For the first time there are four couples in the finals, according to host Tom Bergeron’s opening statement, Monday night on “Dancing with the Stars.” Each couple brought something unique to their freestyle dance. This season they were allowed to go as big as a Broadway production with dancers, props, and sets. Some couples did not take advantage of that, while others went all out.
Before viewers got to see the “make it or break it” freestyles, there was other business to tend to. During the two-hour live broadcast the first round was the judge’s selection, followed by a cha-cha relay, and closing out the night was the long-awaited freestyle dances. Bright House Networks subscribers in Tampa Bay watched the final performance show of Season 16 on ABC’s WFTS, channel 11.
Head judge Len Goodman selected and coached Jacoby and Karina for the jive. Len was also coaching Kellie and Derek on the quickstep. Bruno Tonioli wanted Aly and Mark to do an even better samba. Carrie Ann Inaba also chose the samba for Zendaya and Val. Speaking of Val, before the start of the show he was injured closely above his eye during dress rehearsal. It was debatable if he could perform. Thankfully, Val pulled through. His injury was extremely obvious, even on camera. The first round saw Kellie and Derek, plus Zendaya and Val scoring 30s.
To fill up some time a cha-cha relay was put in. The highest scoring couple received 5 points (Zendaya and Val) and the lowest points at 2 went to Jacoby and Karina. Finally, the freestyle arrived with Jacoby and Karina paying tribute to New Orleans, his hometown, and Baltimore, his current NFL team and residence. It was an ambitious number that resembled a Mardi Gras parade. The problem with these super-size freestyles is having too many back-up dancers overshadowing the couples. That’s what happened with Jacoby’s freestyle. There was way too much going on.
Aly and Mark had the most unique and ambitious freestyle of the night. There weren’t any background dancers or sets. Instead, there were two poles onstage with the occasional laser lighting. This was a nod to Aly’s high bar routine in gymnastics, except this was a vertical pole and not the horizontal gymnastic apparatus. Too bad there wasn’t a bit more pole dancing. Taking a cue from Aly and Mark were Kellie and Derek with their stripped down freestyle that was done in the contemporary dance style. It was by far the emotional freestyle of the night. However, their routine contained an abundance of flexible moves and extensions with little dance movements. This is something you see on “So You Think You Can Dance” regularly.
Zendaya and Val combined the right elements of cha-cha, contemporary, and hip hop with some adorable and amazing kids as their dancers. Now this was perfectly suited and age-appropriate for Zendaya. They even chose the right song for their target audience by Justin Bieber. It was a refreshing twist to the “Dancing with the Stars” finals that was fun and cute. In the last round Kellie and Zendaya received perfect scores. Most likely Jacoby will come in fourth place, Aly in third, and it’s a fight to who gets the mirror ball trophy.