'Dancing With the Stars' results recap: The Finals Countdown
Can’t say it was very surprising, what with the judges’ scores stacked heavily against him. But even with his massive fan base, ultimately, the point deficit ended up being too much for erstwhile Karate Kid and perennial underdog Ralph Macchio, and he and pro partner Karina Smirnoff were swept (in the leg) from the “Dancing With the Stars” competition just one week shy of the Season 12 finals.
If only Mr. Miyagi could have been there to use that handheld spinning drum to beat out more points from the judges. Or maybe it was time for Ralph to leave, because we had already seen the actor at his best and most entertaining (in his Week 1 fox trot, the wax-on wax-off paso). Plus, he and Karina had revealed that their freestyle routine was going to be set to “The Band Wagon” and along the same old-school Hollywood lines as Donny Osmond’s, which would have been more of the same. Still, I’ll miss the always and forever Daniel-san. He carried himself admirably. Overcame a knee injury. He and Karina had a great partnership (and Karina looked smokin’ in that red tango dress). And since his face hasn’t changed, my memories of him can remain intact. Stay gold, Ralph. Stay gold.
The elimination came at the end of a two-hour “DWTS” block. The first hour was dubbed the “Freestyle Special” and trotted out past finalists and champs such as Warren Sapp, Donny Osmond, Apolo Anton Ohno and Cheryl Burke to do a play-by-play of their winning freestyle routines — and where we witnessed Kym Johnson do some crazy flips and lifts pre-neck injury, and where we found out Brooke (who showed more personality during this small segment than she did the entire season) inserted one of her breast pads in her pants to cushion her tail bone in a roly-poly move. In between, there were some fun renditions of dances to past freestyle routines’ music, courtesy of our pros and the “DWTS” Troupe. The piece de resistance, however, was Season 2 champ Drew Lachey, who got back into ballroom saddle and performed his freestyle dance to “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” with pro partner Cheryl Burke. Drew and Cheryl showed they still got it: the routine had a great boot-kicking effect and brought the audience (including Drew’s bro Nick Lachey and fiancé Vanessa Minnillo) to their feet. It was such a crowd-pleaser that it didn’t matter that the novelty of the dance has since worn off. According to Tom, their Season 2 showstopper has also become the standard by which all other freestyle dances were compared, and was voted “the greatest dance in the history of the show.” Wow.
Then came the results hour. Len announced the encore dance privilege had been given to the rumba, performed by Winner Take All Cha-Cha champs Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, multi-Grammy award winner and living legend Stevie Nicks came to perform two songs. Loved how she got into the spirit of “DWTS” with her skirt of many fabrics and chain mail on her gloves, and that lasso move that she made at the end of her performance of her single “Secret Love,” which featured bare-chested Dmitry Chaplin making sweet ballroom love to Anna Trebunskaya on the judges table, as well as Peta Murgatroyd and bare-chested Damian Whitewood. Stevie followed that up with a rendition of the classic Fleetwood Mac hit “Landslide,” with Cheryl and Tony Dovolani in classic black and white doing a classic rumba on the dance floor. Did I mention how classic this was? Also instant classic: the fact that Stevie had chains on her microphone stand, which only solidified the “DWTS” rock star that she is.
“International music sensation” Pitbull sang his song “Give Me Everything” featuring Ne-Yo and Nayer (and I just noticed that Brooke has a habit of losing steam on the last word she says, which could be why she seems like such a downer). The performance was like a Eurovision spectacle with lots of gyrating, and Pitbull reminded me of this this decade’s Right Said Fred, while Ne-Yo continued this season’s trend of using and abusing the judges’ table by treating it as his personal platform.
Rating high on the aw scale was the story of Rochester, N.Y., native Tayla Kelley, a 13-year-old with primary immune deficiency disease who dances to get her mind off of doctor’s appointments and surgeries. And not only is she a great performer, as seen in her effusive, life-affirming “Bulletproof” routine with Lacey Schwimmer and Chelsie Hightower (girl power!), but she’s also a natural on live TV (“I just pretend that no one’s watching,” Tayla shrugged). The way Tayla threw to commercial was well-said and effusive. If I was Brooke, I’d watch my strapless back.
What do you think, ballroom fans? Did the right star go home this week? What do you make of next week’s finals? Will there be, as Kirstie stated, “less drama” and “more aerials”? Think there’s a market for the new Brooke Burke Booty Booby? Who do you have pegged to win “the shiniest prize in all of ballroom”?
Photos of Karina Smirnoff and Ralph Macchio; Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Kirstie Alley: Adam Taylor / ABC