We began the Dancing with the Stars evening with a rehearsal package that showed each of the judges paying a visit to the final three. Usually Len delivers the master class but this time Carrie Ann and Bruno got in on the act. I've always wondered if these little visits are actually helpful or are they just for show? Did Carrie Ann really spend an hour helping Melissa hone her aggression or was it all just fluff for the camera? Either way, all three couples did a very nice job with both the blended segments and the solos when it came to the Paso Doble smackdown.
Gilles and Cheryl came out on top, as expected, but they also didn't have the handicap of annoying costumes to deal with. Melissa was dressed in Mel B's Matrix coat with barely a bikini underneath. It was a costume that suited the sassy Spice Girl but Melissa looked like she wanted to die of embarrassment. Watch back the opening introductions and note how she keeps her hand strategically placed over her lower regions. Shawn had the opposite problem of working with a dress that had too much fabric. Worst of all was the choice of music - it really hurt their flow.
Next it was time for the infamous freestyle round and overall, I was disappointed as were the judges.
Shawn and Mark started things off with a hip-hoppy dance crew number that left me confused. They appeared on stage wearing tracksuits and blinged out facemasks. The dance itself was a mix of flips and tricks even though Shawn made it clear in the package that she didn't want to make it gymnastic. Could have fooled me. They scored a 58 out of 60 which is about right.
Melissa and Tony also went with a lift and trick filled routine that didn't suit their talents at all. Melissa looked tentative as she transitioned from one trick to the other and she looked completely out of her element. I don't know why they didn't go with a more elegant number. They could have won the trophy right then and there if they'd done something totally different from the rest of the pack. They received a dismal 56.
Gilles and Cheryl also chose to go with performance over pretty and I was entertained but disappointed. The Flashdance inspired number was, like the others, full of tricks and fun but it didn't show off any of Gilles' dancing strengths. They tied with Shawn and Mark with a score of 58 -- not at all what I expected.
Tonight, the stars will have one more chance to impress the judges and I hope they all come out with something a bit more elegant and engaging. We'll also find out who won the pros contest and Lady Gaga will perform.
It all happens tonight on the big two-hour season finale of Dancing with the Stars.
Photos: ABC/Kelsey McNeal
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