This post has been updated with night 2 of the finale.
Can you believe we’re on the eve of another Dancing with the Stars finale? Due to only being an hour in length, night one of the Finals was set at a frenzied pace. Each remaining celebrity and their partner were asked to redo a specific dance from the season during the Redemption Round before partaking in the ever-popular Freestyle Round in which anything goes. Let’s see how your remaining favorites did on this final week of competition:
David Ross & Lindsay Arnold, Viennese Waltz
Dancing to “Let’s Hurt Tonight” by OneRepublic, David and Lindsay redeemed their Viennese Waltz from week four of the competition. Len congratulated David for being the Cinderella who made it to the ball despite all odds and said it was a pleasure to watch his enthusiasm. Julianne applauded him for improving his technique, while Bruno commended his twirls and swirls. Carrie Ann called him a hero for drawing her in, saying nobody can beat him when it comes to creating a connection.
Normani Kordei & Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Quickstep
What hurt ankle? Normani and Val chose to redeem their fiery Quickstep, dancing to Oh the Larceny’s “Check It Out”. Julianne commended them for being one of the most consistent couples throughout the competition, but she did note a lack of body contact in the choreography. Bruno said it was brilliant, likening them to bats out of hell. Carrie Ann called it fantastic and complimented Normani for taking so many risks, while Len echoed Julianne’s sentiments saying it was a bit too fast-paced for him.
Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater, Viennese Waltz
Dancing to “Dark Times” by The Weeknd featuring Ed Sheeran, Rashad and Emma redeemed their Viennese Waltz with a steamy routine. Bruno called it majestic, polished and as smooth as silk with just the right amount of sexual tonality. Carrie Ann was blown away with his tireless pursuit to perfection, calling it magic that words cannot express. Len saw tremendous improvement in every level of the dance, while Julianne praised him for improving and putting his best self forward during the finals in a time when most competitors traditionally play it safe. Kudos to Rashad for saying he’s fighting so hard for Emma to bring home her first Mirror Ball trophy! I think they could go all the way if that perfect judges’ score is any indication.
And then came the moment we’ve been waiting for all season: those exciting, innovative Freestyles!
David Ross & Lindsay Arnold
Dancing their hearts out, David and Lindsay danced a fun, spirited Freestyle to a medley of “It Takes Two”/”Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. I think he hit a home run with satisfying his fans – no other Freestyle has ever included a dugout, baseball bats and a flying W. Len said he knocked it out of the park and the only thing missing were the beers and hot dogs. Julianne loved it, while Carrie Ann commended him for hitting his personal best. Bruno told them that they definitely had their money’s worth, saying it was the best-looking team ever that was perfectly in sync. I almost cried for him when he received his first perfect judges’ score!
Normani Kordei & Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Normani and Val danced a lovely but subdued Freestyle to Andra Day’s rendition of “What the World Needs Now is Love”. Julianne called it breathtaking, enjoying Normani’s light that she’s given everybody watching her journey. Bruno said it was achingly beautiful, comparing it to watching angels dance. Carrie Ann said Normani’s in a class of her own through her articulation and the peeling of her complex layers, while Len enjoyed the emotionality of the dance.
Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater
What a finish! Rashad and Emma danced a funky Freestyle to Bruno Mars’ “Let’s Go/Uptown Funk” with some fantastic marching band/drum corps-inspired choreography and costumes. Bruno was blown away, calling it sensational. Carrie Ann told him he was naughty for holding out on them all this time. Len said it was so good he could even put up with the music choice, calling him the one with the unbeatable momentum going into the finals. Julianne praised it, saying it was going in the books for one of the most iconic Freestyles ever on the program.
Who do you think will take home the Mirror Ball Trophy this season? I’m predicting Rashad and Emma, but be sure to vote! And I cannot wait to watch night two of the Finals, as ABC is rumored to be capitalizing upon their Dirty Dancing remake, which airs the night after the DWTS finale by having two of its stars – Colt Prattes and Nicole Scherzinger – stop by for what promises to be a very special dance.
Night two of the Dancing with the Stars finale was all fluff as usual, but it’s always the best fluff of the season. It was good to see all the competitors return to redeem themselves on the ballroom floor, as well as special musical performances from TLC, Hailee Steinfeld, Lady Antebellum and OneRepublic. The Dirty Dancing remake dance cameo from Colt Prattes and Nicole Scherzinger did not disappoint!
Thank goodness the producers put a guitar in Charo’s hands – she’s much calmer and obviously way more talented at that than she was at ballroom dancing. Did you see Bruno and Len dancing (resplendent in hard hats and safety vests) in Normani and Val’s recreation of their sexy construction Salsa? I about lost it! Hands down though, the best segment of the finale fun belonged to Mr. T. parodying his “Treat Your Mother Right” video from the ’80s. I pity the fool who forgot to DVR that!
And after all that fluff, each of the remaining three contestants were asked to compete in the infamous 24-hour Fusion Dance Round that combines two very different styles of dance and usually separates the champs from the runners-up. Let’s see the final tallies from the judges:
David Ross & Lindsay Arnold, Foxtrot/Salsa Fusion
I respect David so much for coming out and giving this competition his all. He may not have been the most natural dancer left in the finals, but he earned his place just as much as the other two. David and Lindsay looked good out there fusing Foxtrot and Salsa moves. Len said it was a proper fusion and thanked him for filling him with joy. Julianne told him he never disappoints because of his kid-like vulnerability. Bruno called him the “blockbusting crowd-pleaser,” and told him that no matter what happens, he’s the people’s champion. Carrie Ann was sad it was his last dance because she will miss the purity of his heart.
Overall Total: 109
Normani Kordei & Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Argentine Tango/Foxtrot Fusion
Normani and Val have had such an amazing journey all season. I was sad to see it end, but their Argentine Tango/Foxtrot Fusion was equally amazing. Julianne said it was a seamless fusion that looked absolutely flawless and stunning. Bruno called her a magnificent creature who attacked the Tango like a tigress. Carrie Ann commended her for her intense journey, while Len felt it was a wonderful combination of flair and precise movements. Unsurprisingly, it was another perfect score from the judges for their fantastic Fusion effort.
Overall Total: 118
Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater, Cha Cha/Tango Fusion
Hearing that Rashad logged over 100 hours more of practice than his competitors did not surprise me. It’s been obvious from the start that he works hard and cares about succeeding in this competition. Rashad and Emma looked fabulous on the ballroom floor for their final Fusion dance. I didn’t like it – I loved it! Bruno said watching him throughout the competition was like watching a rising star that peaked at the right time as a supernova. Carrie Ann admired his ability to put everything on the floor, while Len said he enjoyed seeing his transformation throughout the season. Julianne called it a great way to finish the season and it was a solid celebration of their partnership. I was happy to hear Rashad’s going to be on the DWTS summer tour – it wouldn’t be the same without him. A 9 from Len, really?
Overall Total: 119
It’s no secret that I’ve been rooting for Rashad & Emma to win for quite some time. However, I thought it was a pretty even match-up with Normani & Val – the two couples dueled for the top of the leaderboard status all season long. However, in a season full of shocking eliminations, Normani and Val took third place. America waited with bated breath to see if the underdogs would be crowned champs … but ultimately America did the right thing and the confetti fell on Rashad & Emma and I’ve never been more relieved during a DWTS finale! Can’t wait to see what next season holds!
Were you happy with the outcome? Who would you like to see dance next season? Tell us in the comments below!