The Tap-Dance Kid
Alfonso finally shows off his tap skills in his freewheeling freestyle, and one final couple is eliminated to give us our final three.
Finally, it's the finals, with the proper four couples making it to the end. After lots of glitz and flash and professional dancing (including the welcome return of Cheryl!), Tom explains that each team will be doing two dances tonight: a judges' choice and a freestyle. One team will be eliminated tonight, and the other three will go on to dance again tomorrow night, when a winner will be crowned. Let's rank the routines, shall we?
9. Bethany Mota and Derek: Jive
Bethany and Derek have to redo their first-week dance, which seems helpful, since Bethany has presumably improved a lot since then. Bethany has a lot more confidence in this routine than she did in Week 1, but they start the dance with a fake bedroom set on the dance floor, and the set doesn't move away in time. It throws their opening off. Bethany then semi-forgets a move in the middle. I'm totally distracted by a spare shoelace or something that's on the floor right under where they are dancing. I keep worrying that someone is going to slip on it and get hurt. No one does. But the dancing was good! Not perfect, but good. I hope the production difficulties don't mean that they lose a few points. Score: 36/40.
8. Sadie Robertson and Mark: Samba
Len wants to see their samba, because he missed it the first time since he was out of town. We get to see Len dancing a little bit in rehearsals, and I wish we could see more of it. I remember liking this routine the first time around, but there's something really off about it tonight. Sadie seems too loosey-goosey and her form and technique are right out the window. Bruno is the only one who calls her out on that; the other judges all think she was awesome. Score: 38/40.
7. Bethany Mota and Derek: Freestyle
Their moves are very Janet Jackson "Rhythm Nation," and I'm not complaining. They do two lifts at the end that seem like they should send Bethany crashing headfirst into the floor, but they don't. Very dramatic. I actually said out loud, "Wow." I don't know if Bethany is the best dancer left, but she definitely surprised me the most. Score: 40/40.
6. Janel Parrish and Val: Samba
Julianne chose this dance for them to redo, and she wanted to see more connection between them. And then Janel got injured during the tech rehearsal and she's freaking out a little bit. You can't tell that Janel is injured during their routine. I totally see what Julianne was talking about with their lack of connection, though. It feels like every time Janel looks into Val's eyes, she quickly looks away to prepare for her next move. There is way more actual samba in this dance than Sadie and Mark's, though. Bruno notes a few tiny mistakes, but the other judges loved the passion and attack that Janel brought. Score: 37/40.
5. Sadie Robertson and Mark: Freestyle
My kids would love this routine because it's Super Mario-themed. I try to think about that so I don't have to listen to Mark going on about how he's the show's risk-taker. Ooh, you're so bad, Mark Ballas. Gag me. This routine will be a YouTube sensation, but I don't like it, mostly because I feel like Mark had a cute idea and he was going to do it no matter what. It didn't show off Sadie's particular skill set. I thought she looked awkward. To give credit where credit is due, there were a lot of moves in there and she didn't miss a beat. I just would have rather seen her do something with more grace. Score: 40/40.
4. Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney: Jive
Carrie Ann goes into rehearsals and tries to offer Alfonso some stretches and massages to help with his many injuries. Alfonso doesn't seem too upset to have Carrie Ann massaging his back. During the routine, Alfonso is so fast and so sharp; you would never know that he's injured in any way. His biggest problem is that I don't know how much he's improved since Week 1, because he started out so strong. And the consensus is that viewers usually want to see an improvement arc, so he may not get the votes he needs to win. The judges are delighted. Score: 40/40.
3. Janel Parrish and Val: Freestyle
They do a lovely contemporary routine to a slowed-down version of "500 Miles." I loved it. I have been a Janel fan all season and I still don't think she gets her due. There were some amazing lifts in there, and so much emotion expressed. I don't think Janel is going to win, mostly for fanbase reasons, but she's my favorite. Score: 40/40.
2. Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney: Freestyle
Alfonso decides to try to incorporate bits of all of his routines this season, which seems like a terrible idea and makes me very nervous. Luckily, he and Witney figure out how to combine ragtime and hip-hop in a way that makes sense. I loved it. And there was an extended tap break in the middle! As the winner of the 5th-grade Talent Show due to my devastating tap routine to "Tell Her About It" by Dr. William Joel, I always appreciate a good tap break. The judges love it; Len pretty much says that Alfonso should win. He certainly saved the best for last. Score: 40/40.
1. Annie Performance with Quvenzhané Wallis
My sons are so not interested in seeing this movie. I need to rent some other children so I have an excuse. I don't care if it's terrible; I grew up on this soundtrack.
I wish they could just send all four through to the finals. These four are really equal; while I have my favorites, it's difficult for me to say that any one couple is worse than the others. I guess that means it will come down to the fanbase. Anyway, it's Bethany and Derek going home. It's kind of more shocking that it's Derek than that it's Bethany, but there you are.