Dancing With The Stars: The Finale
(S05E20) After ten weeks, and 19 drama filled episodes, tonight it was finally time to crown a winner. The last few weeks of the competition have been rather dramatic with camps forming on both sides of the "Marie" question. Is this a dance competition? Or is it a popularity contest? Probably a little of both, but the possibility that Marie could win the whole thing made for a lot of possibilities heading into the final show. The TV Squad readers picked the Helio vs Mel matchup by an overwhelming 76%. Were they right? That, and the final results, after the jump.
Gallery: Dancing With The Stars: The Finals
Tom kicked off the show calling it the most memorable finals ever. The pop-star performer, the Indy car champion, and the veteran performer. The hosts and judges have all been a little guilty of hyperbole this year, with repeated proclamations of 'best ever' this and 'best ever' that. I think it could go down as the most memorable finals ever, but not because it was the best dancing we have seen in a final.
They promised that in just a few minutes they would announce who came in third (a few minutes being about 25 in DWTS time), but first it was off to a recap of performance night. Helio was disappointed that he let Julianne down with their first performance. Mel took the hit for messing up the freestyle. Marie was almost in tears after her freestyle. Helio was excited to have made it through all of the lifts that he never thought he would make.
Samantha was backstage with all three couples and asked what they would miss about the show. Marie joked that she would miss the number eight. Mel said that she would miss the cast and crew. Helio said he would miss Julianne.
Tom teased that the results were coming up 'in just moments' again, before tossing it to Celine Dion performing "My Heart Will Go On." I know that song sold millions of copies, so somebody must like it, but good heavens, I just can't take it. She was joined by Tony, Karina, Alec, Edyta, Cheryl and Mark. They turned in a very beautiful performance, which did help take my mind off of that song.
After one more commercial break, it was finally time to get to the third place announcement. After the usual tense pause, Tom revealed that the couple in third place was Marie & Jonathan. Tom asked her what she takes away from this. She said that she felt like she was in a Cinderella story, even referring to the judges as her evil step-sisters. She later said it was one of the best experiences of her life. Marie and Jonathan had their final dance, the tango, and were sent on their way.
Tom and Samantha opened up the first of many taped pieces taking a look back at the season. These weren't really bad, but for anyone that has been following along all season, there really wasn't anything new in any of it. I think the show would have gained something from trimming some of that out and getting it down to a solid, jam-packed hour. At times, it was really dragging as they filled.
Then it was time for all of the eliminated couples to get back on the floor. Alex and Josie led off with their foxtrot. I think Josie was really plagued by just not being well known enough. She did look great in her green dress, and it was fun to see her again.
Albert and Anna were up next with Albert's infamous Elvis inspired number. Watching it again, it really is too bad that Albert was booted so early. That performance was better than a lot of the stuff we saw later in the competition. Wayne and Cheryl took the stage next, but they were not performing because of Wayne's recent health problems. He let everyone know that he is going to be just fine, and he will be on the DWTS tour.
There was a break from the trip down memory lane with the eliminated couples as we got the next tape package. This one was about the friends and family of the finalists. It included Sporty, Ginger, and Baby Spice, some of the guys from Helio's racing team, Helio's sister, Sam Hornish Jr., Maks, and Roger Penske. It was a nice break from the clip show segments, but still stood out as the show just not getting on with it.
Floyd and Karina were up next, but they weren't dancing tonight either. Floyd is preparing for a big fight in a week and a half. Then, Mark and Kym were back with a foxtrot. I still think Mark was probably in the competition a little longer than his dancing should have allowed for, but he really did grow on me. Their "King of the Road" performance was probably my favorite of their numbers.
Off to more highlights. This package included Marie's fainting spell once again. We've seen that more times than we ever needed to already, but the one interesting new bit was the look backstage at the rest of the cast as they reacted. This one also had the elimination of Sabrina, which I still find so surprising.
And that led to Sabrina and Mark, back to perform their cha cha cha. It was really good, once again. And it does show exactly why it was so shocking when they were eliminated. Tom had to wait to get to his interview as the audience continued cheering.
Samantha was talking with former champs Drew and Apollo. Drew thought that the standard of dancing this season has been phenomenal, although he did take the judges to task for their repeated 'best ever' lines. Asked about what they finalists are thinking, Apollo said most likely they are feeling relieved.
Jane and Tony were back next with their Viennese Waltz. There was no question this time about whether or not they did a lift. Jane was a good foot and a half off the floor through the spin. As they finished, they blew kisses at Carrie Ann.
Cameron and Edyta decided to go with their pasa doble for their encore performance, as you would have expected. Looking back, Cameron probably left the competition right about where he should have from a dance point of view. It was a good showing for him though. They also got a great reaction from the audience. In his interview Cameron said that he had no idea that he would enjoy the show as much as he did. Just before leaving the stage, he made good on taking his shirt off if he made it to the final show.
Finally, Jennie & Derek finished up the return performances as they took the floor to dance their mambo. Jennie finally looked completely at ease now that the pressure of the competition is off of her. That led to a quick stop backstage where Samantha had the two finalists. She asked what they would like to say to each other. Helio tried to tell Mel to break a leg, meaning good luck, and Mel interrupted him saying, "No, you break your leg."
Celine Dion was back to perform her new single, "Taking Chances" while accompanied by emotional scenes from the season. If you like Celine, this performance was probably right up your alley. It's just not my thing. The one thing that occurred to me listening to her perform though, is she starting to get a little of the Cher warble in her voice?
Another package looked at the strengths of the finalists. The diva vs. the driver. Helio cracked me up with his thoughts, "Mel? Wow. She can dance." Mel compared Helio and Julianne to two little cutesie dolls. Len said that Mel is the most versatile dancer they have ever had on the show. Of Helio, he said he is a born competitor.
Finally, an hour and a half into the show, it was time to actually start the competition.
Mel & Maks were up first and they chose to bring back their mambo from week eight. Mel was determined to up the score from 29 to 30 this time and they set about making improvements to the routine. It wasn't the dance that I expected them to choose. I thought it would be the pasa doble. That being said, this was still a good choice. Their mambo really captured the fun side of Mel's personality. I didn't think it was as well performed this time as it was when they originally did it, but it was still very good.
Len said that Mel was an absolute revelation, adding that their mambo was incredible. Bruno called it truly magnificent and praised her professionalism and good humor. Carrie Ann said that Mel danced like she was born to do this. Backstage, Mel said that winning the competition would mean everything to her. Score: 30 (10,10,10)
Helio and Julianne chose to do their Mask inspired quickstep for their final performance. Julianne suggested adding a lift, but Helio nixed it, saying that they got a perfect score without a lift, so they didn't need it. It was a great choice for a dance. Their quickstep was my favorite performance of the season. It's such a crowd pleaser, and it really shows Helio off well. They did a great job recreating the performance and got a huge reaction from the crowd.
Bruno said the engine was in full power and the turbo was engaged, adding that Helio has achieved an incredible amount in the competition. Carrie Ann said it was her favorite dance. Len praised Helio for the risks he's taken during the competition. He also paused to give a nod to the band. Helio said that even if he didn't win, it has been an amazing experience. Score: 30 (10,10,10)
All of that meant that the judges had effectively taken themselves out of the decision. With totals of 85 and 84, Mel had less than three tenths of a point advantage, so it all would come down to the fan vote.
Finally, they got down to the big announcement. After ten weeks of competition, the winners of Dancing With The Stars are Helio and Julianne! Helio called it an incredible moment. He thanked his team, his family, and Julianne. Someone even handed him a carton of milk, a nod to the Indy 500 for those of you that are not race fans.
Looking back on the season as a whole, I think it all came together rather well. There were some bumps along the way. Some people were eliminated a little earlier than they probably should have been, and some people hung around a little longer than some of us might have thought they should. In the end though, I think America got it right in moving Mel and Helio to the finals. Overall, I'd call the season a success.
|First! This is the best it has ever been.||559 (45.8%)|
|Second. It had some bumps, but ended really well.||429 (35.2%)|
|Third. Middle of the road for this one.||145 (11.9%)|
|Fourth. It's been so much better in the past.||41 (3.4%)|
|Fifth. Absolutely Dreadful.||46 (3.8%)|