Dancing With the Stars recap: Shackled In My Embrace

The top three couples are revealed as Meryl and Maks dominate part one of the finale
Ep. 10 | Aired May 19, 2014

Time for the freestyles!

James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: 29/30 At this point, each celebrity got a little video montage about their life. Long story short, James' competitive drive was always there, but he really went after his dreams after his brother nearly died in a motorcycle accident. Now? He's flipping off walls.

I really enjoyed this routine, but not on an entirely serious note. James with his guy liner in that hood? Don't tell me you didn't chuckle. Look, nobody loves a good dance battle as much as me, but I didn't get as much actual dance out of this as I would've liked, though he did have some impressive stunts. And the whole martial arts element with the staff thing? Cool, but as I wrote it in my notes, I "never believe his face." You don't scare me, James. And this time, I wanted you to.

But I will give him bonus points for rocking the abs!

Len liked the energy of the routine but stopped himself before saying something negative. Bruno called James the new post-apocalyptic action hero -- a cross between Mad Max and The Hunger Games -- while Carrie Ann agreed that they'd birthed a new action star. Wait, was that the point of this show? I'm confused.

Upstairs, Erin refused to stop calling that staff thing a "sword" -- when clearly "staff thing" is the technical term -- and then she used the phrase, "You busted it." Erin, I can't help but love you tonight.

[Insert Charlie spotting! God, I miss that hair and all its bounce to the ounce.]

Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 30/30 In her montage, we met baby Meryl -- you know you want one, Maks (but not in the creepy way that just sounded)! We learned about Meryl's dyslexia, her work ethic, and the fact that her friends totes support her love with the "sexy Russian." Friends don't let friends leave Maks, right guys?

OK, I can't even with this routine. The way she slid down him, and the way he touched her, all  combined with the lyrics of the song? This was perfect. And it was only made more perfect by the ending pose that resulted in the most sexually tense moment in TV history. Meryl ALMOST went for the kiss. I mean, it was SO CLOSE. Damn whoever turned the lights back up! Also, part of me blames Brandy. Why? I don't know, but she was in the crowd and she was crying, so I blame her!

Through tears, Carrie Ann told them she thought they should get married and applauded their soulful expression of what true dance is about. She called the routine a "stunning example of divinity in motion." Bruno then said it was as "close as it gets to a flawless work of art." Then, as Len put it, "There's good, there's great, and there's Meryl."

And thank you, Erin, for calling them out on the fact that we all wanted them to kiss. Also, important note: Len wanted to give them an 11, and Bruno wanted to give them either an 11 or a 101. My money's on 101.

NEXT: The couple going home is ...

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