Alright, let's get it over with: Congratulations Nicole!
I have to say, I wasn't surprised. Throughout this season Nicole has shown that she's deserving of that sparkling sphere. Even though some might argue that she had an unfair advantage (after all, her "day job" as a Pussycat Doll includes singing and dancing), ballroom is a different beast and Nicole worked hard to master a new form. Also, a big round of applause to Derek Hough who showed his stellar choreography chops this season. His dances were consistently creative, surprising and entertaining. And, Derek managed to please the little-Len-in-all-of-us by incorporating tough ballroom skills. Bravo!
So now let's go back to the beginning of the finale show. The three finalists and their respective partners first performed a dance from this season's repertoire...and they all just happened to choose the Argentine tango. How odd. But if you're going to pick something to wow the judges, it may as well be a dance full of drama and passion.
Nicole and Derek's piece balanced precision and intensity, and the choreography highlighted the Argentine tango's intricate footwork. They set the mood and never broke character. And Nicole's energy and skills rivaled Derek's—they looked like a real pro couple.
Evan and Anna reprised the routine that earned them a perfect score, and this time around the dance was even more impressive. Evan matched his meticulous execution with an expressive performance. After they danced, Len reminded the audience that Evan was the only male celebrity left in the game, and pointed out that, as the dude, Evan was driving that dance and leading Anna on the floor.
While Erin and Maks didn't quite live up to the standard set by the other couples, you could see that Erin gave it her all. Although her footwork was clean, her legs were often slightly bent when they seemed like they should have been straight to contrast the Argentine tango's little kicks and hip twists.
The judges ranked the three couples after this round in first (30 points), second (28 points) and third (26 points). The results were predictable. Nicole and Derek earned top marks, Evan and Anna came in second and Erin and Maks came in third. Combined with the audience votes, that put Nicole and Evan in the lead, and the audience said goodbye to Erin. During her farewell, Erin thanked Maks for helping her find herself again after a difficult year. It was really touching to see the couple—especially Maks, who sometimes seems aloof—hugging each other while watching the video recap of their time on the show. And before Erin and Maks left the floor, they danced an adorable cha cha to "Relax Max."
Then the remaining two couples danced their final performances. Nicole and Derek performed a jive to "Proud Mary." It was full of energy and completely fun. While you watched, you sort of knew Nicole had this thing in the bag. The judges gave the couple a perfect score!
But Evan was a strong competitor. He and Anna performed a quick step to "I Want You To Want Me," and again, Evan showed that he had grown as a performer, adding genuine emotion to a technically exceptional routine. The couple earned a 28. Also, loved Anna's 1950s-style powder blue dress with a pretty tulle skirt.
In the end, Nicole triumphed, but I have to say, I loved Evan's professionalism. He always gave 100 percent, even though he was probably exhausted—after all, he was touring with "Stars on Ice," during the entire "DWTS" season! And though he may have been more reserved, he was always generous with his praise for his fellow dancers. Guess what? Your consolation prize is....drumroll please...an Olympic gold medal! Yeah, he'll be fine.
As for the rest of last night's finale show, it was a little like "Dancing with the Stars" prom. Everyone was there—even the kids you forgot were in the class. Each star got to perform again, although some had more face time (ahem, Kate) than others. Here are a few highlights:
- ABC's no dummy. They understand that our vitriol for Kate Gosselin equals bigger ratings. So who got the closeup during the Vegas showgirl-inspired opening (complete with giant feather fans)? Yes, the "star" who marches her way through every routine and can't even bounce her hip to the beat. KATE, LISTEN! 1-2-3-4. OMG, how is it possible that after performing on this show you still cannot count to music? Unreal.
- Chad Ochocinco and Cheryl Burke swooned all over each other...nope. Didn't happen. We were spared that slobberfest because Chad was injured. Feel better, Chad!
- Pamela Anderson descended to the dance floor on a circular trapeze-type-thing and danced a super sultry routine to "I Just Want To Make Love To You." She was followed by Niecy Nash, who did another sexy routine to "Bootylicious." After their performances, Pam and Niecy talked to Tom and Brooke. Brooke asked Pam, "How does it feel to dance without being judged?" to which Pam replied, "I like being judged," with a saucy smile. Niecy joked that she felt like "a weave on a stick!" We missed you two!
- The Utah Valley University college ballroom team took home the mini-Mirrorball Trophy. Congrats!
- Buzz Aldrin was "beamed" into the ballroom for his duet with Ashly Costa. He was wearing a blinged-out flight suit, which Tom Bergeron described as something from the "NASA Liberace collection." Thanks for saying what we were all thinking, Tom. Thanks.
So that's it! We hope you enjoyed watching "Dancing with the Stars" with the DS staff. And don't forget: We'll be blogging about "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 7, which premieres this Thursday on Fox. So check back in soon!