Welcome to the finale of Dancing with the Stars. Tonight, the most popular and/or least awful dancing D-list star will be sent home with a giant-disco-ball-on-a-stick to call their own. Osbourne scion Jack Osbourne, High School Musical actor Corbin Bleu, Glee star Amber Riley and Blue Collar Comedy comedian Bill Engvall are all in the running to be the person who gets to call up their interior decorator and demand to see plans for a bigger mantel, stat, because they have a hard-earned Mirrorball Trophy to show off.
To determine the victor, the contestants have to dance a Judge’s Choice number, a Samba dance relay and a freestyle routine. One star will be eliminated at the end of the show, before a winner is chosen …tomorrow. That’s right, the show is returning to its two-night format for the finale.
Here’s what happened on part one of the finale of Dancing with the Stars:
Most Accurate Opening: To kick off the show, some literal-thinking producer put together a montage of the finalists waking up and set it to Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” naturally.
Best Reminder: Do you ever find yourself at a basketball game or cocktail party, struggling to remember who won last season’s Dancing with the Stars? Kelli Pickler stopped by the ballroom to remind us all that in fact she is the reigning champion. TMYK.
Good Effort: Judge Len Goodman wanted to give Bill Engvall and Emma Slater some pointers on their Viennese Waltz, so he stopped by the rehearsal room and many pointers were exchanged and many manly hugs were had. During rehearsal, Bill repeatedly referred to Emma as like a daughter just to make it moderately less creepy that he is dancing to Billy Joel’s “She’s Always A Woman To Me” with a woman half his age while his wife watches.
Most Backhanded Compliments: Len told Bill, “You’re Cinderella, you’ve got to come to the ball.” Bruno Tonioli added, “We can’t all be Rolexes, we need a Casio sometime.” While Carrie Ann Inaba pig-piled on, “I never thought I would see you here, but the people have spoken.” He earned 24/30.
Best Reason To Sweat The Small Stuff: Corbin Bleu knows how to dance, especially compared to Bill Engvall, but the judges are still determined to find fault. To wit, Len pointed out that Corbin’s “left arm got to be a bit straight” and Carrie Ann bemoaned the fact that she “didn’t see any improvement” in the routine. He still got 27/30
Jiviest Jive: Jivin’ Jack Osbourne did the jive and it was just one jive short of jiving. He earned 24/30.
Best of the Bunch: Amber and Derek Hough reinvigorated their Charleston making Carrie-Ann “so proud” and earning a Most Improved stamp from Len and got Bruno moaning about how they caused “power surges across the country.” They got the night’s first 30/30.
Best Appearance By TLC In At Least 24 Hours: Hot on the heels of their performance at the American Music Awards, TLC stopped by to soundtrack the Samba Relay Challenge with their mega-hit “No Scrubs.” As with their AMA performance, Lil Mama joined the group on stage. In Bruno’s words, it was “CrazySexyCool.”
The Samba Relay: After the teams took turns samba-ing, the judges doled out the rankings and the extra points: Corbin & Karina took 1st place, Amber & Derek were in 2nd, Jack and Cheryl took 3rd and Bill and Emma got 4th.
Most Fantastically Over-The-Top Moment: Bill Engvall opted for an Indiana Jones-themed freestyle, set to the Indiana Jones theme song complete with a boulder-sized disco ball rolling through the ballroom. Why? Why not!
Just Make Them Laugh: While Bill’s footwork, frame and musicality were still slightly off, at the end of the routine, Bill ripped off his shirt, flung it over his head and got Carrie-Ann laughing so hard she couldn’t stop long enough to judge. Then, Len gave Bill his first 9 of the season, for a total of 25/30.
Best Way To Be “Bad”: Corbin and Karina Smirnoff brought in the big guns for their freestyle routine. They went to Vegas to get some pointers for their dance to “Dirty Diana” from Michael Jackson’s choreographer. Then they descended from the ceiling face first in matching sparkly suits and performed a killer, stunt-filled routine that got the crowd so worked up that the judges had to scream their critiques over the roar.
Best Sign: Len Goodman gave Corbin and Karina a standing ovation. 30/30.
Playing To The Judges: Jack and Cheryl went classic for their freestyle routine, which wasn’t set to “Putting on the Ritz,” but could have been. The routine was clearly tailored to the judges, who appreciated the crisp moves even if it was pretty understated (read: kind of boring) compared to Bill’s and Corbin’s numbers. Jack started crying as Carrie Ann called it a showstopper and Len dictated that Jack’s family should be proud. Cheryl started crying when the judges awarded them 30/30
Grand Finale: Amber and Derek set their freestyle routine in an old-timey saloon, meaning that Amber had to open the saloon doors with a flourish and a bar rag dance was necessary. Plus, Amber got to teach Derek a thing or two about step,dancing, which was strangely satisfying to watch Bruno announced that Amber is “class, fast and built to last,” which makes her sound like a Dodge Caravan but was meant as a compliment. Amber started crying. 30/30
Fusion Dance Styles: Tomorrow night, the finalists will have to perform so-called fusion dances. The lowest, rated couple picks for the highest, etc. Bill gave Amber a quickstep samba; Corbin got the cha,cha foxtrot, Jack got Paso and salsa and Bill got the jive quickstep.
Who Goes To The Finals: Amber & Derek and Corbin & Karina, of course.
Who Goes Home: In the words of Brooke Burke Charvat, Bill Engvall fell at the last hurdle. Bill, naturally, was a good sport, saying that it just proved that there was a god, because he couldn’t have handled one more dance.
Best Reason To Come Back Tomorrow: Don’t you want to know how it ends? Of course you do. Plus, Ylvis will be performing his song-turned-meme “What Does the Fox Say?” live.