Previously on Dancing with the Stars: A series of double and triple eliminations got us to the finals in Week Four, which is not a format that makes this show especially fun to watch. Especially since I don’t know much about sports and the players thereof – I’m not getting time to get to know these people and there are some I would have found thoroughly delightful. But instead, we’re just blazing through a mini-season that isn’t leaving much of an impression.
I mean, I love finale night, but this is just a one-hour episode. There’s no point in looking back at the season because it all happened just now. My emotional engagement is minimal and I actually forgot that my current favorite pro is even in the finals. I hope this isn’t what we’re going to get for the Spring season going forward, because this is just a mess.
But do you know who I don’t blame? Tom Bergeron, Erin Andrews, and the Judges. If I’m grumpy in this recap, it’s not their fault or the fault of anybody on the dance floor. It’s just that ABC whittled the season down to almost nothing and took away a lot of the fun. And I guess we’re just going to get right into it.
Tonya Harding and Sasha Farber (26/30; 30/30)- Now, I haven’t especially enjoyed Tonya this season, which might have something to do with the crying. Or that I had mentally replaced her with Margot Robbie and now I’m reminded that she’s an actual person and not a movie character. Anyway, there’s almost no training footage as they head into their Viennese Waltz. And it’s nice. I like a good Waltz. But this is a Week Four Waltz, which is a damn sight different than a Finals Waltz. It’s competent and doesn’t seem especially complicated and I want to be freaking out over amazing dancing.
Len talks about how she’s had some of the harder dances, which is another thing – nobody’s done anywhere close to all the styles. Bruno says it was lovely. Carrie Ann says she seemed nervous. It’s a 26, which is higher than I expected.
Then it’s the Freestyle, which is really where I find myself wishing they’d had another six or seven weeks under their belts. Their song is “I Will Survive” and it’s disco-themed, which has never really been a winning Freestyle approach. Unfortunately, they get overshadowed by the ten backup dancers and while it’s got some nice moves, it doesn’t really hit right for me. I mean, it’s a Freestyle in Week Four, which is not going to compare to a full-season Freestyle. I’m going to have to adjust my expectations.
Len calls it “one and a half minutes of joy”. Bruno gesticulates a lot. Carrie Ann demands a hug. It’s a 30. I’m betting the Freestyles are going to get perfect scores across the board.
Josh Norman and Sharna Burgess (27/30; 30/30) – Team Sharna! Again, not much in the rehearsal footage. They’re doing a Foxtrot which I like a lot, but it might just be more that it’s more interestingly staged than Tonya’s Waltz. Josh strikes me as a little clompy at first, but they do a very nice spin that I think looks amazing. It’s solid work but man, I’d like to see them weeks down the line.
Bruno likens them to Beauty and the Beast and compliments him for saving Sharna when she got her foot caught in her dress. Carrie Ann says he’s bringing more poetry to his movements and notes it’s his first time with an actual Ballroom dance. In the finals. Man, this season is a mess. Len calls it a great performance. They get a 27.
Sharna is wearing a very complicated top for their Freestyle. I’m pretty sure it was designed by the late Dave Cockrum, and the Venn Diagram for that joke is nonexistent. It’s football-themed, with Josh starting in a fake locker room wearing nothing by crazy tight pants. I think they use the backup dancers better than Tonya and Sasha did, and the dance connects better to the song for me. It’s really good and I can’t even imagine what these nuts would pull off in a full-length season.
Bruno loved it and you can tell because he calls it “erotic”, which is the subtext of all his critiques but he rarely says it. Carrie Ann says it’s the best piece of choreography Sharna has ever created. Len loved the whole thing and he’s just grinning from ear to ear. It’s another 30. Tom also shows some rehearsal footage from earlier in the day where Josh accidentally just flattens Artem.
Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson (30/30; 28/30) – They’re doing a Jazz dance to “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better”, so it’s one of my least favorite dance styles paired with a song that’s really heavy on vocals. And they’re lip syncing. It’s the most distracting thing in the world. I think it’s actually very good – the footwork and choreography is impressive, but it’s also the perfect storm of things that make me check out of a performance.
Carrie Ann likens them to the Wonder Twins, who weren’t known for dancing. Len says it was fantastic. Bruno calls it exquisitely theatrical. It’s a 30 for these two.
Well, I am not super comfortable with them wearing short black wigs, carrying fans, and wearing geisha robes. I’m not one to holler “cultural appropriation” at a drop of the hat, but right off the bat, it makes me feel kind of bad inside. But the dance isn’t in any way Asian-themed, which makes the whole thing weirder. In fact, all the lyrics are in Spanish. This seems more like performance art than the others and I have no idea what to make of it. Like, I can’t even really describe it because it almost didn’t read as a dance to me. Things happened on my TV and it seems like everything happened exactly as intended, but I don’t know what I saw.
Carrie Ann agrees with me – she says it was impressive but she felt like she was missing something. Len liked the invention and starts to say something but Adam butts in and they’re almost out of time. Bruno calls it fabulous. They get a 28, which is a surprise on a Freestyle. And it means the score is super tight and it’s going to come down to who gets the votes in the five minutes that they’re taking audience votes.
Well, let’s get to the results. They’re so short on time they have to cut straight to the winners and it’s…. Adam and Jenna! They weren’t my choice but I think they probably are the correct winners.
So that’s the shortest season ever. It was kind of a mess and left everybody shortchanged, but at least we got to see some cool dancing, right?