'Dancing With the Stars' results recap: We have a champion!
She was pegged as the contender to beat from the start, and at the end, Jennifer Grey emerged as the champion of the Mirror Ball universe and the winner of Season 11’s “Dancing With the Stars” competition.
Johnny Castle was right: Nobody puts Baby in the corner.
Sure, in retrospect, it all made sense that Jennifer won. She was by far the most talented dancer going into these finals. But the producers and this roller coaster of a season had me thinking that it could be anyone’s game. Jennifer definitely held the lion’s share of judges’ points, but her steps were hobbled by injuries, which produced doubts about whether she could finish what she started. (She even suffered a ruptured disc during Monday night’s performances.) Disney star Kyle Massey was the ultimate crowd pleaser and Season 11’s Mr. Congeniality, the guy with the best attitude of the bunch. Teen activist and underdog extraordinaire Bristol Palin obviously had an avalanche of votes going her way (and said she wanted to win at this point, because “this would be a big middle finger to all the people out there who hate my mom and hate me”). And though both Kyle (a shoo-in for ABC’s next reality TV series, “Bootyshaking With the Stars”) and Bristol served up some stiff competition, in the end it was Jennifer’s night.
(Another advantage may have been the actress' final outfit, a metallic gold number, which matched the shininess of the mirror ball trophy better than her competitors' did. Kyle was a little matte with his black leather vest and dark shirt, while Bristol went fire-engine red in her fringe. Visually, didn’t it just make sense that the shiniest contestant would get to hold the shiniest trophy in victory over her head?)
Let’s not forget to congratulate pro partner Derek Hough for his unprecedented three wins -– the most of any of the “DWTS” pro dancers. And how sweet was it that his best friend/greatest competitor/fellow finalist Mark Ballas hoisted him up on his shoulders during that raging confetti shower at the end?
But this epic two-hour, two-dance finale extravaganza did not start off with frills and fringe. At the beginning, it was almost as if “DWTS” had taken a somber, NBC Olympics-style turn, with Tom Bergeron doing his best Bob Costas impression and narrating the segment outlining the finalists’ journeys to this finale, uttering with utmost sincerity things like “These three, better than anyone else, knew what to do” and “In the end, the champion will know that what they did was indeed enough.”
Luckily, the somber tones were ditched like last week’s gold lame and the tempo picked up during the opening number, starting with our pros descending down the grand ballroom staircase in slinky burlesque numbers, only then to be joined by their Season 11 stars. Hoff! Cho! Situation! Flo! Fox! Kurt! Brandy! And in case we had trouble distinguishing the stars from the pros, the pros wore black and the stars were decked out in red. Though there were a couple of black holes in this program, as dogged Michael Bolton was performing at Royal Albert Hall in London and Audrina Patridge was out with an illness.
Christina Aguilera fit right in with the “DTWS” family with her itty-bitty gold fringe dress and her dance-friendly number, “Show Me How to Burlesque,” from the movie “Burlesque.” Liked how they upped the production value by having the bevy of scantily clad dancers come out from behind the mirrored bar. All in all, a big wallop of fringe-filled fun that just made me excited to see the movie. Not to mention those pipes! Xtina pared it down for her second number, a rendition of her hit “Beautiful” in which she was nearly enveloped in a blanket of smoke, then accompanied by a plainclothes backup crew who performed a combination of sign language and dance.
In the first round of finalist dances, each couple performed their favorite dance from the season. Kyle and Lacey Schwimmer and Bristol and Mark both reprised their tangos from Rock Week, while Jennifer and Derek redid their Viennese waltz from Week 1. The judges awarded them either an 8, 9 or 10 score. Not surprisingly, Jennifer and Derek’s sweetly lilting “These Arms of Mine” waltz was the unanimous winner and earned them another perfect 30 points. Kyle, deemed “a stage animal” by Bruno, was given second place with 26 points (though I was again distracted by Lacey’s striated dress and feathery Adam Lambert-esque shoulder pads). Bristol and Mark received 25 points for their tongues-out purple military-outfitted tango. As Len said, Kyle’s got the wow, but Bristol’s got the how, but Jennifer was the complete package.
The season’s contestants were given one last spotlight. Hoff showed good humor in appearing in a segment that had him reliving his “DWTS” Week 1 elimination pain. Naturally, he tried to ease the sting by taking a frolic on a Malibu beach, which resulted in a slo-mo run with a red lifeguard float, all the way to the soundstage. And then, oh my, he started singing! Are we in Germany? Because the crowd is going wild! David Hasselhoff may have been the first contestant voted off, but make no mistake: The Hoff is awesome. This man can sing, twirl and do a semblance of a ballroom dance with partner Kym Johnson and two other bedazzled Baywatchy babes, which, as Tom said, were added “at no extra charge.”
Rick Fox and Kurt Warner had a dance-off. The NBA champ and the Superbowl MVP talked some trash, donned their team colors, bumped chests and stomped with Cheryl Burke and Anna Trebunskaya to see who had the eye of the tiger and dominated the dance floor. And while Kurt lasted a week longer than Rick in the actual competition, I’m going to give this one to Fox: The Laker purple and yellow gave him the home team advantage.
Margaret Cho came back out in her rainbow fringe dress flanked by a bunch of he-men to redo her Copacabana routine with Louis Van Amstel, while Florence Henderson donned the brightest yellow in the history of the world to dance it out with Corky Ballas, all to a flutter of confetti at the end. Although apparently no one told Carrie Ann that the routine was over: The camera caught the judge dabbing on lip gloss while the other judges were applauding.
There was an alarming glimpse into the future that showed rampant moneymaker and an orange-juiced Situation being voted governor of New Jersey. He of the Jersey Shore and the raging tan came back out to the dance floor and mostly stood around topless while partner Karina Smirnoff and two other pros danced suggestively around him. Brandy also returned in good form and good spirits to perform her infectiously giddy quickstep to the “Friends” theme with rabble-rouser Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
And that wraps up yet another "DWTS" cycle. What did you think, ballroom fans? Did the right person win this season? Has the universe righted itself? Does the outcome justify all the surprises that occurred throughout the season? How did Audrina eating an onion measure up as a shock during the segment on surprises? Did Jamie Lee Curtis make a bracelet from all of her other accumulated studio audience bracelets? Last but not least, does this mean Joel Grey should make a bid for the presidency?
— Allyssa Lee
Photo credit: Adam Larkey / ABC