Sweet 16: Who will win this season of DWTS?

May 20, 2013

It was with heavy hearts that we watched the final performances on Dancing with the Stars last night. I’m not sure that anyone outside of the Midwest can fully comprehend the destruction and still-horrifying scene unfolding in Oklahoma. But since ABC made the (perhaps questionable) decision to continue airing the competition, we were by our TV sets, glued to both the news and DWTS.


You can also check out Dance Magazine‘s Twitter feed for a live-tweeted account of the two-hour Season 16 Performance Show Finale.


The show began with an up-tempo number with the three blonde bombshells, Chelsie, Kim, Emma, and their partners, cha-cha-ing and grand jeté-ing (apparently a ballroom step now), before the dopey Tom Bergeron and boobilicious Brooke Burke Charvet (hosts of champions if you ask me) introduced the four remaining couples. They are, of course, country singer Kellie Pickler with All-American pro Derek Hough; Disney star Zendaya with Ukrainian hunk Val Chmerkovskiy; USA Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman with pint-sized powerhouse Mark Ballas; and jovial Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl champ Jacoby Jones with the sultry Karina Smirnoff.


Jacoby and Karina performed first, and we got a quick taste of their rehearsal process. Len stopped by the dance studio to coach Jacoby’s footwork for the jive, and I must say, he’s got a lot of nerve. Yelling at an NFL wide receiver takes some guts. The coaching paid off, however, and the pair finished up with a solid score of straight 9s.


Next came Aly Raisman and Mark to compete with the samba. Aly got some help from Bruno, who insisted they put in a challenging “samba roll,” which looked a lot like the backend of a circular port de bras. After the routine, Aly told Brooke that she would bring a lot of what she learned about artistry back to her tumbling routines in gymnastics…shocking. Score: 28.


Kellie and Derek quickstepped to stardom, coached by grumpy and awkward Len. (“Nobbly bits”??) The confidence that Kellie says she gets from dancing must have really shown through to the judges; Derek and Kellie earned a perfect score of 30, putting them in first place.


The fourth performance came from Zendaya and Val, coached by Carrie Ann Inaba. She whipped Zendaya’s sway back and loose core into shape for the samba. We also got to see the clip of Val’s bloody face: In dress rehearsal, Zendaya smacked Val’s eye with her elbow…covered in rhinestones. “It was a lot of blood,” underscored Brooke. I do think voters will be sympathetic to Val’s boo boo—the judges certainly were. Val and Z also got a perfect score of 30.


Cha-cha relay came next. All couples performed for a few seconds, all with open mouth expressions of “ha!” and “ooooh!” Kellie had a Tanya Harding moment of sorts, suggesting she’d throw marbles on the dance floor. If she wasn’t so cute I’d be worried she was serious—competition was that dramatic. Though she didn’t take home the perfect 5, Kellie’s crisp, almost militant spin on the cha-cha looked cleanest to me.


A few thoughts on the “super sized” freestyle round: Jacoby’s stomp-meets-tap-meets-Mardi Gras parade piece was the best. Karina definitely out danced Jacoby—her intensity and full-bodied funk was no match for the smooth stepping athelete. Aly and Mark’s rave routine was loud, circus-like. Not sure why there were poles, nor do I understand why Aly had a hologram Liberty Bell on her head, but it worked for the judges. They loved it almost as much as they loved Kellie and Derek’s melodramatic contemporary duet. Carrie Ann was in tears, audience members were in tears—it was a very So You Think You Can Dance moment.


Zendaya and Val played it sparkly and safe, their cha-cha, turned contemporary, turned hip-hop routine, albeit clean, was a little dry. Like Jacoby and Karina, Z and Val also had children tap dancing behind them. Zendaya better watch out—she’s not gettin’ any younger! I kid, I kid. Their routine claimed straight 10s from the judges, and we got a close-up view of Val’s patched up eyebrow.


As of last night, Zendaya and Val are in first, Jacoby and Karina are in last place. But it’s still up to the voters. And a two-hour finale tonight. Who do you think will take home the mirror ball?



Photos via ABC.com.