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'Dancing With the Stars' Recap: Week 10 Performances

by Katy Kroll, posted May 24th 2011 1:00AM

That was the sound of my head exploding. Yes, it was time for the most anticipated performances of the 'Dancing With the Stars' season: The freestyle challenge. And the dances were better than I could have ever imagined.

The super-safe "Judge's Choice" routines -- where each of the judges picked a do-over dance for each star -- got lost in the shuffle of the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink freestyles that unfolded during the second half of the show.

With three stars and just one mirrorball trophy, Hines Ward, Chelsea Kane and Kirstie Alley pulled out all the stops for the big win.

The past couple of weeks, it had seemed like Hines probably had it in the bag, especially after last week's emotional dance with injured partner Kym Johnson. His smooth, swiveling hips and million-dollar smile have helped him sail through week after week, despite playing it rather straight all season.

But dark horse Chelsea has always been right behind him, nipping at his heels every step of the way with her crisp choreography alongside oh-so-precise pro Mark Ballas.

And then there's Kirstie -- the kooky yet determined fan favorite who always seems to have something new up her sleeve with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. (By the way, never underestimate the fact that the two best looking -- and supposedly straight -- male pros have probably been garnering their own votes during the competition.)

Going into the finals, Hines and Chelsea were basically in a dead heat, each having topped the leaderboard multiple times and earned perfect scores. And at the end of the night ... they were still neck and neck, thanks to the judges perfectly even scoring of the two. (Way to leave it in our hands, as usual, guys.)

While Hines has been a little boring on the dance floor, the Pittsburgh Steeler has fine footwork, a heartstring-tugging backstory and fanatic footballers on his side. He's come out week after week with solid steps and a charming personality, but he always just falls short of that extra something I'm hoping to see.

Chelsea, on the other hand, started off as a virtually unknown Disney star, but has blown everyone out of the water when it comes to spot-on moves and eye-poppingly theatrical choreography.

Basically it was their night to face-off, since Kirstie trailed them both in overall scores and week-to-week consistency.

With youth and audacity on their side, Chelsea and Mark seemingly had a real advantage going into the freestyle. Don't forget that Mark had a hand in pulling out a photo-finish win for another bubbly young blonde -- season 8 champ Shawn Johnson. What 'DWTS' fan could forget how the duo nailed their freestyle challenge and stole the trophy from season-long front-runner Gilles Marini by a slim 1 percent margin? Well, I have no doubt such an upset could happen again ...

Chelsea and Mark's over-the-top, glow-in-the-dark 'Tron'-like pop-and-lock routine (say that fast five times) was "electrifying" and went off with barely a hitch. At least in the dance department. When it came to wardrobe, though, Chelsea had a couple of unfortunate malfunctions, including an apparently ripped pant-leg and her light-up shoes blowing a fuse. Still, she let nothing distract her from nailing the routine and nabbing three 10s.

However, Hines refused to loosen his grip when it came to the lead. His perfectly pandering Superbowl-themed drumline performance had him and Kym dripping in his team colors, reminding football fans everywhere of exactly who he is. He may as well have handed out season tickets to everyone in the audience; that's how shrewd a move it was. And indeed, the judges paid him back with perfect 10s.

But even though she probably doesn't have a chance in hell of winning, Kirstie once again stole the show with a show-stopping, holy @#$! performance. Not only did she look fantastic -- I wouldn't be surprised if she has lost 50 lbs. over the course of the season -- but she was clearly willing to risk life and limb to grab as many viewer votes as possible.

You gotta give it to her, she has guts -- and I'm not gonna lie, her dance unexpectedly made me a little misty-eyed. Not only did she obviously give it her all, but she couldn't have picked a better song: Pink's 'Perfect.' Going on a dance show weighing north of 200 lbs. and pushing senior citizen-status was a tall order. She definitely had the steepest hill to climb, and she reached the summit this week.

It was a truly entertaining spectacle -- with spins, lifts, cartwheels, you name it. Despite her best effort, though, she still trailed behind Hines and Chelsea when it came to the judges' scores, virtually insuring she'll be the first knocked off during Tuesday night's grand finale. But she made sure she went out with a bang.

Meanwhile, I could see a judges' tie coming a mile away for Hines and Chelsea, who each wound up with 59/60 total points, respectively, for their two combined dance scores. Now it's up to viewers to decide who deserves the trophy ...

Oh, but wait! Each of the stars will perform one last dance during the grand finale -- and the judges ultimately get final say on who will hold the coveted mirrorball high above their head.

Should win? Chelsea and Mark. Most likely will win? Hines and Kym. But it's still anybody's race, so tell me by taking the poll below and commenting: Who do you think will win?

The 'Dancing With the Stars' finale airs Tuesday at 9PM ET on ABC.

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If the judges have the final say it will probably go to Chelsea and Mark--the "winner takes all cha-cha" contest seemed engineered to keep them in the competition as the judges darlings.

May 24 2011 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Chelsea & Mark were just doing a high energy aerobic workout. BORING. Not much dancing involved. Hines for the win (Kym is a fantastic choreographer), Kirstie 2nd place! (wish it was first place for Max who has been great this season and Kirstie who looks great)

May 24 2011 at 7:35 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Christina Draper

While I agree with Kit on some level (what Kirstie has achieved is nothing short of AWESOME!) how can you say Chelsea and mark deserve to win? She looks ungainly when she dances, and what is up with her mouth? Granted the moves are great, but that has nothing to do with her, as she is merely doing what she is taught. But to be honest, Chelsea seems like a sweet girl, and it is really mark that is a complete turn off to many. He comes off as arrogant, often arguing with the judges.

Whereas Max seems to really take things in stride in this season, and he has worked wonders with Kirstie Alley.

But I think it really belongs to HInes and Kym. Not only is Kym just as good a choreographer as anyone else, but the two of them have gotten this far with grace and style.

May 24 2011 at 6:58 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It's great....
My blogs:

May 24 2011 at 2:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Kirstie Alley all the way. C'mon, she earned it!

May 24 2011 at 2:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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