The only perfect fusion scores don’t keep Normani & Val from coming in third, raising nerves right up until the final announcement of the winner.
The Grand Finale, they’re calling tonight. It’s grand enough it’s even dragging itself out for two and a half hours. We’ve got the red carpet outside the ballroom back, with a small stage for the show to start on, and also a couple of amusement park rides, which is definitely a new one. We’ll have a lot of the filler numbers out there too. As well as recaps of the season and the normal reprises (with various tweaks) by most of the couples who competed this season, we have:
- Fluff pieces of the experiences of all the finalists on the show, followed by interviews.
- Simone Biles & Sasha Farber do a jive bumper, once again making us wish they’d still been competing this week.
- Heather Morris reminds us about the only elimination more painful than that one, with her joining a bunch of the female pros in the ballroom for an aggressive number in the rain. It’s hard to tell who isn’t the “official” pro here.
- First singer up is Hailee Steinfeld, singing an extended bumper outside with Alan Bersten showing off his skill and shirtlessness, and Brittany Cherry being equally good. We really need the former in the cast next season, and the latter wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
- The male pros who made the main cast this season also perform outside, and mostly just showcase their sex appeal.
- Fluff piece with the past champions talking about winning and this year’s finalists.
- Those tuning in at 9PM are just in time for a proper opening number, which takes all the stars and pros all over the place inside, outside, and backstage behind the ballroom, followed by a recap of last night with backstage clips.
- Humorous Maks Chmerskovskiy/Nick Viall bromance fluff, complete with the Whitney Houston.
- Blooper reel. They have everything they need for a good one, including a piano at the end.
- Charo becomes one of those celebrities who for her return eschews dancing again in favor of something she’s far better at. She breaks out her guitar and dances “Malaguena” over the strings while partner Keo Motsepe takes the ballroom floor with Witney Carson instead, with whom he can be equally magnificent.
- The guest performances intersect with the reprises as TLC come outside to accompany Heather & Maks doing a heavily adjusted version of their rumba to “Waterfalls.” Which actually takes more attention off the much-missed team than anyone would like, and really, this is a case where the original version was better. This one didn’t even have Alan!
- Hailee Steinfeld gets to do her full-fledged performance on the ballroom floor of latest single “Most Girls.” This dance accompaniment isn’t nearly as good as that which she had for her bumper, though.
- OneRepublic also perform a new single, “No Vacancy,” which isn’t as good a song. But they have Sharna Burgess and Gleb Savchenko dancing to make up for it.
- After Len and Bruno join in the fun for Normani Kordei & Val Chmerkovskiy’s salsa reprise, Tom and Erin give them low scores. Bruno does not take this sitting down, or with his shirt staying on.
- Lady Antebellum get four pros joining them outside, but those four aren’t on the stage nearly enough.
- Mr. T stars in a wholesome educational video aping those you used to see in school back in the 80s and early 90s. Whoever came up with that idea was a genius, they really were.
- Promotional performance of “Do You Love Me” from the remake of Dirty Dancing that ABC’s airing tomorrow night. It won’t compare to the original, and Colt Prattes is no Patrick Swayze, but at least he can sing. And we knew Nicole Scherzinger can dance, given how she blew her season out on this show, which this number takes plenty advantage of.
And then, after some last commentary on the finalists from Len, it’s finally time for the fusion dances our three finalists spent the last twenty-four hours preparing.
David Ross & Lindsay Arnold: Foxtrot/Salsa; “Living” Bakermat feat. Alex Clare
They have a bit of a weird light show behind them, and a bit of fog around their feet. Nothing that obscures too much, though, and they really just dance through most of this. David scrambles through it much like he did last night: nothing to complain about, if not technically pristine. It’s still nice to watch him. The judges even spend most of their comments talking about how much they’ve enjoyed him all season. Bruno even calls him, “the people’s champions.” They give him straight Nines for 36, and his two-week total is 185.
Normani Kordei & Val Chmerkovskiy: Argentine Tango/Foxtrot; “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back” Shawn Mendes
This is exactly what we expect for a final dance on the show these days. You can’t take your eyes off of her from start to finish. It’s sharp and aggressive, there’s plenty of sexiness, a bit of dreaminess when he lifts her, and it’s just all around flawless. Julianne even calls it that. Bruno calls her a leading lady. Carrie Ann just calls her “born to win this competition.” When it’s time to raise the paddles, you can only think they’d better get straight Tens. And that’s exactly what they get. They’ve got a total of 194 for the two weeks.
Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater: Cha Cha Cha/Tango; “I Don’t Like It, I Love It” Flo Rida feat. Robin Thicke & Verdine White
As expected, Rashad manages to edge out the other two when it comes to energy, though it’s not quite the all guns blazing some of his past dances have been. Expressionwise is pretty much the same; not his best ever, but very, very good, and maybe good enough. Technically it goes the same way. For three of the judges it’s enough for the Ten paddles. Carrie Ann even says that even if he wasn’t necessarily “born to win the competition,” he earned it. But Len expresses some technical quibbles, and only gives them a Nine. With 39, they still get the highest overall total at 196.
OneRepublic come into the ballroom to perform “I Lived” to accompany the final montage, and then it’s time for the third place announcement. David & Lindsay should, of course, be in third…but Normani & Val are! This is an outrage to the end. “No words, Tom,” says Erin, and yeah.
Well, except that it’s not quite the end. There’s one more question. Rashad & Emma had eleven points over David & Lindsay. You gotta figure David & Lindsay are getting more votes, and they got enough more to overcome the nine point deficit behind Normani & Val. But did they get enough to override the judges? Or will we at least have a pair of champions who did dancing worthy of it? It’s…
Rashad & Emma! We get them both getting excited as they raise the trophy; as Tom reminds us, Rashad’s finally won something, and it’s Emma’s first mirrorball as well. Except that we don’t get any proper interviewing, because Tom has to rush himself, Erin, and both couples back to the buggy to go outside before the cameras can fade on the celebration getting underway. It’s really unnecessary and disruptive, a final fumble on a season that’s had a few of them.
Really, producers and viewers alike need to sit down and think about what they can do differently next season. It turned out all right at the very end, but this was not the best of them.