Dancing With the Stars recap: Blood, Sparklebarf and Tears

Four couples serve up 'supersize freestyles' in the emotional season 16 finals; Val tries not to bleed out
Ep. 18 | Aired May 20, 2013

MY BLOODY VAL-ENTINE Zendaya's wounded partner attempts to hide his facial battle scar after the cha cha relay.

ABC

Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas: 28/30 + 3/5 cha cha relay + 30/30 freestyle = 61/65 Bruno's voice is so much lower when he's not yelling! I always forget that. The poetic judge dressed down in a tank top to fit in at the Pajama Zone (the DWTS rehearsal complex) and waxed philosophical about the importance of elasticity and sharpness in the samba. "Come back and tszuj it! Don't anti-cee-pate it!" I have to say, he was making a lot of sense. I especially liked when he trilled "It's hard..." (re: a samba roll) while sharing a knowing glance with Mark.

I think it's clear Aly is not a better dancer than Kellie or Zendaya, but I love that she and Mark are having such a great time. Other partners of his have shied away in embarrassment at all his flash and fish-faced absurdity, but Aly has remarkably just gone with it. She's really grown fond of that "vertical breaststroke" down-and-dirty move that she apparently now insists on putting into routines on her own. That's ballroom commitment right there.

Anyone who's able to look at Mark's ridiculous tail (what exactly did he have to kill to make that belt?) and crotch fringe (DON'T EVER SAY CROTCH FRINGE AGAIN) without guffawing deserves a 10 -- at least from Bruno -- in my book. And to go along with those hideous spangly nude-colored boyshorts as part of her own costume? Aly, hips don't lie and neither did those underclothes. It looked like your bare butt was shimmering and that is all.

"You scrumptious little tease, you!" cried Bruno, while Carrie Ann called Aly "sort of the combination of everyone else in the finale," meaning Jacoby's swagger, Kellie's beautiful lines, and Zendaya's musicality and sensuality. I'm not sure if that's accurate, but it makes one hell of a soundbite that'll be repeated during tonight's finale.

The only thing more outlandish than Aly and Mark's "futuristic pole dancers" supersize freestyle was the way Mark pretended he was nervous about the apparatus. The guy INSISTED ON POLE DANCING because it's a vertical expression of the uneven parallel bars (a.k.a. it's one of his hobbies) and then CRUMBLED UNDER THE PRESSURE upon seeing the very poles he himself had designed. "No. I can't imagine. I hate heights," he choked out. Buddy, who are you kidding here? You did this to yourself!

Throughout Mark's internal exploration of his life choices -- To pole dance or not to pole dance? That is the question. -- Aly just stood there not buyin' it at all, like "Uhhh. Let's just not do it, then." I love that she never indulged him, not once.

After Mark had reiterated the peril they were in to hear himself say it Aly ("If you miss, you're f---ed. You understand?" Yes! She gets it!) and slipped on a single glove and shiny black capri pants, the pair was ready to sex it up. But as a bonus challenge, the poles were moving. They seemed to have only a vague relationship with the ground and/or gravity! Had Mark sadomasochistically insisted the poles be really wiggly? The whole production was such a freak show that I had to love it. I hope you understand.

"Back in the day, I worked on a pole. That is not easy to do," said Carrie Ann. Truth bomb!

NEXT: Jacoby wonders why he can't just relax and eat the peanut

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