Despite the “Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars” judges’ grumblings about Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough bending the rules, the pair have been the season’s frontrunners — even before their quickstep was judged “the best dance ever.”
But after Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani were the only couple to earn two perfect scores on Monday’s (Nov. 26) final performance show, many began to wonder: Could the underdogs unseat the champions?
Shawn took home the mirror-ball trophy in Season 8 — when Melissa came in third — and Derek has won three times. Tony, meanwhile, has never finished past third place after 15 seasons on “DWTS.”
Backstage after Monday’s show, Melissa and Tony told us they chose to perform a contemporary routine for their final freestyle “because it was a risk.”
“In Season 8, we didn’t take a risk,” Melissa said. “We did something that was comfortable and easy and what we thought we should do — and this, we could have fun with this. Competing against Shawn and Derek and Kelly and Val — we thought we need to do something!”
“My goal was to celebrate Melissa’s journey,” Tony added about his choreography. “And I feel like I captured that. For me it was more important to showcase Melissa and show how she has grown as a dancer, as a performer, and we took every risk possible.”
Shawn and Derek also took a huge risk by repeating their controversial quickstep, and the judges docked them points for not following the rules. So if they lose based on the scoring, was it worth it?
“Honestly, this whole season, that’s what we’ve done,” Derek responded. “For us to change that now would be foolish. This season’s about the audience and the viewers — showing them things they haven’t seen and upping the game and pushing the bar. For us to dumb down something in order to get an extra point or two, we’d be losing our integrity, I feel.”
Melissa also believes what they accomplished is worth much more than a win. “I look at what we produced tonight and I think, if that doesn’t win us the trophy, I still feel like we’ve won so much more than the trophy can even signify,” she told us.
“I’m proud of us. I’m proud of Tony and his choreography and what we’ve produced. A trophy would be icing on the cake, but if we don’t win it, it doesn’t take anything away from this experience.”
What do you think: Could Melissa and Tony upset Shawn and Derek? Or will Season 1 champ Kelly Monaco come from behind and claim her second trophy with Val Chmerkovskiy?