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‘Dancing With the Stars’: Kristi Yamaguchi fulfills her destiny

May 20, 2008 | 11:01 pm

Dwts_10_20080520 Man, two hours of a results show is long.  Approximately 40 minutes of that time was taken up by slow-motion, dramatically scored flashback footage to Cristián de la Fuente’s bicep injury.  Another 10 minutes involved Usher singing a new song and his hit song –- you know the one; it must be called “Yeah” -– while he and various professional dancers hit the stage.  There must have been 30 minutes of commercials, so that leaves 40 minutes for filler, dancing and results.  And the filler took up about 28 minutes.  Yep, sounds about right.

After 10 weeks, we’re all tired here, so let’s cut to the chase: Kristi Yamaguchi and her partner Mark Ballas, the highest scorers in the history of the show (or at least the U.S. version) took home the trophy.  Jason Taylor and Edyta were the runners-up, and Cristián and Cheryl were consigned to third place, but don’t feel too bad for them because of all of the contestants, Cristián probably did the most for his career by being on this show and remaining in contention for so long.  I mean, had you heard of him before this?  And now you know he’s handsome, funny, persistent and in love with Jason. 

As we trudged through the 118 minutes of the show before we learned what we all wanted to know, we got to see all of the season six contestants in action again.  For those less-talented cast members -– you know, the ones who must have breathed a sigh of relief when they got the ax in the early weeks -– this must be a moment when you really regret signing the contract.  You look even worse now since the audience has grown used to a higher standard of performance.  So Penn Jillette and Kym’s cha-cha may not have been any worse this time around, but it seemed that way.  Same for Monica Seles and Jonathan’s mambo.  Steve Guttenberg and Anna performed a passable tango, and Steve once again refused to let even a wisp of a cloud cast a shadow over his outlook on life.  Adam Carolla and Julianne reprised their unicycling paso doble, and Adam plugged his radio show and Julianne’s new album and also delivered a rousing speech to the effect that the terrorists hate America because of “DWTS.” 

At this point, there was an interlude in which we find out that the dancing kids Brittany and Brandon beat the other dancing kids.  No real surprise there.  Expect to see them as pros on this show beginning in season 14 or so.

Next, we saw Priscilla Presley (who has a new hair color -– more auburn) and Louis dance a tango, and Marlee Matlin and Fabian perform a strong mambo.  It was at about this point that these reprise dances started looking consistently good.  Shannon Elizabeth and Derek performed the quickstep, which was definitely their best dance by far, though the magic was kind of ruined by Shannon panting away in her post-dance interview.  Cardio, Shannon!  Next up were Mario and Karina, doing an excellent mambo, then Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony dancing a paso doble.  After Cristián and Cheryl were eliminated early in the show, they also danced a paso doble.

Down to the final two, the filler and artificial suspense ratcheted up.  In background footage, Kristi and Jason trash-talked and also complimented each other.  Finally, it was time for them to dance again.  Kristi and Mark performed that first jive that they did this season, the really fun one.  Score?  30/30, for a total of 90/90 this week.  Jason and Edyta danced the quickstep, which was one of my favorite routines all season.  This was the one that ended in a handstand by Jason, and it was also noteworthy in that Edyta was mostly clothed.  Score?  30/30, for a total of 81/90 for the week.  But we didn’t know how the fans voted until the dramatic final moments, of course, but in the end it was Kristi and Mark.  Perhaps she can drape her gold medals around the mirrored ball, and then shower glitter over it all.

Kristi and Mark made sure to thank everyone affiliated with “DWTS” for all of their hard work in making this show everything that it is, and apparently this includes even co-host Samantha Harris.  Maybe Samantha should take an improv class in the off-season to work on her spontaneous interviewing skills.  Cristián and Jason, in a final public display of brotherly teamwork, lifted Kristi onto their shoulders and paraded her about the floor as confetti fell from the ballroom ceiling and fans cheered.

What else?  Well, in the filler interviews (both taped and live), everyone kept talking about how they’d made friends for life, and it sounded a lot like the things I used to say after summer camp, and how many of those people do I keep in touch with now?  I can’t even remember any of their last names.  Or most of their first names.  Ah, youth.

Finally, I know you’ve all been waiting for this, so I present to you my ranking of the dances, beginning with most favorite: (1) quickstep, (2) samba, (3) paso doble, (4) mambo, (5) cha-cha, (6) tango, (7) foxtrot, (8) jive (higher if performed by Kristi), (9) Viennese waltz and (10) rumba.  Why don’t they just get rid of the rumba next season?  They could replace it with the lambada.

It has been a pleasure Tracking for you this season, and thank you for all of your comments and insights.  Please weigh in with your thoughts on this season, and I’ll see you in September.

-- Sarah Rogers

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