This is it folks. It’s Freestyle night on Dancing with the Stars which means we’re just one day away from finding out this season’s winner. Will Kristi Yamaguchi dazzle us? Will Jason Taylor finally master a Latin dance? Will Cristian de la Fuente hurt his other arm? Will anyone choke like they did last year? It’s time to find out…live!
1. All Couples
Dance/Song: Cha Cha – "Dancing on the Ceiling" by Lionel Richie
Cristian & Cheryl go first. He starts out by jumping off the stage and sliding on his knees across the floor to her. They also finish with a floor slide, Cristian on his knees and Cheryl in a dip in his arms. Pretty nifty. Cristian’s got great hip action, such an improvement from how stiff he used to be. And he really looked like he was having fun. Jason & Edyta are next. There’s a patti-cake type portion in the middle that reminds me of Footloose for some reason. They’re good but so far Cristian was a little better which is not a surprise since Jason’s always had trouble with the Latin dances. Last, Kristi & Mark. Kristi comes out and lays a kiss on Bruno in addition to clapping and playing towards the crowd. Very sassy Ms. Kristi. And I love her shimmy dress. To say the she schooled the other guys would be entirely accurate. She had the steps, the technique, and looked like she was having a good time. At the end, all the couples come out and finish with Jason and Cristian lifting Kristi in the air (Cristian with one arm). That was pretty dang impressive, even if Jason messed up a bit at the end.
Judges: All the judges agreed and their sentiments are the same as mine.
Score: Cristian – 26 (8-9-9), Jason – 24 (8-8-8), Kristi – 30 (10-10-10)
2. Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark
Dance/Song: Freestyle – "Working Day & Night" by Michael Jackson
Apparently, when Mark & Sabrina danced a Cha Cha in last year’s finale, Mark dislocated his shoulder during the dance and finished the routine. Crazy. So Kristi’s a little apprehensive about trying all the insane maneuvers Mark wants to put in. Enter Julianne (who used to dance with Mark professionally) to give her some pointers. And man, were those some good pointers. Wow. That was…wow. I lost count of the lifts. And it was a great mix of hip-hop and Ballroom.
Judges: Bruno waxed poetic as usual, Carrie Ann finished her spiel with a simple declaration, "Love it." Even Len, ever the grump, actually loved it. Even the hip-hop stuff.
Score: 30 (10-10-10)
3. Jason Taylor & Edyta
Dance/Song: Freestyle – "Miami" by Will Smith
Edyta is super excited because she’s finally made it to the finals after being on the show since the first season. She’s really pushing the envelope and got dropped a time or two for it. To help give Jason a boost, his family came in – the visit concluding with his wife Katina telling him he better win. But no pressure. The lifts were fantastic, including a no-handed helicopter. And, at the end, Edyta rips off Jason’s tank top. Skin to win, Edyta, skin to win. Jason was funky and did a good job but it’s tough to follow Kristi.
Judges: All the judges appreciated the funkiness and sense of humor and commented on the stellar lifts.
Score: 27 (9-9-9)
4. Cristian de la Fuente & Cheryl
Dance/Song: Freestyle – "Suavemente" by Elivis Crespo
Cheryl wants to take it easy but Cristian wants to push it. He fell on his arm at one point and hurt himself, which freaked her out to no end but still, he pushes on. The one-arm lifts she put in are impressive. Just, overall, I gotta give it up to Cheryl for the great choreography. I admire how he really performed the heck out of the number and it was very entertaining. He was shaking it like a tambourine.
Judges: The general consensus was, and I paraphrase, "That was good, especially for one arm, but um…Kristi." And Len added that his lifts, while good, were not as impressive as everyone else’s.
Score: 26 (9-8-9)
Projected Winner: Sure, it could be someone else but it’s gotta be Kristi with Cristian the runner-up. Seriously. Kristi better win.