Dancing With the Stars recap: Freestyle Credit Report

Season 17 finals: Jack, Amber, Bill, and Corbin dance for your votes; one couple's eliminated before Tuesday's jewel-studded finale
Ep. 11 | Aired Nov 25, 2013

WINK 180 Jack and Cheryl redeemed themselves in a crowded, classy freestyle after their sloppy first-round jive.


Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff: 27/30 quickstep + 5 samba relay + 30/30 freestyle = 62 total "This guy is too good of a dancer to get 8s and 9s," said Len on his way to help Corbin remedy that tragically low-scored quickstep of his. I wonder which of Len's offhand comments would have stung Bill Engvall more -- that 8s and 9s one, or Len's mild exasperation towards Corbin as he explained, "You know, it's just a step!" Oh, Len. If only it were that easy.

For Corbin it usually is easy -- but tonight's quickstep redo didn't earn him the perfect 30 we probably all anticipated. Any improvement in his balance between stillness and attack (Len suggested he pretend he was "fallllllllllling... off a mountain!") was overshadowed by some out of sync footwork (according to Bruno), an uncharacteristically straight left arm ("Booooooooo," went the crowd -- "just standard straight-arm booing, that's all," Tom reassured Len), and a few "yanking moments" (according to Carrie Ann). Eh, he still got three 9s.

"Why didn't they show Len's DANCMSTR license plate on his limo?" wondered EW.com reader Colleen.

Oh, I don't know, maybe because…….


IT'S A HIDDEN GEM IN MY APARTMENT NOW. The Dancing With the Stars showrunner, a.k.a. "Lord Mirrorballus" or "Conrad Green," surprised me with it when we chatted last week!

Freestyle time. I think if I'd just seen Corbin and Karina's dance without all the dramatic buildup, I'd have liked it more. I couldn't believe Sasha, Gleb, Henry, and Tony had all swept in, only to… swing Karina around and around so Corbin could dive over her from a trampoline. I mean, a very strong feather could have swung Karina around and around all on its own. One feather! These were four men. As long as they were involved, I wanted to see more from them. Maybe they were the "helicopter" that had lowered Corbin and Karina to the floor! Or something.

Karina didn't flip out about and/or over-think this choreography like she did last year with Jacoby, so the routine was a win for her, I thought. She managed to get some ballroom teases in there along with all the flashy Michael Jackson moves. As for Corbin -- well, we already knew that he desperately wants to dance like Michael Jackson. (He said as much to Tom, post-dance, before Karina finally cut into his self-gushing with a quick "And thanks to all of you!") A more out-of-his-element setting could have elevated Corbin's game here. We didn't see anything new from him, just the same high-level technical merit and confidence. It looked very cool. I just wasn't swept away.

I noticed that both Corbin and Jack seemed to do so much more actual dancing than Amber in their freestyles, whereas Amber's was more about her personality, ability to gyrate, and "Pow!" faces. Don't get me wrong -- those are her strengths. She's awesome at those. But if we're going for that sweet "ballroom journey, plus fun" combo platter here, then Jack's was the best, and Corbin's was fine.

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Gooey mats? Or did these two finally generate some chemistry?

NEXT: Jack Attack

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