It has been ten weeks of sambas, jives, waltzes and finally the daunting freestyle of last night in part one of the Dancing With the Stars finals.
The week leading up to these final dances was a triumph for Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya from their “World on a String” foxtrot, for which Lysacek donned a new kind of tuxedo—the white jacket.
Apparently after the robotic turn taken the previous week, Trebunskaya decided that they needed to do a little soul searching into what makes Lysacek happy, in order to get some personality and joy out on the dance floor. She posed the question to him in rehearsal, to which he replied: “Cars, coffee, my nephew,” and then he showed off a video on his iPhone.
Whatever the inspiration, the dance was a great success garnering the pair a judges’ score of 29/30 and verbal praise near to gushing from all three, including exasperated heartfelt thanks from Carrie Ann: “Thank you for listening to my pleas!”
Perhaps the most effusive compliments—shocker—came from Bruno, who shot out of his seat and exclaimed, “Talk about sparking with a capital ‘S!’ I haven’t seen something like that since Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney!”
Len chose a more conservative and plausible route, simply confirming that “We saw a completely different side, the happy-go-lucky, fun side… Overall it was a great performance.”
Learning how to dance and have fun with it has been Lysacek’s favorite thing about the whole experience (I know, original, right?): “I signed up because I wanted to do something fun after the Olympics” (well I guess being an Olympian is original enough).
This was the first “duck.” The second “duck” came in the form of a fierce paso doble that involved an energetic jumping and spinning solo portion.
Dear Evan: Thanks for being a figure skater.
Speaking of figure skating, the show incorporated mini bios with interviews of people close to the competitors. Lysacek’s illuminated viewers to the fact that his grandmother had always wanted to be in the Ice Capades and that it was she who bought him his first pair of ice skates. And it was his mother who wouldn’t let him quit after a growth spurt induced some bumpy times: “If someone is better than you at something, then you need to work twice as hard as them.”
And who besides his family is Lysacek close to? Scott Hamilton, Vera Wang (who commended his ever-present willingness to learn) and Kristi Yamaguchi (who called him one of the most driven people she has ever encountered).
Gush, gush, gush was the name of the game. Everyone else’s families gushed too, they just interest me much less. I know you are surprised.
Back to the second “duck.”
Team Evanna scored a perfect 30/30 for their paso doble. The judges’ response can be summed up in three three-word statements:
Bruno: “You got balls!”
Carrie: “Yes he does.”
Len: “I loved it!”
And I loved that part of Trebunskaya’s skirt was torn off at one point to be used as a matador prop.
Yes, that happened.
Coming off of such strong performances on week nine’s episode, the third “duck” was expected. The first dance last night was the so-called redemption dance—that is the judges asked each couple to perform a dance that they had previously struggled with. The Olympian pair was assigned a Viennese Waltz, danced to “Piano Man.”
Sure it was a little cliché, sure Lysacek wore a tux (this time with tails) yet again, but ti worked out well enough to the tune of 28/30 and Carrie Ann’s declaration that it was “A beautiful, emotional… enchanting dream.”
Afterwards, Trebunskaya made her own declaration: “Oh my gosh, he became a dancer. I’m so proud of him!”
And then there was the “goose.”
General hating prevailed in the case of their freestyle, the conception of which was a painful and clearly conflicted process. The two were in total disagreement over style and at one point Lysacek’s dissatisfaction with the way things were going reduced his partner to tears.
I love the dramatic rehearsal footage. It’s so ridiculous.
So is this picture which quite perfectly captures the moment of mayhem that was their freestyle—I regretfully concede.
But it could not compare to Erin Andrews’ and Maks Chmerkovsky’s contemporary freestyle (which I hated and reminded me of the recital dance at the end of Centerstage, but I’m not in charge), or the following performance by Miss Pussycat to Elvis’ “A Little Less Conversation (which admittedly was fantastically entertaining).
The judges awarded their displeasure, a 24/30 and a healthy dose of perplexion. Carrie Ann was nearly lost for descriptive words, uttering, “That was odd.”
It was really, very, super sad for them.
Especially when they were followed by Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough’s awesome and lauded freestyle that included a totally weird costume change.
So I immediately used all my votes on the Olympic Champion, and now we have 40 minutes to wait before the final of the final airs on ABC at 9/8 CST.
See you there.
And then, when this over we can focus on things like maybe the World Cup and definitely Belmont Stakes, among other summer delights.