Welcome to the Dancing with the Stars finale, where the two-part season-ender is half over, and we have so many questions: Who will win? Will anyone dance to “Titanium”? How much boob tape will be used? Will Bruno Tonioli cry? Will Jacoby Jones leap over someone’s head? The only way these questions can be answered is by watching, so let’s jump right into it.
To name a winner, the remaining four couples – Super Bowl champion Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff, American Idol alum Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas and Disney star Zendaya Coleman and Val Chmerkovskiy – competed in three rounds of The Dance. The judges scored, America voted, and the votes were tallied. The leaderboard rankings run from Zendaya Coleman’s 65 points to Jacoby Jones’ 56 points, but it’s anyone’s game. Tonight, the top three couples will dance the fabled and feared Insta-Dances with 30 more points on the line. At the end of the night, someone will be named the winner and get lifelong bragging rights, endless dance invitations and a Mirrorball Trophy that Carrie-Ann Inaba swears is “very cheap” and probably does not match any decor.
Here’s what happened on Dancing with the Stars:
Best Reunion: To kick off the evening’s festivities, the pros and all of the season 16 contestants rushed the stage to Pitbull’s “Don’t Stop the Party.” It’s like they threw a party and everyone came. There was Dorothy Hamill and DL Hughley (showing off his hip action) and Winona Judd and Tony Dovolani (on their police Segways) and even Andy Dick (front and center, trying really really hard not to forget his steps).
Encore Performance: America took to Twitter last night to vote and chose to see a repeat of Kellie Pickler’s and Derek Hough’s emotional freestyle dance. It’s a beautiful and heart-wrenching routine, but it is kind of a downer from the party vibe they had going on in the ballroom. Jacoby’s Mardi Gras street party would have made a lot more sense in this spot.
The Big Surprise: Instead of whittling the contestants down to three during the semi-finals, the producers opted to have a four-person final round this year. However, someone had to come in fourth, so the couple with the lowest combined score of judges points and Twitter votes got kicked off the show twenty minutes into the second half of the finals. So who went home without a medal? Someone who already had a lot of them: Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Aly Raisman. Raise your hand if you thought it was going to be Jacoby? His mama wouldn’t stand for it, and neither would the Ravens fans.
What Would Susan B. Anthony Do: To purportedly honor the women who made it to the finals, the show staged an all-women USO-worthy Beyoncé-inspired routine with bombastic patriotic appeal and light crotch-grabbing.
Most DWTS Moment: When Winona Judd got kicked off the show, she shrugged that she wasn’t a dancer and wanted to get back to working on her album. To show what she had been up to while everyone else was practicing their quick step, she performed a cover of Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is,” while Tony danced around her on a fog-filled stage. Is it even necessary to mention that she was backlit and wearing a full length velvet dress? Because, of course, she was. Oh, Dancing with the Stars, never stop.
Dancing Is The Best Revenge: If you forgot that Real Housewife Lisa Vanderpump was on the show, you are not alone. But Lisa left her mark on our memory when she wooed Len Goodman out from behind the judges’ table for a quick spin around the dance floor. Len may be an old grouch, but he can kick up his heels when he wants.
Best Couples Skate: Olympic ice skating legend Dorothy Hamill had to drop out of the competition for health reasons, but she returned for one last waltz. Joining her on the dance floor was Kristi Yamaguchi, ice-skating icon and Dancing with the Stars alum.
(MORE: Dancing with the Stars Watch: The Final Four Perform)
Real Fan Favorite: Comedian Andy Dick gave fans a repeat performance of his exuberant Mad Hatter’s tea party-themed dance to Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface.” It was such a fun performance that Tom Bergeron rhetorically asked, “Could Andy win in an upset? No of course not. Are you crazy?” We can dream, Tom.
Best Answer: While Jacoby and Karina Smirnoff were practicing for their Insta-Dance, Brooke Burke Charvat interrupted, to ask Jacoby whether he was surprised that he was in the Top Three, despite trailing Aly on the leaderboard. Jacoby just looked at her and drawled, “I’ve had to work hard all my life.”
Worst Repeat Performance: Never doubt that Scooter Braun is an amazing manager. Somehow, he managed to convince Dancing with the Stars producers to book his client Korean-pop sensation Psy for their finale, despite the fact that he performed the same song, “Gentleman” and dance routine on American Idol‘s finale just last week. The only change-up? Former DWTS contestants boxer Victor Ortiz and Bachelor Sean Lowe joined Psy’s dance troupe.
Biggest Trooper: Val Chmerkovskiy broke the news that he got 14 stitches on his eye. Do you get Congressional Medals of Honor for samba-ing after getting injured by a sequin-covered elbow to the face?
Ain’t No Party Like A Pitbull Party: Pitbull, who also performed on the American Idol finale last week, sang his new song, “Hands Up,” because there’s no crying in baseball and there’s no such thing as too much Pitbull.
Insta-Dance 1: Jacoby and Karina performed a fast-paced salsa with wild lifts, frenetic footwork and Jacoby’s mom hollering along out in the audience. The judges loved the routine and Len called Jacoby a “breath of fresh air.” They earned a perfect score of 30.
Best Recovery: During their dance, it looked like Jacoby was once again going to jump over Karina. A camera got in his way and sort of knocked Karina over, but he caught her head before it hit the floor. Those are the quick reflexes of a Super Bowl champ in action.
Insta-Dance 2: Kellie and Derek were tasked with learning a jive. Their fiery routine earned Bruno’s highest compliment, “You remind me of Julianne Hough!” Kellie looked genuinely touched. They also earned a perfect 30/30.
Insta-Dance 3: Zendaya and Val got a jive set to “Rockin’ Robin.” Carrie-Ann told them that they made every single dance special. Bruno said that she has “pitch-perfect performance instincts” and then he drifted into reciting lyrics from “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” because he is basically the dormouse who escaped from Andy Dick’s Mad Hatter dance routine. They also got a 30/30.
Mo’ Idol, Mo’ Pitbull: While the votes were tallied – and to let DWTS earn the American Idol Triple Crown – last season’s Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez showed up to perform yet another Pitbull song — this time, “Feel This Moment.”
Third Place: Jacoby and Karina. His mother’s going to have words with you, America.
And The Winner Is…: Kellie Pickler and her partner Derek Hough! Congratulations, Kellie. In retrospect, maybe all those Idol crossovers were actually clues to the winner. Now that Kellie has been on Idol and Dancing with the Stars, can’t wait to see what she does on Project Runway and American Pickers.