"Dancing with the Stars" Recap: Season 11 Finale!
Aaaand we're off! In just two hours (Just? Oy.), "Dancing with the Stars" will crown—mirrorball—its 11th champion.
Will it be Bristol Palin, the controversial abstinence-preaching mama who's gone from gorilla suit (ahhhh!) to Chicago-seductress?
Will it be Kyle Massey, with his plus-sized personality?
Or will it be dancing diva Jennifer Grey, the danciest of them all?
We're (almost) about to find out. Happy finale!
The pros are dancing their way down the stairs and it's hot! I can't believe it took me so long to get on board the Anna Trebunskaya bandwagon. That girl is smokin'. It's fun to see the pros we've gone so long without: Chelsie, Cheryl, Louis... Welcome back!
Now here come the contestants in red: The Sitta-Way-Shun! Rick Fox! Mrs. Brady!
The dance floor is crowded as everyone rocks out to the opening number. The three finalists are the last ones to enter and they all look a bit tense and nervous. Brandy, however, seems to be loving life, and The Situation is comfortable as ever returning to the ballroom floor.
Fun fact: The opening number was choreographed by Jason Gilkison. We spent some time with him last week at "So You Think You Can Dance" auditions in Brooklyn. He's fabulously classy and a great guy—plus, he's got the choreographic chops to match.
Tom Bergeron tells us that, although she was in the opening number, Audrina Patridge is injured. Collective sadness. How will my life go on if I can't see her perform tonight?!
OK I'm over it.
On with the show...
Here come all the recaps. If you missed last night's episode, here's your cheat sheet.
Brooke Burke's dress is tight and sexy with a side cutout. Gosh, she's so adequate.
In the series of recaps, Derek is shown in his bedazzled baby-T. He called me last night and asked for my hand in marriage, but it just didn't seem right to do that before finding out his fate on the finale. I only date champions.
I wish that were true. I would rather daydream than re-watch Mark Ballas spanking Bristol's booty. I didn't want it last night and I did not ask for a second helping.
Second helping... Thanksgiving?
I am distracted again. This recapping is too much.
OK so Derek and Jennifer led last night with a perfect score. Tom tells us that each couple gets a share of the judges' votes, plus the viewers' votes and blah blah blah. They show some percentages and I remember that I didn't like math class and that's why I write for a teen dance magazine. You people are more fun than fractions.
Jennifer says she ruptured a disc in her spine, but she got "fixed up" this morning. In other words, a fancy L.A. doctor prescribed her some awesome pain meds and she's going full out tonight. With Derek. Even though he texted me that he hopes I'm his Season 12 partner.
The Hershey's Kisses holiday commercials are back! I love the ones where the little kisses line up and play jingles. I am easily amused.
Christina Aguilera! Performing "Show Me How You Burlesque" from, uh, Burlesque. Her extensions are ratty a la Taylor Momsen, but I'm not mad. She's a good singer. (Take notes, Taylor Momsen.)
Backup dancers! Tyne Stecklein! Paula Van Oppen, a former Dance Spirit Cover Model Search finalist! Oh I am so excited for this movie.
BOY BACKUP DANCERS! Unbuttoned vests!
OK totally dug that performance. I like the song and the dancing seduced me. [Insert Derek Hough comment here.]
Recap recap recap. Why why why?
Now the dancers will perform back to back and the judges will decide who is best, second best and third best. I'm not sure why. Didn't we already cast our votes?
Kyle and Lacey take the stage first performing a tango. Lacey looks terrified! Loosen up, lady! OK they're performing to Adam Lambert's "If I Had You" which I love. The dance itself is stiff, but do I even care? I thought tonight was supposed to be a celebration. Also, Lacey's costume is a disaster. Couldn't she have just had the skirt attached to the booty shorts? Why do we have to keep getting weird glimpses of flesh? At least she designs cool tube socks.
Bristol and Mark's turn. She "doesn't want to lose." Riveting. She also doesn't want to let her fans down. Bristol's body in general looks good, but this marching bandish costume isn't doing her any favors. The fire in the back of the stage is fun though. I hate to say it, but Bristol looks totally bored when she's dancing. It's like she just attaches herself to Mark and lets him spin her around like a ragdoll. However I do enjoy her side braid.
Jennifer and my BFF Derek, doing the Viennese Waltz—"bookending it," as Hubby Derek says, as this was their first style on the show. Jennifer brings up Patrick Swayze again, which was touching at first, but at this point she should be making this competition about herself, not about Patrick. But that's just me. Maybe I am jealous of her because she's dancing with you know who.
Great song: "These Arms of Mine." Jennifer's body is slammin', not just for a 50-year-old but for anyone! Her leg extension is impressive, her emotion is spot-on and her lyrical fluidity is lovely. I've said it three times and I'll say it again: she's the best dancer in this competition. Even if she has become a bit of a wacko offstage.
Carrie Ann looks pretty and shiny. She's got just the right amount of bling and I appreciate her simple black dress. Work those accessories!
The judges' scores... Lacey and Kyle get a 26. Bristol and Mark get a 25. Womp woooomp. Jennifer and Derek earn a 30.
The dancers have been preparing a cha cha all week but they don't know their song! Now we know: It's "Raise Your Glass" by Pink. This is the Instant Dance round. So. Much. DRAMA.
I don't have any idea what's going on but I LIKE it!
I TAKE THAT BACK. Because now David Hasselhoff is singing in the creepiest fashion ever. The pro ladies join him and they are wearing "Baywatch" bathing suits. Fitting, since he's singing the theme from "Baywatch." Ugh. Go eat a cheeseburger, Hoff. Also, pretty sure he's blatantly lip synching.
Rick Fox and Kurt Warner are doing a sports-ish dance now. They are kind of adorable. And by adorable I mean hot. And by hot I mean DEREK DON'T BE JEALOUS. I'm just kidding, obviously...
This routine is hilarious though. Kurt and Rick are both too cute to actually have a manly face off.
Another group routine: This time it's Margaret Cho and Louis Van Amstel along with Florence Henderson and Corky Ballas. Margaret Cho trying to be sexy is like David Hasselhoff trying to be talented. Kind of ridiculous and unbelievable, but you watch it because you have to...because it's your job.
Florence is dressed as Lola—or a banana? I'm not really sure. Either way, she loves her life.
Brooke asks Bristol how much pressure she's under and her response is "Um, I don't know." Ah, ya gotta love her.
The Situation's turn! Evidently he's the future mayor of somewhere and BFFs with Barack Obama. But he "would trade it all in for that one last dance" with Karina. Ah, fiction. They are dancing to "I'm Too Sexy" and it's fantastic. He's such a character and obviously doesn't mind the parade of ladies roaming the floor and stripping off his clothes. I think his abs are lacking though. I guess because it's the Jersey off season? The routine was short and basically consisted of "Mike" standing in the middle of the floor pointing to himself. It's a wonder he didn't make it to the finals!
Brandy and Maks, doing their "Friends" routine for the billionth time. Fast forward.
Another performance by Christina Aguilera. She's singing..."Beautiful?" Isn't this song like a decade old? Jillian Meyers!!! Yes!!! Doing sign language? OK. More backup people. Doing sign language? Ah, I see. The sign language turns into dancing. It's expressive.
Head spins! Now I like this performance. Tricks are fun.
OK here we go with the finalists. Jennifer Grey gets to wear fringe pants. Lacey is wearing a lace catsuit. Bristol is wearing head-to-toe red fringe that doesn't flatter her. This should be excellent.
It's the Final Battle! Who has what it takes, Tom Bergeron wants to know!
Lacey and Kyle perform first. He starts shimmying and they're immediately looking good. I don't like Lacey's choreography though. She loves the raunchy stuff, and I don't think the "DWTS" audience—ahem, my sweet grandmother, Honey—appreciates that so much.
Jennifer and Derek take over and she's definitely looking more reserved than usual, most likely because of her injury. Those fringe pants work for her, though, adding some extra pizazz to every move she does. She pushes Derek onto the ground at the end, which is downright rude. I will put her in corner. Oh but then they fist bump. Cute.
Bristol and Mark finish it off and I think she's having fun! She gazes right into Mark's eyes and I think she's finally learning how to let loose (on the dance floor, ahem). Mark is out of control, but Bristol is sweet. No, she will never be a professional dancer, but she's come a long way, baby. She has to chill on the pelvic thrusting though. It's awkward.
The Instant Cha Cha is complete. Seventeen more minutes of this and we'll have a new champion!
The contestants get some more scores, and surprisingly Jennifer and Derek DON'T get a perfect score (they settle for a 28).
Time to narrow the field: In third place, it's Bristol and Mark. No need to shoot your televisions, folks. She's out of the competition.
Eeeeee time to crown a champion!!! Combining votes with the judges scores, the new champion of "Dancing with the Stars" is...
JENNIFER GREY, and my partner Derek Hough!
Definitely well deserved. Between his choreography and her technical execution, they were the top couple all throughout the season. Bravo and congratulations to all of the wonderful pairs! Season 11 has been...interesting.
Until Season 12... Signing off!
What do you think of the Season 11 results? Fair? Unfair? Do you want to be a guest at my wedding with Derek? The mirrorball trophy will be there, of course.
Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.
Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
There's a story Kate Walker, director of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, loves to tell about Emma Sutherland, who just graduated from the program. "We were watching the students run a really long, challenging piece," Walker recalls. "Several kids couldn't quite make it through. But Emma did make it all the way to the end, which is when she walked up to us faculty and very politely asked, 'May I please go throw up?' "