Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Dancing With the Stars' recap: And the Mirrorball goes to ...

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! We have a "Dancing With the Stars" winner! After 10 weeks of dances, drama and more leader changes than you can shake a spangled stick at, the sparkliest show on television has finally crowned its Season 13 winner. The coveted Mirrorball trophy ended up in the hands of inspirational fan favorite J.R. Martinez and his pro partner, Karina Smirnoff.
The honor couldn't have gone to a better guy. The veteran and actor had all the makings of a winner. His inspirational back story, dedication, drive and eternal optimism gave him the uncanny ability to get everyone to root for him. In retrospect, of course it would go to J.R. A vote against J.R. would be like a vote against America. It was a sure bet for a sure vet. And his first words on hearing he won were of gratitude. "Thank you, America, for believing in us," he said. That was followed shortly after with thanks to his partner, who very much deserved her first championship award herself. "You are amazing," he said. "I'm so grateful I was able to be a part of your first Mirrorball trophy."

Congratulations to all!
Though going into these final moments, it really didn't seem as though J.R. was going to get his hands on that shiny prize, did it? He fumbled a bit in his first two finale performances and ended up tied for second after Monday. I liked how he and Karina decided to do a redux of his favorite dance, Week 2's jive, but the outcome was less than glossy without the lift and the Lindy. Plus, it couldn't compete with Ricki Lake's and Derek Hough's awesome "Psycho" tango from Week 4 (which was just as thrilling this time around). Ricki and Derek received the full 30 points for that dance, J.R. and Karina received 28. Second-place finishers Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke performed their Week 3 “Fly Me to the Moon” fox trot and ended up with 26 points and third place.
There is a new "Dancing With the Stars" winner: J.R. Martinez, and his pro partner, Karina SmirnoffBut on a night like this, anything could happen. Like when it was disclosed that point leaders Ricki and Derek ended up in third place, leaving the room spinning (and Derek took Ricki out for a last star spin on the dance floor to perhaps emphasize the effect).
So it was down to Rob and J.R. to do the instant samba, set to Ricky Martin's festive "Shake Your Bon Bon." Rob definitely had the advantage in the bon bon department, but J.R. had his Latin roots. J.R. also had the difficult samba rolls in his routine, but both J.R. and Rob were awarded with perfect 30 scores from the judges, leaving them with a grand total 112 and 113 points, respectively. Though in the end, the viewer votes toppled Kardashian nation and put J.R. over the top.
But let's not forget the rest of the filler in this massive two-hour production -- like the procession of all the season’s contestants squeezed back into shiny outfits and trotted back onto the dance floor. And I dare say that all their dances looked that much better because it was all fun and games and no one feared getting paddled. Metta World Peace and Elisabetta Canalis, we hardly knew ye. Kristin Cavallari and Mark Ballas did a hopping '50s jive. Chynna Phillips got to redeem her brain freeze and perform Mission: Impossible Tango -- the Sequel, though part of me feels that Tony Dovolani got cheated because they didn't lower him down on wires this time.
Carson Kressley’s back! Again. The fashion guru and all-around delight got to check off a dream on his bucket list and dance with a Chmerkovskiy (Val), as well as Anna Trebunskaya and other members of the Troupe to the tune of Madonna's "Vogue." Nancy Grace and Tristan "Sir Dance-A-Lot" MacManus winningly hopped and skipped to their take on "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from "Spamalot."
Loved seeing Lacey Schwimmer's dad Buddy come back to tend bar and hoof it alongside his daughter and Chaz Bono. I also would have loved to seen adorable Coco Arquette and her endearingly ecstatic expressions in the ballroom one last time, but alas, I saw no camera pans to her during dad David Arquette's high-octane "Grease" routine with Kym Johnson and the Troupe. But the routine was so fun that it made me want to go out and have a party in a high school multi-purpose room anyway. Coming in a close second in the fun department was a stealthy David trying to sneak out with the Mirrorball trophy in hand. And then Hope Solo and Maks Chmerkovskiy continued the good vibes with their version of "Valerie."
Lady Antebellum came on to perform "Dancing Away With My Heart" and put a bittersweet wistfulness into the proceedings, while Dmitry and Kym and Val and Peta bared their chests and their hearts like couples holding on to each other long after the dance had ended and everyone had gone home. Later, Lady Antebellum came back to perform their smash hit, "Need You Now," with the Troupe.
And don't forget the highly entertaining "Judges: Uncut!" segment, which had the judges acting as fun and as silly and as self-referential as the show itself. Like when Carrie Ann regretted a score and told an audience member, "I should have given him an 8!" Or when Len called Tom a "camera hogger" and told him to "get out of my shot." Or when Bruno saw a picture of himself in his younger days and gasped, "I was hot!"
What did you think? Did the right star win? Shocked to see Ricki come in third? Will you watch Nancy Grace's new "Dancing in the Jailhouse," debuting in January? Does Carson’s dance qualify as water-cooler talk?

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