Welcome to the finale of Dancing with the Stars: All Stars Edition: Special Victims Unit: Los Angeles. After nine long weeks of paso dobles, rumbas, sambas and tangos, both Argentine and otherwise, we are finally ready to crown a victor. But on Dancing with the Stars, winners don’t go home with some puny, pawnable tiara or even a clunky gold medal (sorry Shawn Johnson!). Instead they get to go home with the Feng Shui challenged Mirrorball Trophy sure to match any interior and make your mantle look oh so much larger when reflected in its blinged out surface. So who will take home the illustrious covetable shiny trophy? While the remaining finalists — Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, General Hospital star Kelly Monaco and reality show denizen Melissa Rycroft — performed two dances last night, they still have a final dance to complete their scores before they can get their hands on that trophy.
So which star shined the brightest? Let’s find out:
Obligatory Trip Down Memory Lane: Did you even remember that Joey Fatone was on this season of DWTS? Or that Drew Lachey existed? And can you even bother to muster up an emotion about Bristol Palin’s return to the dance floor? I couldn’t. Yet there they all were along with inaugural castoff Pamela Anderson and recent evacuee Apolo Anton Ohno. They were all wearing glitter and kicking up their heels during a Lacey Schwimmer-choreographed medley to “I’m Back.”
Worst Repeat Performance: Dance Center with Jerry Rice, Kenny Mayne and Len Goodman is one of those things that can’t be unseen or unheard or un-anything else. While it’s clear that Jerry and Kenny are having a blast, when the jokes are WWII-era digs about Gilles’ being French, it may be time to bid the bit farewell.
Best Repeat Performance: Of course the judges wanted to see a repeat performance of Shawn and Derek’s freestyle dance featuring the Fab Five, a.k.a. Shawn’s Olympic teammates. McKayla Maroney is almost amused.
(MORE: Dancing with the Stars Watch: The Grand Finale)
The Surest Sign of Desperate Producers: Once again the producers have been tasked with filling two hours of prime time with about ten minutes of content, so we get the improbably named Instant Dances: Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy got a “cat & mouse jive,” Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani picked a “life is a highway samba,” and Shawn and Derek got the “respect cha cha.” While the finalists learn those completely reasonable sounding routines, I’ll take another sip of my “how-soon-is-now wine” and hope that someone pries the Mad Libs out of the producers hands before next season.
Somebody Start a Petition: Free Tristan MacManus! America didn’t suffer a great loss when Pamela Anderson was removed from the premises after the first week of DWTS, but since her partner was Tristan MacManus, in reality, our long national nightmare was just getting started. This show needs more Tristan! Someone start a petition or at the very least a hashtag #FreeTristanMacManus.
Best Prop: Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya pulled out all the stops for their repeat cha cha to “Crazy in Love,” including violating several child labor laws (JK only child abuse laws were violated) by forcing his daughter Isabella to dance with them. To teach dear old dad a lesson, Isabella upstaged the star and the pro and demanded a raise in her allowance to boot.
Best Reason to Watch in Slo Mo: The return of Gilles Marini in nothing but a tiny towel in the repeat performance of the group dance to “Gangnam Style.”
Seeing Double: Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson performed to Huey Lewis’ “Back in Time,” which in some ways is the weirdest song choice ever. To distract us from Huey Lewis, they brought on mini-me versions who were supposed to be their younger selves to come out and dance. I wish I could go back in time and remind myself to become a physicist instead of a writer.
School Spirit: The team performance to “Call Me Maybe” was still just as surprisingly charming as it was the first time you saw Apolo Anton Ohno shove Sabrina Bryan in a locker.
More Time Filling: Gilles Marini was shirtless for another routine; Kirstie Alley wore brown sequins; Emmett Smith got his “Chain of Fools” on; and Apolo Anton Ohno slow-danced one last time with Karina Smirnoff. Then Dance Center came back to point out that Val has a very small clothing budget.
Give Brooke a Pulitzer: After Kelly and Val complete their final dance, which was more jive than cat and mouse, Brooke Burke-Charvet was determined to get answers about their romance vs. showmance. While Brooke didn’t fare any better than when she asked the same question last night, you have to admire her persistence. Instead of answering, Kelly mumbles something about how everyone should have friendships like this and Val says it’s a relationship that he cherishes. So, yeah, we got nothing. They got a 28.5 for dancing and a 0 for answers.
Best Song Choice: Melissa and Tony had to dance a samba to the song “Life is a Highway,” which is entirely the wrong tempo for a samba, but who cares, because Tom Cochrane needs royalties—being an Honorary Colonel in the Royal Canadian Air Force just doesn’t pay the bills the way it should. Melissa and Tony’s last dance earned them a 28.5.
Most Touching Moment: Derek Hough actually teared up while talking about his time dancing with Shawn Johnson. Then he and his “little spark” scored a rousing round of applause and a perfect 30 for their “respect cha cha.”
Third Place: Kelly Monaco was the first Dancing with the Stars champion, but she won’t be able to take home the trophy again. Apparently, Kelly and Val’s “chemistry” didn’t click with the audience.
The Results: Melissa Rycroft has one more notch in her reality show belt. Now she gets to try to toddler-proof her Mirrorball Trophy. As the only contestant who hadn’t won a Mirrorball Trophy, it wasn’t entirely unexpected, even though Shawn and Derek were more engaging dancers. The real gem though was watching longtime also-ran Tony Dovolani finally win the competition he takes part in every day.
See you next season!