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'Dancing With the Stars': Megamixed finals

117802_5907_pre Well, we’ve made it to the final week, ballroom fans. The Mirrorball trophy has been trotted out from its resting place to its prominent position in front of the judges’ table, and we are down to our remaining three celebrity contestants.

But rather than go the regular route of having each finalist perform two routines -- one standard and one freestyle -- the producers have tried to jazz up their own combination of choreography and entertainment by introducing something new into this program: the Megamix. Which, as it turns out, is neither an intrastate lottery nor a CD compilation of hair-metal music. No, the Megamix is a routine in which all couples dance the same dance back to back, in unison (this one just so happened to be choreographed by Seasons 2 and 3 pro Nick Kosovich). But instead of a groovy rendition worthy of a volume of "Now That’s What I Call Dance," the Megamix kind of turned out to be a mixed bag, no? It went so quickly and kind of clunkily from the Viennese waltz to the samba to the jive that it was hard to keep up. And I think Kelly still may be taking off her skirt in the transition.

Finals week is also the time when the dreaded and adored freestyle routine comes into play, and the stars and their pro partners pull out every trick in the book to light up the Rectagon dance floor and win those viewer votes. And clearly, it wasn’t enough that Tom and Samantha had mentioned that the treasured Mirrorball trophy had both been won and lost on this throw-caution-to-the-wind dance: We also had to get the stars themselves talking about it, as well as previous champs Brooke Burke, Helio Castroneves and Drew Lachey. We get it. It’s important!

Of course, Mya and Dmitry Chaplin dominated the judges’ scoreboard with their technical precision. And after their first two perfect-30 routines, it looked like nothing could put a chink in their dance armor. Self-proclaimed “grumpy judge” Len came to help the couple out in rehearsals and told Mya that she needed to move past her subdued state if she ever wanted to lay claim to the coveted disco orb. Hers and Dmitry’s resulting paso doble took a page out of Mel B and Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s “Free Your Mind” showstopper from a couple seasons back. This one was set to Queen’s “We Will Rock You," had Mya and Dmitry clad in black studs and flaunted some fancy skirt swinging and a flying leap in which Dmitry -- with the undereye makeup of a linebacker -- acted like a matador who was going for the kill with a bedazzling blade. “Fearless, flamboyant … amazing,” crowed Bruno. “The power of Mya unleashed for all to admiya!” Carrie Ann dubbed her the queen of the paso doble, and Len said this routine measured right up there with Mel B and Maks’. Not only that, but Mya and Dmitry also got the full 30 points being the Megamixiest Megamix dancers of them all.

117802_4736_pre Their freestyle, however, was not as celebrated. The rehearsal footage showed a difference of artistic vision between the star and her pro partner as they decided which avenue to take for their make-it-or-break-it dance. Dmitry wanted to go with a big Broadway number from “Hairspray,” because he thought having a familiar tune would connect more with the audience; Mya was afraid using the number would be playing it a little safe and wanted to go more in the direction of Sin City. They ended up going with the pro’s idea, though, in retrospect, maybe Mya was right. Their big Broadway number was, as Tom said, “a cardio routine and a half” and showed off a colorfully sparkly halter top and voluminous skirt that made for fun swishes. But it didn’t blow away expectations or give any wow moments. Would a Vegas number have been better? Perhaps. It just didn’t seem like this routine was necessarily tailored to Mya’s strengths and may not have served her as well as, say, a sultry Latin dance would have. We all knew that she was subdued, so, come to think of it, maybe an Adam Shankman dance that required wattage rivaling the Main Street Electrical Parade wasn’t the best idea. Carrie Ann called the dance “high energy, fun but not outstanding;” Len complained “there was a sameness about it all; it never went anywhere.” Even Bruno concurred: “At this stage, I was expecting something more spectacular.” Despite the wah-wah comments, the judges still awarded Mya three 9s for her efforts, leaving Mya and Dmitry with a final tally of 87 out of 90.

Which leaves the door open for Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson. Donny, as we know, is the consummate showman -- and has such a huge fan following that he sailed right along to the finals even after slumming at the bottom of the judges’ leader board for the last two weeks. Are people voting for him so that he’ll get farther than his sister Marie? It sure did seem like they were playing up that dramatic angle in the competition. Marie even showed up in a fog of smoke and was twirled by partner Jonathan Roberts during practice so that Donny wouldn’t get so riled up by her presence. Donny, as we all very well know by now, is very competitive. He would like nothing better than to take the Mirrorball trophy back to his home state of Utah. But it’s only now become clear why: “If you had a sister named Marie, and she was going to rub it in your face for the rest of your life, you’d want to win it too.”

Bruno made an appearance at Donny and Kym’s rehearsal segment, but there were no entreaties to come over to the dark side and no attempt to play up their bromance. Clearly, Bruno didn’t have a lot of time, and there would be no airy-fairy-ness going on during this hour! Mostly what he wanted Donny to do was to be technically sharp and “don’t look down!” And Donny didn’t, as far as I could see. Or maybe it was just because I was too mesmerized by Kym’s silver-tinsel Christmas-tree outfit during their cha cha cha to really notice. Oh, but there were those missed turns. Carrie Ann brought up the “misfortune with the hand connection” but whistled prettily about Donny’s newfound hip action. “Ding dong Donny,” said Len. “That was a cha cha cha.” Bruno did not say so much about the dance but went on and on and on about Donny’s professionalism, which may not win him the coveted Mirrorball trophy but did immediately make him a shoo-in for the next round of interviews for the less glitzy but also coveted Time Warner Cable manager position.

Luckily, Donny and Kym were able to end their night on a high note with their freestyle. And the routine, to Kym's credit, fit Donny’s larger-than-life showman personality like a well-tailored tuxedo T-shirt. Kym was smart to play up his performance elements, and I loved how they started up on top of the grand staircase and skedaddled their way down. And how happy was I to see the Woz’s old pink boa make its way out for an encore performance? The routine, performed to Stephen Sondheim’s “Back in Business” smartly had Donny in a tux and Kym in a casino-girl outfit and had steps that, as the song said, “let the good times roll.” Len commended Donny for “an absolute showstopper.” No. 1 fan Bruno called him “Mr. Show Business at his best.” And Carrie Ann inducted him into the freestyle hall of fame. And though I’m not sure I would have given Donny a perfect 30 for this routine, it was still an exuberant number. Plus, had he not been given that score, we wouldn’t have been treated to the succession of “oh!s” that followed. Donny and Kym got a 27 for their cha cha, and earned second place and 28 points for Donny doing his best impression of a professional during the Megamix, and a 30 for their freestyle, for a total of 85.

117802_4626_pre In third place were Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van Amstel. And though it’s pretty clear that Kelly doesn’t really come close to some of the other dancers technically, Monday night’s performances emphasized why the Princess of Darkness has made it this far in the competition: The girl’s a hoot and half to have around. Not only does her beaming face give the glaring lights of the Rectagon a run for their money, but the Osbourne heiress’ colorful, expletive-laden comments also give the program a nice touch of spice. Like when Louis wanted Kelly to try a handstand during the freestyle. “Are you out of your f---ing mind?” she responded. “I’m going to look like a beached whale.” 

There were no whales or beaches to be found anywhere during Kelly’s first number, an Argentine tango that had her sleek and sharp and dressed in black. Carrie Ann stopped by rehearsals to help Kelly achieve an emotional and sensual connection with her partner that bordered uncomfortably on TMI. And though it did seem like Kelly was able to imagine how soft Louis’ hands were and how he smelled (eau de Louis -- eesh), I thought her movement, though precise, was still a little timid and restrained. Carrie Ann said there was an intimacy and intensity that she hadn’t seen before, but Bruno pointed out her loosey-goosey free hand and said he wanted to see more “sensuality.”

Kelly and Louis’ freestyle was supposed to be her exclamation point on the reality star’s expletive-laden “DWTS” journey, but sadly, she was all but pooped out. The duo did a 180-degree turn from their all-black outfits to all white, and the song, set to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” was supposed to show that: First she was afraid; she was petrified. But then she grew strong, and she learned how to carry on. And despite their dazzling outfits and an exuberant smile that looked like she was having the time of her life, there were a couple of clunky tumbles that kept her from “surviving” as resoundingly as she might have liked. “One of the lifts looked like Louis pooped me out!” she exclaimed good-naturedly. The judges saw no excrement in her routine, as their comments only served to bolster this season’s bad-girl-made-good. “You remind us of who we want to be when we’re faced with the same thing,” said Carrie Ann. “I thoroughly enjoyed watching you,” said Len. “You never looked more beautiful than tonight,” praised Bruno. “All the glitz and glamour of the disco era. And sometimes people fell on the floor.” Kelly and Louis received a 26 for their tango, a 26 for their third-place Mixalot finish and a 24 for their freestyle, for a total of 76.

What did you think, ballroom fans? Who got your vote after Monday night’s performances? Was the Megamix a mega success or mega mixed up? Will Donny’s perfect-30 freestyle give him the edge over Mya? Will Kelly upset the balance of the Mirrorball universe with a come-from-behind win? Post your comments below, and check back tomorrow for the results.

— Allyssa Lee


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Complete ‘Dancing With the Stars’ coverage on Show Tracker

Photos, from top: Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson; Mya; Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van Amstel. Credit: Adam Larkey  / ABC

Comments () | Archives (18)

Although I've been a fan of Kelly's the whole season, and I hope my votes counted, but I perdict Donny to win the mirror ball.

Donny really surprised me. He may become the big upset winner, although I think that Mya really deserves to win. Even though he was at the bottom of the leader board the previous two weeks, his fan’s vote kept him in. I am sure he has the larger fan base than Mya or Kelly and that will be a big plus for him in the running for the trophy. Another big plus for him is his perfect score came on the last dance of the night. Just like a real showman he ended it with a bang and this is what people will remember.

If Donny wins I won't be watching next year; the voting should be 75% judges and 25% fans; this is supposed to be a competition, not a popularity contest. Last year Gilles should have topped Shawn but the fans saved her. I vowed then to give this one more year of earnest watching; Mya is definitely the best dancer.

I felt like Dmtry was trying to audition for a gig after Dancing with the Stars. He did not showcase Mya and he was lazy in coming up with a routine. I wish Mya would've continued to make the decision on the dance.

If Mya loses this, it's because of the bad choice of Dmitry. Mya was right and he was wrong - she lost points and I'm thinking Donny is going to take it all. There wasn't much dancing in his routine, but it was "flashy" and that's what the judges wanted. Donny may win on his personality and fan base. I guess it won't be the first time that happened.

Totally agree with Dean.. Demetry outshone Mya on that last number. I would have loved to see Kelly win, but technically she's not first. She has grown and went outside the box more than anyone on this show ever, and I commend her. I do hope Donny wins it. Ballroom dancing is nothing like what he does in his show.. and he went more outside his comfort zone than Mya who had dance lessons in her childhood and dances in her videos. Go Donny

So, if the best dancer is to win: Mya.
If the one with the most, faith-based, fans and stage experience is to win: Donny.
If the most enjoyable, charismatic and exemplary of a journey to improvement is to win: Kelly.

My votes went to Kelly. She was a delight throughout and showed how much transformative power music and dance have.

I voted (and voted and voted and voted) for Mya. She's been the most consistently awe-inspiring dancer from the beginning, and like Gilles Marini last season, she truly deserves the trophy.

I fear, though, that people may vote for Kelly or Donny instead, for personality reasons. With that unpredictable X factor, I really couldn't guess how this'll turn out. I'll be disappointed if Mya doesn't win, but I won't be surprised.

I agree with Grace and Jacqi: Dmitry played it safe with the freestyle. I, like Len, was "waiting for something to happen, and it never did." There just wasn't much dancing in that freestyle routine. It certainly didn't challenge them much: no complicated choreography, no fast footwork, no intricate side-by-side unison moves. Just kinda blah, beginning to end. Kym, on the other hand, created the perfect routine for Donny. I do think they deserved a perfect score for that.

As for the Sir Mixalot dance, I liked that we could see the 3 couples all on the floor at the same time, doing ostensibly the same moves. I think it's valuable to have a side-by-side comparison -- for the same reason that standardized tests are useful. You never know if a professional dancer is coming up with not-as-intricate choreography for his/her partner because the partner can't handle the more complicated moves. In this dance, everyone had to do the same thing, so there was no way for a less-skilled celebrity to hide behind less challenging choreography.

Here's hoping the best for Mya tonight!

Personally I'm not a fan of Mya's - her performances leave me a bit cold. But I was looking forward to her freestyle because I figured they would blow it out of the water. I was quite disappointed. But my Fave, Donny, didn't let me down. My fingers are crossed for him to win.

I'm with Tina, Mya may be more technically perfect than most of the other stars this season, but never has one of her dances given me chills or made me shout or even laugh out loud.

And, for those who complain that fan base shouldn't count for 50% - I disagree. I was NOT a Kelly Osbourne (or any Osbourne) fan at season start. However, watching Kelly work her butt off (literally and figuratively), to come back and work that hard again after lousy scores and to give it all she has each week, won my heart and votes.

The Megamix was a mega flop. I didn't know who to watch so I settled on Kym.
Dmitry's freestyle dance choice for Mya was an egregious blunder on his part. I was very disappointed. I remember last season, best-dancer-all-season Gilles Marini underperformed in the freestyle and he ended up losing to an undeserving Shawn.
Donny's freestyle was perfect, however. It was his best dance of the season.
Hopefully, Mya walks away with the treasured Mirrorball trophy tonight.
Looking forward to seeing Whitney Houston tonight.

One other thought.
Bruno came to Donny and Kym's rehearsal session but "was in a hurry." In a hurry to do what, go where? I didn't understand that and it bothered me.
Next season, make the time to advise the dancers. You're
not that important except in your own mind.

If the judges become 75% of the vote I will stop watching. I understand being upset over the best dancers not winning, but this season showed that the judges often have hidden agendas and don't always score based on the dancing (otherwise Joanna would have been called out on her technique and never would have won the mambo marathon).

I for one voted like crazy for Donny. I love him and hope he wins. I also don't think Gilles didn't win because of the freestyle, he didn't win because he had no name recognition going into the competition, unlike Shawn. The fact Gilles came so close to Shawn was a true testament to Gilles that he gained that many fans. I knew Shawn was going to win in week one. I don't know why so many were surprised.

although Mya got perfect scores the first two dances
she did not shine with the freestyle and that is the one
that counts Donny did do well especially with freestyle
and does deserve to win and as someone else said Mya is a dancer so I hope Donny does deserve to win !

I am stunNed !!!! i thought for sure Mya wa the winner !!.. I lIKED kELLY FOR SURE !!!!

I believe that Mya should have won. Donny is not a dancer. I wished Mya had done the dance she wanted to do and not listen to her coach. Donny won because of his fans and the name.

Posted by: Bernadette/ on 11/24 2009 @10:15pm

I believe the title was given to Donny because of his name, he received 2 points more than Mya on the last night, and because of that he won. I would never think he is a better dancer than Mya. I am sure he knows that Mya was better by far than he was.

i will never watch this show again. donny is not at all the best dancer and it is clear that he has more fans. shame on the judges for letting this happen!


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