DWTS-nicole-scherzinger-evan-lysacek.jpgWith such a tough final three, will the “Dancing With the Stars” champion be a surprise or will the frontrunner walk away with the title?

The show kicks off with a number by all the previously eliminated couples (except for Chad Ochocinco who’s sitting in the audience thanks to a football training injury) performing a new routine to the Pointer Sisters classic “I’m So Excited.” The pros do…90% of the heavy lifting with the celebtestants doing some slight solo work and joining with their partners for the quickest “Soul Train” line I’ve ever seen on TV.

Hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke waste little time running down what awaits before introducing the first of the last two dances – the Favorites Round where the couples will re-perform their most loved numbers. Unlike other seasons, this round will be ranked so only one couple will get the top scores. Perhaps it should’ve been called the “Argentine Tango Round.”

1. Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough
Dance/Song: Argentine Tango/”El Capitalismo Foraneo” a la Gotan Project
I don’t remember how they did the first time but it really doesn’t matter since they killed it. A shot of many past celebtestants showed them “wowing” the number.

Len said it “was Argentine Tango.” Bruno called said it had “devastating intensity” among other things he said while standing up and gesturing all over the place. Carrie Ann thinks they’re “truly artistry in motion.”

2. Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya
Dance/Song: Argentine Tango/”Bust Your Windows” a la Jazmin Sullivan
It’s a risk because they got a perfect score first time through but Evan reviewed the past performance to see what he could improve. The changes were minor but actually did help. There were certain points where he looked at the judges instead of his partner which really enhanced the character of the dance. After being so disappointed and a little upset after last night’s Freestyle, they rebounded spectacularly.

Bruno said he danced like a “lady killer” and kept it slick and stylish. Carrie Ann said this was his true redemption dance, calling it “beyond” perfect. Len said he did a fantastic job, complimenting him on actually leading and marveling at the high level of dancing this season.

3. Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Dance/Song: Argentine Tango/

That leap off the stage had Bruno out of his chair. It was super impressive. Her legs look stronger this time around. Definitely an overall improvement and a smart choice.

Carrie Ann says they’re not making it easy saying she was in “another zone” tonight. Len says judging these Tangos is the hardest thing they’ve done on the show, adding she’s comes the furthest and danced brilliantly. Bruno also waxed poetic about her improvement and called her a “mantrap” in a completely complimentary way.

In third place with 26 points is Erin and Maks, Evan and Anna got 28 points in second place, which leaves Nicole and Derek in first with 30 points. The audience seemed a bit disappointed when Erin and Maks landed in third. Interesting.

Next up we get the start of our season-long recap. I maintain Shannen Doherty wasn’t actually voted out but elected to leave because of Mark Ballas’ injury. Shannen and Mark and Aiden Turner and Edyta Slwinska combined for our first returnees number. Argh! Shannen has so much potential. So frustrating. Aiden threw in a nift little round-off flip there. I approve of the whole number. They’re immediately followed by Buzz Aldrin and Ashly Costa doing a Paso Doble to the theme from “Star Wars.”

After a commercial breaks, the season recap picks up at Movie Night. Jake Pavelka and Chelsie Hightower dance with Dmitry Chaplin and Jake’s fiance to a version of “On The Wings Of Love.” Naturally Chelsie and Dmitry leave so Jake and that chick can dance the rest of the number. Oh…Vienna. That’s her name. Thanks Tom.

As some filler, we get a “Top 5 Fights” countdown. Um. Okay. Then Tom talks briefly to Kelly Monaco who he asked about fighting with Alec Mazo and Apolo Anton Ohno before going to yet another commercial break.

After less ado than usual, we learn that Erin and Maks came in third place. She says to Tom and Brooke that she knew Evan and Nicole were going to end up going head to head. She’s most grateful to get her smile back after having a really horrible go of it for awhile. Huzzah for the healing power of dance! When Tom says this is the most emotional he’s ever seen Maks, Erin playful pleads, “Cry Maks, cry!” Before leaving, they perform a Cha Cha to “Relax Max” and receive a standing ovation.

Next up is the Collegiate Dance Challenge finals. Purdue goes first with a Cha Cha to “When I Grow Up” a la the Pussycat Dolls. Funnily enough, the girls’ costumes look a lot like Nicole’s final dance outfit. Mmm…gold shimmy dresses. Utah Valley University goes next with a Samba. Purdue is very good but it’s almost completely unfair when Utah Valley offers a Bachelor’s degree in Ballroom Dance. The judges deliberate and Len announces that Utah Valley has won the Mini-Mirrorball Trophy.

We’ve got a filler package featuring media type folks including Mario Lopez, Larry King, George Stephanopoulos, Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa talking about the Evan/Nicole match-up. And then….more adverts.

Tom let’s us know that there’s only five points that separate our finalists. Hmmm. Interesting. This is right before a brief interview with Kate Gosselin and Tony Dovalani before they show the rehearsal package from this week. Kate asked for harder choreography but was a little smooshy faced when he tried to give it to her. But it seemed she finally realized the the whole point is to let go and have a little freaking fun. They of course did a redux of the infamous “Paparazzi” number…that turned into “I Will Survive.” The dancing was a smidge better but what really matters is that she actually had fun with it, including getting raised on a platform attached to a camera for the end. Tom asks her to sing “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” while she’s up there.

More of the season recap before the two “jiggliest” celebtestants join forces for a number. Pamela Anderson starts out by being lowered from the ceiling in a lighted circle perch before dancing with a shirtless Damian Whitewood to “I Just Want To Make Love To You.” Niecy Nash comes out shaking it to “Bootylicious” and dancing with and between Louis Van Amstel, Dmitry Chaplin and Tony (the later two also dancing with Pamela). My favorite season alumni number so far.

There was very little ado before finding out Erin and Maks got eliminated but it seems like I’ve been waiting forever for the last two dances. For. Ev. Er. But finally we get to see them. The score for this round will be factored into the total and possible make a big difference for who wins.

4. Nicole and Derek
Dance/Song: Jive/”Proud Mary” a la Tina Turner

Now this is much better than the Freestyle. In fact, if they had done this song and this flavor for their Freestyle, they’d have a much more comfortable lead right now. Lots of energy, lots of shimmy dress, and lots of flavor. A perfect score is pretty much a foregone conclusion regardless of any minor mistakes that might have been there (I didn’t see any).

Judges: Len says she should win. Nice and impartial there. Bruno slobbered over all over them calling the number their “crowning glory.” Carrie Ann says she “sets this place on fire.”

Score: 30 (10-10-10)

5. Evan and Anna
Dance/Song: Foxtrot/”I Want you To Want Me” a la Cheap Trick

Super cute number. So adorable. The technique was spot on but really the character work was the highlight. I do feel bad for him for having to follow up Len basically calling the competition for Nicole.

Judges: Bruno says his technique has always been great but growth in his performance level has been so impressive. Carrie Ann says Nicole may be winning the score but he’s won everyone’s hearts. Len said he’s been a joy to watch, adding that he’s done a fantastic job especially he’d been traveling around with “Stars On Ice” all season.

Score: 28 (10-9-9)

Before we get to the announcement I want to say that I very much like Nicole but her being paired with Derek made me kind of hope they don’t win. And that’s not cool. Erin and Maks made an awesome couple but I really would’ve been interesting in seeing what Nicole and Maks could’ve done together.

So, surprising no one, the season’s winners are Nicole and Derek. She totally worked her butt off and deserved it. Sadly I resent that Derek won another one. Seriously. I don’t like feeling that way. Evan was extremely classy in his brief exit interview and I really hope Anna gets another great partner soon and finally wins one. Same with Maks. And basically everyone else who hasn’t won. Spread the love, producers.

Your thoughts on the finale? Did the right person win? Did you have a favorite non-competition number tonight? Anything else you want to share? Thanks for following along with me. You guy are awesome! Feel free to check out my site Misfits of Scifi if you want to nerd out with me.

Posted by:Tamara Brooks