’ freestyle? Kirstie is a relatively good dancer for a 60 year old, but the judging should not be relative. The best dancer should be awarded. I am rooting for Hines, but if Chelsea won, I would respect that as well.

  3. Jenn says:

    I was sooooo bored by all the freestyles but especially with Hines and Kym’s. What happened to those freestyles that had your jaw on the floor? Definitely none of those last night. I am hoping that Chelsea and Mark win but I do believe it’ll be Hines and Kym. Even better would be Kirstie and Maks :)

  4. cmp says:

    I didn’t watch the entire show, only Hines and Kim’s freestyle but the recaps told me all I needed to know. Not nearly the level of dancing as in past finales. I think Hines and Kim will win through sheer popularity but Mark and Chelsea SHOULD win because they were technically better all season. That hasn’t counted for much in the past though. Kirstie and Max were always fun to watch on or off the dancefloor. Congrats to all!

  5. Lan says:

    Honestly, I think Chelsea and Mark should win because really Chelsea is the only one that can really dance. Props to Kirstie–that stuff isn’t easy. Hines has grown, too. Still, Chelsea and Mark’s routines seem more complicated. With that being said, I think Hines is the favorite to win.

  6. Reality says:

    1. The Free Styles were off last night and boring.
    2. Mike, you think Chelsea was overscored and her outfit should have been voted off?? You really need to lay off the mind altering drugs…did you actually see how awful Kirsty was last night and how awful that skin tight outfit was?? I wish I didn’t either! She was always a step behind Max.
    3. Kirsty will come in at least 2nd tonight because America is voting for the overrated Pig in all of these shows (see idol/Lauren).
    All the middle age women and “men like you” hate Chelsea for all of the obvious reasons…You ruined both shows this year!

    • Maureen says:

      Why do you even bother reading the reviews…. If Slezak ruined the shows for you, don’t read his opinions….

    • Leenie says:

      OK, I don’t normally respond to this kind of post, but your comments are waaaay over the line. It’s one thing to fairly to critique the competition, and have a favorite, but calling people “Pigs” etc is just plain rude. Social media allows cowardly commentary like this to be put out for many people to see, but I’m betting that asked to make a comment face to face, bravery won’t be handed out easily by the great Oz. I’m sure if a whole lot of strangers started making random mean comments on your appearance etc, without even actually knowing you, it would sting. Try a little empathy and compassion.

    • Amber says:

      What do you mean by “men like you”? Is that supposed to be a slur? Because if so, that is really uncool. You should be blocked from commenting on this website for that and for calling people pigs. If this website really upsets you that much, why do you devote so much time to reading all the articles and comments? And not everyone who is rooting for Kirstie are middle aged women. I, for one, happen to be young, single, and in great shape. So please keep your bigoted generalizations about people to yourself.

  7. megslin says:

    Im sorry…to everyone who thinks chelsea and mark deserves to win…are you 1) watching mark overdance and ignoring chelsea completely or 2) do you not enjoy actual entertainment when you dance? chelseas first dance of the night was technically fine, but…SO BORING. SO SO BORING. and they were WAY overscored for their second dance. I’m sorry she’s been dancing her entire life and…it doesn’t show.

    Hines, on the other hand, came in with NO dance experience, and does AMAZING. He’s got the technical stuff down, he improves every single week, and he is so much fun to watch! How in the world can someone else win when he and Kym have the best chemistry out there!

    I completely agree with this recapper. Not to mention, had Hines and Kym gone first in the freestyle, no way would chelsea and mark have gotten a 30 on theirs…it was like an overdone workout video.

    Lastly, Hines and Kym SHOULD have gotten a 30 on the first dance. They deserve the Mirror Ball!

    • Lan says:

      I don’t think Chelsea has any dance experience either (I’m not sure), and honestly Hines and Kym’s freestyle was way more boring in my opinion.

    • Reality says:

      I have no problem with Hines winning…my issue is that Chelsea and Hines are in the same sentence with that horrible Kirsty. Kirsty is the one that has been WAY overscored by the judges to keep her in it for ratings. Chloris Leachman was better.

    • Anna says:

      I was watching Mark pull out the same tricks every week. With Derek gone, he’s the default winner. Chelsea could have been any girl, I’ll have forgotten her by tomorrow.

      Kirstie’s a decent dancer for her age; but truth be told she’s a bit overscored. Had that been anyone else dancing, they would have been gettong 8s. Also most of her costumes are unflattering for her figure. That’s not a slam; there are ways to dress that draw attention away from “problem” areas; most of her costumes make her stomach and rear end appear larger.

      Hines deserves to win tonight; but Kirsties voting block will pull her through.

  8. Bobbi says:

    No matter how unlikely it is, I hope Kirstie and Maks take the mirrorball tonight!

    • Debbie M says:

      Not unlikely at all. The tabloids have been reporting since day one that the Scientologists are paying people to vote like mad for her.

    • Reality says:

      People like you should not be allowed to vote. This is called a dance competition and you want Kirsty..for what reason? You like foul mouthed, abnoxious, untalented, former drug using, overweight slobs, who have been overscored all year for ratings…who cannot dance? Oh ok…if that is what we are basing it on…then I hope she wins too. Then lets bring back Kate Gosslin, Chloris Leachman, and all the other idiots that went home rightfully early in the show…you moron!

      • Leenie says:

        RUDE RUDE RUDE RUDE RUDE RUDE RUDE RUDE RUDE!!!!!! Bashing and Bullying is unintelligent, unnecessary, cowardly, and makes you look just plain mean and stupid!!!!!

  9. KSM says:

    I completely agree about Chelsea and Mark’s freestyle – they were totally out of sync for the first 30 seconds or so. If I noticed it – and I rarely watch DWTS because it is up against HIMYM – it was pretty obvious.

  10. Jami says:

    I’m not middle aged, overweight, nor was I a huge fan of Kirstie Alley, however I have voted for her and Maks from the first week. She’s entertaining! I’m so sick of fake smiles and false chemistry. Kirstie & Maks are passionate in everything… The fights, the dance… THAT’S what make them fun to watch.

    I also enjoyed Kym & Hines. But they smile too much, it’s annoying.

    • Reality says:

      People like you should not be allowed to vote. This is called a dance competition and you want Kirsty..for what reason? You like foul mouthed, abnoxious, untalented, former drug using, overweight slobs, who have been overscored all year for ratings…who cannot dance? Oh ok…if that is what we are basing it on…then I hope she wins too. Then lets bring back Kate Gosslin, Chloris Leachman, and all the other idiots that went home rightfully early in the show…you moron!

      • Amber says:

        Wow, you are a very angry person. Who hurt you in life??? Who hurt you to make you be like this? Please seek help to get over your anger issues. Maybe then you can stop acting like such a b*tch to everyone.

  11. Dee says:

    Way back when, this show rewarded the most improved dancers (personalities). Now, unfortunately it has become a twisted shadow of it’s former self. Chelsea is a doll, but she’s young, athletic and has been heavily promoted as a favorite. Had it not been for the 15 bonus points she was given last week, she would have been voted out in favor of Ralph. Yes, she’s a good dancer, but she has not advanced or improved hardly at all from her very first dance. Now, compare that to Hines and Kirstie and even Ralph. All of these “older” personalities have zero dance experience, and in the case of Ralph and Kirstie little athletic ability. But, look at how all three have done over the course of this program. One could watch them week after week improve.

    Unfortuntely though DWTS has become a joke. If the judges don’t want to the audience to vote and respect that vote, then they should eliminate that aspect of it and not try to skirt it with bonus points and inflated scores. Chelsea’s freestyle was a disappointment. Out of sync, choppy, and not very enjoyable. But, that was the choreography, not her ability.

    Kirstie should win because she is the one personality who has improved the most, consistently. However, this is DWTS so it should be Hines but since Chelsea is a “Disney kid” it will probably be her taking home the trophy. *totally disappointing season*

  12. joy says:

    All season Hans has done well. When his partner was in trouble you could his concern. He puts his heart into everything he does.Go Hines Go Hines

  13. Kosha says:

    I have watched DWTS since season 1, and it has never really been about the dancing – it is a popularity contest. That being said, I thoroughly enjoy the show because it is fun and makes me happy. I will be happy if Kirstie & Maks or Hines & Kym win – they have been wonderful to watch all season. Each has improved every week and have great personalities. I would prefer Chelsea not win, but not because I don’t like her – she’s young, cute and silly. I can’t stand Mark – he continually outdances her, behaves like a spoiled brat and goes out of his way to “challenge” the judges with his routines. I don’t want him to win the mirror ball again. I think it would be great if Maks won for the first time with Kirstie – she is a testament to hard work and a good attitude paying off. I also think dancing in the dark helped hide a multitude of sins in Mark’s choreography. At least Kirstie and Hines were able to dance thier routines in the bright light of the ballroom!

  14. anon says:

    I really like Hines & he’s very likeable, but he has been consistently over-scored all season. While he has a winning personality, he moves his torso in a very ungraceful manner. He just looks stiff, yet the judges (and you, Michael) go on & on about how wonderful he is. I love him on the football field and I love his personality, but he’s not a good enough dancer to be in the finale. Good thing none of this matters!

  15. Devon says:

    Freestyles were uniformly unimpressive. I love Kirstie and Max and their interaction, entertaining. I love watching Chelsea, but Mark is a very bad Derek wannabe. The quality was down this year. So I ended up not really caring who wins this season.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    If Mark’s (oh, Chelsea was there too??) Freestyle was a 30, then the judges needed to bust out the “11 paddles” for Hines & Kym.

  17. L.O. says:

    It will be interesting to see who wins tonight considering it’s now up to the respective fan bases to vote for Kirstie, Hines, or Chelsea.

    I give credit to Kirstie for showing everyone that age doesn’t matter. I liked her in the beginning, but grew tired of her “personality” mid way threw the season. I do enjoy the chemistry between her and Max though.

    I expected Chelsea to do well, she is young, cute, full of energy, every producers dream “star”. What has been her negative, IMO, is her partner Mark Ballas. There is no denying Mark is a fantastic dancer, but his “entitled” attitude, and constant need to out perform, including the make-up?? has left me with a negative impression. I loved how Chelsea called him out on this a few weeks back, and notice now how Mark has completely toned down, only saying positive things. I’m sure it must kill him to have to humble himself and do damage control based on his attitude. I think Mark’s creativity is better suited for So You Think You Can Dance.

    Lastly, Hines, who although not technically perfect, he continued to improve each week, but more importantly, brings a good energy to his dances. There is great chemisty between he & Kym, and overall, they have been entertaining and fun to watch. Not all of there performances have been the best, but overall, very enjoyable.

    Tough to call, I’m hoping for Hines.

  18. ilikeentertainment says:

    The judges know dancing; i know what i like. i like to be entertained, and if that’s by the best dancer, great! if it’s by the one who tries the hardest but isn’t the most technically perfect, that’s great too! if this were a “dancing competition” both partners would be pros, the audience wouldn’t be given a vote, and the winner would be strictly on dance ability and nothing else. it’d probably also be on PBS, hosted by Marilu Henner and not have as many viewers, but that’s another topic. Brooke-bot says “vote for your favorite” not “vote for the best dancer” after every score, so that really implies that they don’t necessarily expect the most technically perfect dancer to always win. if the technically perfect dancer doesn’t have the strongest fan base, they might not. vote for who you like, the judges will score the technical merits, and let the mirror ball fall where it may. by the way, i voted for Kirstie, she provided all the entertainment i needed, thank you very much!

  19. verver says:

    I wasn’t able to get through on the phone lines to vote for Hines & Kym, who were definitely my faves last night. I hope it wasn’t equipment failure . . .

  20. Kristi says:

    This is the first time I’ve felt the judges have fixed their scores. Seems the last two episodes they’ve fixed things to favor Chelsea and Mark. Their dances have not been worth all those tens and they haven’t been giving Kirstie/Maks and Hines/Kym the scores they should’ve had. It’s ridiculous.

  21. april says:

    I like Chelsea but I dont want her to win because of Mark. He has been so over the top with his attitude and choreo this season, I can’t stand him anymore. And then last night, he goes and does a samba with the same music, very similar outfit(even down to the color!) and alot of the same original moves from a top international professional ballroom couple’s very well-known(in the ballroom world, anyway)routine from a couple of years ago…..guess he was banking on most of america not knowning that those were not HIS original moves. Not cool at all, Mark. Funny thing is, that while the odd movements worked great in the original routine, they didnt work at all with an amateur and a crazy man doing them. In fact, some of those moves are what the judges didnt like. I would think that was great, except they gave him tens anyway! Ugh…

  22. Donna Stevens says:

    I don’t think you guys get it. There will be a final danceoff and the judges will make sure they give their favorite enough points to win.

    • Dee says:

      Excellent point. I didn’t think about that possibility. It’s been very obvious that they handed Chelsea a place in the top three. In all these years when did you ever see bonus points awarded to their personal favorites. Never. And the consistent high, high scores they were given to Chelsea to make sure she stayed in. Ridiculous. If they hand over the final dance to them, that’ll be the end of it for me. I can’t stand anything fixed be it a race/game/contest.

  23. moni says:

    All I have to say hope Mark&Chelsie come in 3rd couse Marks facial expresions are just LOL material by now and don’t get me started on his coreography..worst freestyle EVER

  24. DanceFan says:

    I think Jenni Garth should replace Brooke as hostess. She did the Dove contest winner bit and was very perky and energetic. I think she would pair nicely with Tom B!

  25. Amber says:

    I think Hines and Kim will win, though I secretly hope Kirstie and Max will win. I just want to see her shove that trophy in all the faces of people who have dissed her for her weight. And I don’t even think the weight thing is an issue anymore because she is looking incredible and has lost a lot of inches since the competition began. I think I read today that she has lost 38 inches since her debut. It really shows. I’m happy for her. She’s the best looking 60-year old I’ve ever seen. And before any rude jerks tell me I’m a moron who shouldn’t be allowed to vote, I didn’t vote. I work nights so I always DVR the show and watch it when I get home. By the time I finish the show, it’s always too late to vote.

    I just really don’t want Chelsea to win. I don’t think she’s had to work as hard as the other contestants. I want to see someone win who has actually had to work extremely hard to stay in this competition because of age, health, whatever. I grade on a most-improved curve.

    And I thought Hines and Kim had the cutest routine and the cutest costumes for their freestyle. They were adorable! That is all.