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!