Recap: ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Finale – And the winner is…

05.19.09 8 years ago


It all comes down to this.  As Lady Gaga pimps herself out with a show-opening performance of “Just Dance,” the eighth-season finale of “Dancing With The Stars” has commenced.

Despite re-running the episode before this two-hour finale, we get a rundown of how last night’s performance episode anyway: Gilles & Cheryl and Shawn & Mark are both heading into tonight with impressive 58 (out of 60) scores, and Melissa & Tony are just behind with 56. Tom re-iterates, and maybe you need to know: Last night’s judges scores will be combined with the home votes, but tonight all three couples will dance once again, and only the judges’ cores will count toward who becomes the winner of season eight (joining this classy lineup: Kelly Monaco, Brooke Burke, Kristi Yamaguchi, Helio Castronevers,  Drew Lachey, Emmit Smith, and Apolo Anton Ohno).

Results of Tuesday’s (May 19) “Dancing with the Stars” finale after the break… 

Personally, I feel it’s definitely a Gilles vs. Shawn night, but I won’t discount Melissa’s “Bachelor” fan base.  My very shaky prediction is, despite this, Gilles.  He’s been the most consistent all year.  He’s an excellent dancer.  He has played up his undeniable sex appeal for all its worth.  Shawn is adorable, and I’m sure she compiled quite a few votes last night, but she already has an Olympic gold medal. 

Before we get to any semblance of exciting information: They are hell-bent on re-hashing pretty much the entire season.  We get FULL dances from every single contestant from the season, from Denise Richards (oh, how I miss making jokes about both you) to Belinda Carlise to Steve-O.  Wearing the outfits they were voted off in, they’re all back, taking up a good hour and twenty minutes of the show – for one last moment of nationally televised moment.  The highlight is most certainly Lil’ Kim and Derek re-doing their “wink-wink” performance to “Jailhouse Rock,” my favorite dance of the entire season (and I really, really wish Kim was one of the final three). 

Though other than that, this isn’t a trip down memory lane I feel like taking.  It reminds me that I’ve devoted every single Monday and Tuesday of my life for the past 11 weeks to watching this show, and so have 20 million Americans. Look, I’m privileged to be here reiterating this to y’all, but I’ll be honest: I still don’t entirely get this phenomenon.  It has its moments, sure, but as drastically exemplified in this episode: It’s 15% dancing with the stars, 85% montages, ABC-plugs and horrifically written sketches. 

Case in point: Now, instead of getting to the competition we care about (I suspect at 10, when they are no longer competing with “American Idol,” things might get interesting), we’re back to the competition-within-a-competition, where Mayo and Anna are the final two dancers standing to become the next “professional dancer” on “Dancing With The Stars.” Thankfully, we don’t have to watch them dance one last time… We just get a winner: Anna!  I’m mildly excited about this, as she was obviously the most deserving, and Mayo kinda scares me. Mayo takes a creepy final bow, and Anna is given the floor to begin her life as a “Star”-dancer.

Oh, man, and it keeps getting worse: Comedian Jeffery Ross, a contestant from last season, comes in to roast all of this season’s contestants.  These people do not need to be roasted.  It’s too easy. They are (mostly) failed entertainers, and kicking roasting them on Dancing with the Stars is just kicking with them – hard – when they’re down.   Ross is so bad it doesn’t even matter.  Par example: To Lil’ Kim: “It’s not easy to the cha cha cha with a bulletproof vest”; To Ty Murray: “You did the ‘Brokeback’ mambo”; To Steve Wozniak: “You’re a chunky chipmunk.”  It’s either embarrassingly bad or borderline offensive.  His slight, slight saving grace is telling Belinda Carlise she looks like a hooker from “Battlestar Galactica.”  It’s funny because it’s true.

Also true is that, now at 10:25pm, it’s time to finally get down to business.  The final three couples will dance, get scores from the judges, and a winner will be declared!

The Last Dances:

Shawn & Mark

It’s not the most accomplished dance they’ve ever done, it’s immediately clear.  Dancing to someone doing an excellent job impersonating Michael Jackson, Mark is a ball of energy and hits every single note, but Shawn – she just seems a bit worn down. Like she knows this is it, and she just needs to get through it and then it’ll al be over.  That aside, though, I’ll give her this: As she has in the past few weeks, Shawn makes clear has grown way past her cutesy gymnast routine.  She’s confident, even sexy.. and even if she looks a bit tired, this performance is definitely impressive nonetheless.  And though it annoyed me for the first half of this season, I’ll admit that as they hug and cry awaiting their final scores, Shawn and Mark are pretty adorable.

Score: 30 (wow, maybe a bit excessive but I’ll take it… 88 out of 90 for the three performances this week).

Melissa & Tony

My least favorite standing dancing “star,” Melissa takes on the samba for her final act.  She starts off solo, doing the Vegas showgirl act she’s shown herself to be so good at in the past.   In a sparkly blue bikini top and a mini, mini, Melissa shines her pearly whites and shakes her hips like an old pro.  Tony joins her, and it’s sultry, sustained, and exactly what these two have excelled at all season.  As much as I’ve made fun of her over the weeks, Melissa is a perfectly capable dancer.  She just doesn’t have a whole lot of range.  She’s dancing in her comfort zone right now, and hopefully someone will remember the many times she didn’t, and lagged far behind her final two competitors.

Score: 30  (boring, and undeserved… they’re gonna give this to all three aren’t they? 86 out of 90 for Melissa)

Gilles & Cheryl

Alright, Gilles, make it clear. This really should be his for the taking.  It’s a risky move that he’s decided on wearing a full-on suit as he  comes on to stage – and not the trademark no-shirt and jeans, but it doesn’t matter.  The horny lady home votes have already been counted…  Him and Cheryl choose the Argentine tango – and it’s kinda perfect.  Sensual, passionate… They quickly let us all know what we knew all along.  Gilles and Cheryl are beyond this competition.  “Sex and the City” cameo be damned, he’s a dancer! Look at his face as he does his last aggressive twirl of Cheryl… He’s just so into this, and you truly cannot tell who is the “star” and who is the “professional dancer.”  It would be a real shame if that crystal ball thing doesn’t end up in his hands tonight.  My apathy for this show is suddenly wearing off.  I’ll be a little pissed off if Gilles doesn’t win. And a lot pissed if Melissa does.

Score: 30 (and deservedly so… that’s 88 out of 90)

Alright, after one more Lady Gaga performance (you’re a good 25-30% less cool now, Gaga, I must say), we get down to business.  The three couples stand on the stage.. all looking kinda terrified, and Tom and Samantha let us know the couple that will NOT be in the final showdown…  Melissa & Tony!!  The way it should be.  From second place on “The Bachelor” to third place on “Dancing With The Stars”… Melissa Rycroft, we’ve probably heard the last of you.

Tom reveals this is the closest showdown that “Dancing” has ever seen. Less than 1% between the final two contestants.  Nail-biting! Gilles is teary eyed as he awaits his fate, while Shawn again, just looks really tired.


Shawn & Mark!!!

Whoa… Well, at least it wasn’t Melissa. Shawn shrieks, Mark cries, and Gilles tries to look like happy for them.  

The fourth Olympic champion (that’s a 50/50 success rate… Michael Phelps, are you listening?) to add a “Dancing With The Stars” trophy to their gold medal,  all the former contestants come out to hug Shawn and her giant disco ball on a stick…. And with that, my work here is done.

Did the right person win? Were you happy with this season?

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