Welcome to the Fab Finals or the Fierce Finals, depending on which adjective you regularly use to describe Shawn Johnson's Olympic gymnastics homies. (For most people, at this point, it's just "McKayla Maroney," who was decidedly not impressed with Derek's ribbon-twirling capabilities.)
This was a special performance finale for me because I got to bring my parents and sister -- DANCMSTR Dee, Bolero Bill, and Mirrorball Meggers -- with me to the ballroom for the first time to watch the SUPER-SIZED freestyles and "favorite dances" liiiiiiiiiive! We sat in "the zone" (the area directly across from the stage) in the upper left hand corner, so just under the staircase to Brookebot Mountain. Bolero Bill in particular was on a real roll last night -- after shaking Emmitt Smith's hand pre-show and receiving a special hello from GEMMSTR Tom Bergeron during a commercial break, Bolero Bill's MVP moment had to be when Melissa and Tony were bounding up to the celebriquarium following their Mardi Gras samba. My dad boomed out (he's a big guy) "THIS IS YOUR YEAR, TONY!" right as they passed, and Mr. Dovolani -- grinning his face off as always -- was super-appreciative of all the crowd support and beamed back, "Thank you guys!"
I just about melted into a pile of confetti (or a huge graphic of it, I guess) right on the spot. This was my dad! Someone who would never have left a reality show about ballroom dancing on his TV for more than a few seconds, had I not started recapping it 700 years ago in season 2, was now encouraging one of Our Pros -- from two feet away! -- on how he really thinks this could be Tony's season?! Sorry if this is too #sparklebarf for everyone. I had a moment, that's all. We had a time.
Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inahhhhh-ber!
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 30/30 samba + 30/30 freestyle = 60 out of possible 60 I love how Carrie Ann waited until week 10 to compliment Melissa on her crazy-sexy-cool abs. (Or was she repeating herself? I know I have re: this topic!) Tony and Melissa -- sorry, he's still the number-one draw here -- wisely chose an upbeat party dance to complement their slowwwww freestyle later in the show. Bruno commented on Melissa's increased confidence and Len called her a "carnival queen." Isn't that more Bruno's area? One perk of watching this routine on TV compared to watching it liiiiiiiive is that I had no concept of the sheer beauty of Melissa's rainbow-sparkles dog collar. I also noticed from behind that her tramp stamp (sorry) was nowhere near as bedazzled as usual. Fortunately it didn't seem to affect her hip action; crisis averted.
The pair had a lot to prove in the wake of season 8's tepid hip hop freestyle -- "it bombed," said Melissa -- and Tony decided he needed to take more of a risk this time. Funny, because to me two SparkleTeeth attempting any sort of hip hop routine on national television classifies as "high risk," whereas this contemporary freestyle seemed like a natural extension ("beautiful lines!!!!" --Bruno, every second of every day) of Melissa's strengths as a dancer. Some of their moves were incredible, don't get me wrong. That lift where she was basically a jewelry box ballerina but seven feet in the air was freaking incredible, as was their opening pose as he supported her in a crazy contortion. They actually got into position for that one at least 30 seconds before the rehearsal package ended, so my whole family says Tony deserves the COVETED MIRRORBALL TROPHY just for his super-human strength on that. The Cirque du Soleil cube-stretchers were a cool touch, but maybe a bit too distracting, and I'm not sure the freestyle was exciting enough. Then again, Bruno called it "a gem" so my goodwill towards this whole segment in general was through the roof/otherplanetary atmosphere.
NEXT: Val's had the time of his life, and he owes it all to boobs