Going into tonight’s finale of Dancing with the Stars, either by chance or design, it is anyone’s game. To make it to the finish line the finalists — Superbowl champion Donald Driver with his partner Peta Murgatroyd, telenovela star William Levy and Cheryl Burke, and classical singer Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas — will have to perform a “judges’ choice” routine as well as everyone’s favorite, the freestyle. The scores are neck-and-neck, the tension is high and the ballroom is alive with the sound of music, sequins and, of course, Bruno trilling about sex on sticks. Yep, it’s the final performances all right.
Here’s how the finalists made their pleas for the title:
Most Likely to Cause a Lawsuit: Tonight each finalist will have to survive a mentoring session by one of the judges who will assign them a dance to do-over. When William hears that one of the judges will be visiting, he rolls his eyes and mutters, “Let me guess: Bruno.” His English is really improving! Bruno then hilariously sexually harasses him under the guise of helping him while William puts up with it in order to win. But as Bruno notes, “The guy has talent, but the other two are just as good.”
Most Literal Moment: At the end of their cha-cha to “Dirty Little Freaks” (only on Dancing with the Stars, folks!), William raises a martini glass just as the song commands. Don’t do everything the song says, kids, else you’ll end up jumping every time Van Halen says to, and we can’t have that now can we? Despite the literal interpretation of the lyrics, the judges love the routine. Len declares it, “Loud and proud and that’s just his shirt.” While Carrie Ann says, “That’s as good as I’ve ever seen in 14 seasons of cha-cha-chas.” They score a perfect 30.
Magic Words: Apparently if you want a “ten from Len” you must say, “ten from Len” like a magical incantation over and over and over again. Or so it seems from Katherine and Mark as they rehearse their paso dobles. It works, too, because they also get a perfect 30. I guess having Len telling you exactly what to do could help, too.
Best Advice: During their mentoring session, Carrie Ann tells Donald to make his movements “bigger,” which apparently means look like a cat stalking a rogue jellybean while making bedroom eyes. Donald masters the look more easily than you would expect. I guess football really does prepare you for real life.
Worst Thing For Your Wife to See: Donald and Peta’s racy Argentine tango. Peta is wearing what Tom Bergeron describes as ” most of a whole dress,” which is generous. While the routine starts innocuously enough with Donald mysteriously staring at a piece of paper in the middle of the dance floor, it ends with Peta’s bare legs wrapped around Donald’s neck. That’s when the camera cuts to Donald’s wife smiling stiffly and clapping politely. Donald is so sleeping on the couch tonight.
Most Disappointing Moment: Once again Len fails to give Donald a ten. Len thought the routine was “a tad careful.” Tom says what we’re all thinking, “He’s really starting to annoy me.” Donald, you forgot the magic words! He still got a 29, making it a very tight finale or, you know, a popularity contest. I bet Donald will be firing up the Green Bay Packer booster phone tree tonight. Also, maybe Peta should consider wearing less clothing? Perhaps just some black bars covering her lady bits.
Worst Advice: For the first freestyle dance of the evening, William and Cheryl mix up tango and salsa and throw in a bunch of lifts. But Len doesn’t like it. He’s bored with the whole “shake your butt and get the women screaming.” Len is going to get a stern talking-to from the producers for that. Don’t discourage the ratings, Len!
No Crying Babies: The meaner and louder Len gets, the more frequently the camera cuts to William’s family as if they are expecting William’s adorable son to burst into tears at mean old Len yelling at his daddy. When that fails to happen, they cut back to Carrie Ann who is yelling at Len about the fact that this is a freestyle and they can do whatever they want. They end with a 29 and no tears from the judges or the children.
The Biggest Cheat: To start out their freestyle routine, Katherine Jenkins totally cheats by hopping on the microphone and singing a few verses before dancing a ’20s-inspired routine with Mark Ballas. If Katherine can sing, William can shake what his momma gave him. I mean, fair’s fair.
A Girl Can Dream: At the end of the dance, Len begged us not to wake him from the dream that was that freestyle dance. Carrie Ann called it “the dance of champions,” which sounds like something out of Game of Thrones. Maybe Katherine will kill King Joffrey with it! They get a perfect 30, which is surely enough to topple a puny king.
Football Fever: Since Donald is a pro football player and Peta has no qualms about being nearly naked in public, it was only a matter of time until she came out dressed as a Green Bay Packer cheerleader. She wears the Gold and Green and looks like a Packer cheesehead through and through as they mix up some down ‘n’ dirty moves with gymnastic lifts and Texas style.
At Long Last: At the end of Donald’s dance, Carrie Ann was standing on the table whooping. The camera flashes to audience members, who are wearing a bunch of cheese hats because, you know, Wisconsin. Once Tom gets the crowd settled down, Carrie Ann announces that it was her favorite dance of her favorite finale ever. Len yells, “Chances win dances!” and Donald dashes off to embroider that on a pillow. That’s right, Donald finally gets a ten from Len.
The Spread: The leaderboard is topped by Katherine and Mark with a perfect 60, followed by William and Cheryl and Donald and Peta with 59s. While William has the Latin ladies’ votes, Donald has a Superbowl ring—which could mobilize the male vote—while Katherine is sweet enough to encourage the nice old ladies to pick up their phones and dial.
So who takes it? Who knows! Come back tomorrow to see whether your favorite D-list celebrity is going to be matching a Mirrorball Trophy to their wallpaper.