Dancing With The Stars Finals Monday: Zendaya, Kellie, Jacoby, Aly

The judges' scores can be close in the finals, so it's the fan votes that decide who goes home with the Mirror Ball Trophy Tuesday night. Photo: Aly, Zendaya, Kellie, Jacoby: DWTS Final Four / ABC

SAN DIEGO, May 19, 2012 – The Mirror Ball Trophy will find a new home this week with either Zendaya Coleman, Kellie Pickler, Jacoby Jones or Aly Raisman as the winner of Season 16 of “Dancing With The Stars.” The two-part finale begins Monday, May 20, with the final competition dance and crowning of the winner on Tuesday, May 21. 

Each couple will perform three dance routines Monday night. In the first dance, the judges have selected a dance out of previous routines this season they believe the star can improve upon over his or her first performance. The couples can “upgrade” the routine with new music and new choreography.

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Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy have drawn the Samba; so have Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas. Kellie and Derek Hough will dance the Quickstep; Jacoby and Karina Smirnoff will dance the Jive. Jacoby appears to have the greatest challenge here. He enjoys the Jive style, but he can get over enthusiastic and this leads to sloppiness, which has been a problem for him at times.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones was flying high in Week 5’s Jive. Nobody was happier about it than his partner, Karina Smirnoff. We will see it again Monday. Photo: ABC/Adam Taylor

In the second round, the couples will dance a Cha Cha Cha relay. Each pair will dance for a different portion of the same song.

The third and final dance on Monday is the highlight of the season for many fans, the freestyle dance. Each couple can choose whatever music they like and there are no rules for the performance at all. They can add supporting or backup dancers, props, specia effects, and other “surprises.” This is where the choices and not the skills can make or break the star’s chances of winning. Cheryl Burke killed Gilles Marini’s chances of winning when they performed to “Flashdance,” a horrible mistake. Longtime fans are still shaking their heads over Marie Osmond’s Chucky-doll freestyle.

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The three pros need to play to their star’s strengths, make it challenging but not so difficult that there are any obvious mistakes, and not do “too much messing about” as Len Goodman is fond of saying. Most of all, the routines need to be crowd pleasing so the fans will be energized and vote.

Zendaya Coleman and Val Chmerkoskiy has been picked by Las Vegas oddsmakers to win Season 16 of Dancing With The Stars. Photo: Adam Taylor/ABC.

Those votes will make an immediate different on Tuesday night, when the couple in fourth place will be eliminated. 

The three final couples will perform in the Instant Dance Challenge, which has been done in the finals in prior seasons. Couples perform a style they already know, but to music given to them for the first time Tuesday night. This routine will be scored out of 30 and will round out the judges’ scores across both nights.

Who will win? It seems to be a two-woman contest between Disney Channel star Zendaya Coleman, and former American Idol competitor and country music singer Kellie Pickler. Both do certain things well, and in their freestyles they need to focus on their strengths. For Zendaya, it’s her youth, speed, and her stage presence. This young woman oozes sass and confidence in a positive way. Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy might be tempted to rely on hip-hop moves, but they should combine this with sharp, smart party moves from the Latin styles like salsa, samba and cha cha cha.

Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough will repeat their sensational Quickstep for their challenge dance. Photo: ABC/Adam Taylor.

Kellie Pickler is blessed to be paired with the best choreographer on this show, Derek Hough. He needs to emphasize her gorgeous legs, flexibility, and speed. They need to sparkle and shine. Kellie needs to look like she’s having the time of her life and let herself go. She’s got the technical skills, but she needs to emote and reach the judges and audience if she’s going to beat Zendaya. 

Aly Raisman has shown the greatest improvement over the course of the season. Just as with her gymnastics career, she was always the steady rather than the flashy performer. It was her steadiness and her staying power that allowed her to prevail as an Olympic gold medal winner. Aly and professional partner Mark Ballas need to take advantage of what she does well. But they cannot make gymnastic tricks the focus of her freestyle. It seemed to backfire slightly with the fans when Shawn Johnson did this last season. Aly and Mark should mix in more fun Latin dance moves and high energy, which will naturally take advantage of their stamina.

Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas will repeat their Week 5 Samba, and are sure to throw plenty of high flying moves into their freestyle routine Monday night. Photo: ABC/Adam Taylor.

Jacoby Jones will likely need help from the Ravens faithful and their votes this week. Jones is a crowd pleaser and his mom has been a secret weapon; fans love her enthusiastic support of her son. NFL stars have done extremely well on the show in the past, and Jacoby seems to be peaking at just the right time like most successful athletes. He and pro partner Karina Smirnoff need to emphasize his speed and athletic ability without compromising his frame or driving him so hard he gets sloppy with his footwork. 

Whatever happens, it’s sure to be an exciting, fun to watch show.

Voting will be critical this week, so if it matters to you who wins, you need to vote. The methods remain online, by phone, or via text message using the last four numbers for any couple. You can vote online at the official Dancing With The Stars page on Facebook, or the ABC Dancing With The Stars page.

Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough
Voting # 1-800-868-3401

Zendaya Coleman and Val Chmerkovskiy
Voting # 1-800-868-3406

Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas
Voting # 1-800-868-3408

Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff
Voting # 1-800-868-3412

“Dancing With the Stars: Season 16 The Final” airs Monday night, May 20, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, on the ABC Television Network.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +


Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News at Washington Times” when quoting from or linking to this story.  

Copyright © 2013 by Falcon Valley Group




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Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.


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