DWTS All-Stars Finals: Freestyles impress judges but fan votes will choose winner

It's a close competition for the Mirror Ball Trophy after Monday night's performances. The fan votes will make the difference. Photo: ABC/Adam Taylor

SAN DIEGO, November 26, 2012 –  It will all come down to the fans to decide who takes home the Mirror Ball Trophy as the winner of “Dancing With The Stars: All-Stars” Season 15 after Monday night’s results, a very close competition among the three finalists.

Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovoloni are sitting atop the leaderboard after two perfect scores of 30 for a total of 60 points. Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy are second with 59 points; and Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough are in third with 57 points.

In the first round, couples danced a routine from earlier in the competition they felt they could improve upon. They could change up the music and choreography.

Kelly and Val danced their paso doble. It received a 9.5 from Carrie Ann Inaba, and 10s from Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli. It showed significant improvement in speed and crispness, but Kelly had a few obvious errors, missing at least one hand hold. It was enjoyable to watch and if graded only on improvement it was the most improved performance. 

Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovoloni repeated their samba. Not only did they improve on their original 27 points by getting a perfect score, the two invited everyone to the party and lit up the audience. No one charms a crowd like these two performers and you can’t help but be drawn in. The big difference is in Melissa’s confidence level. It’s sky high. Well done.

The controversy of the night was Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough’s quickstep to “Hey Pachuco.” They broke two quickstep rules the first time they performed it by breaking hold, and by performing two lifts. This is the reason they only received 26.5 points the first time, even though Carrie Ann called it the best single routine she had ever seen on the show in all 15 season. It was spectacular.

Shawn and Derek repeated the dance with only slight variations, but the breaks in hold and lifts were still there. Once again, the judges penalized them for breaking the rules. It’s a calculated risk. Fan votes have the potential for putting a lot of distance between the competitors, much more than the judges can. If Shawn and Derek get more fan votes because they want to be sure and “save” them from low judges’ scores, going for the crowd pleasing showstopper will reward them in a big way – with a Mirror Ball Trophy.

On to the freestyle round, where fans are told to “expect the unexpected.” But the three choices were not at all unexpected. We knew that Kelly and Val would play up their chemistry, Melissa and Tony would play up her beautiful legs and lines, and Shawn and Derek would play up their athleticism. The routines suited the competitors well and they were well executed.

Kelly and Val danced to the hit “I’ve Had The Time of My Life” from the movie “Dirty Dancing.” Kelly performed an aerial act while Val played the violin (he really does play) as the routine opened, and the couple made use of the professional troupe in the routine. It was pretty and easy to watch but not especially inventive. They received tens from Carrie Ann and Bruno, and a 9.5 from Len.

Melissa and Tony danced a contemporary routine that challenged Melissa to hold perfect positions with beautifully extended legs. It was well staged on multiple level platforms and well choreographed. It was a bit risky as it’s easier to cover up any mistakes in faster moving ballroom styles. But there were no mistakes, and Melissa and Tony received a perfect score of 30.

Shawn and Derek pulled out all the stops for their energetic, action packed freestyle which featured members of the Fierce Five U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastic team as the “troupe” dancers. While the tumbling was expected, it was sprinkled throughout with traditional ballroom steps, many of which came from Shawn and Derek’s routines throughout the season. It was a brilliant piece of choreography from Hough and was the only routine to create the kind of excitement that gets fans on their feet.

Fellow pros and competitors from across the seasons made their favorites known to Twitter followers. Current champion Donald Driver said “All are good friends. I will let you decide” meaning the fans. He’s no fool. 

Competitors will have once last chance to impress the judges, the “Instadance.” They will draw either a samba, cha cha cha or jive at the beginning of Tuesday night’s show, and have 20 minutes to put together a routine. These fast paced dances favor Shawn and Derek and Melissa and Tony. 

The finalists: Melissa Rycroft, Shawn Johnson, Kelly Monaco. Photo: ABC

Who will win? Shawn Johnson is the best athlete; Melissa Rycroft is the best pure dancer; Kelly Monaco is well-liked. But it’s not all about perfect steps, it’s about getting the audience excited, risk taking, and charisma.

It’s hard not to root for Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovoloni to win; neither ever has held the Mirror Ball Trophy at the end of the season. But it’s hard to bet against an Olympic gold medalist paired with the show’s best choreographer. It’s up to the fans and I predict they will send Shawn Johnson home Tuesday night with her second Mirror Ball Trophy.

Voting remains open until 11 a.m. Eastern Time/8 a.m. Pacific Time online at  http://vote.abc.go.com/shows/dancing-with-the-stars/vote and on Facebook at https://apps.facebook.com/votedwts/ Phone and text voting close one hour after the show airs.

Don’t miss our final Communities live chat for this season of Dancing With The Stars at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. “Dancing With the Stars” returns for the final show of All-Stars Season 15 on Tuesday night, November 27, 9 p.m. Eastern Time, on the ABC Television Network.


Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.


Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities at WashingtonTimes.com” when quoting from or linking to this story.   



Copyright © 2012 by Falcon Valley Group

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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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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