SAN DIEGO, May 19, 2014 – The drama started a day early on for the Season 18 finals on “Dancing With The Stars.”
Reports began leaking out early Monday that professional dancer Mark Ballas had injured his shoulder during dress rehearsals on Sunday while lifting partner Candice Cameron Bure. Video eventually popped up on the “Access Hollywood” website. Ballas was taken to a hospital, had two MRIs, and walked onto the set Monday night dressed in a blush pink dinner jacket with his arm in a sling.
Would Mark be able to perform? No news emerged from DWTS or on social media channels all day. Fans had to wait as the show progressed to find out.
The first round of dances were repeats of the “Switch Up” dance performed this season with each star dancing the same routine with their regular partner.
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd improved greatly on his original Tango with Cheryl Burke with a dynamic, strong dance. It scored 29 points. Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy didn’t have much room to improve the Argentine Tango which Meryl originally performed with Val Chmerkovskiy, but they did with a perfect 30 points.
When their turn came, Mark set aside the sling and performed the Quickstep with Candace Cameron Bure that she danced the first time with Tony Dovoloni. They moved well and Candace seems to have beat her confidence problems. There was a slight misstep midway. It scored all nines for 27 points. Wrapping up round one, Amy Purdy and Derek Hough repeated the salsa Amy danced with Mark Ballas; and wrapped up the round with another perfect score of 30 points.
But who’s fooling who here? These dances are simply the warm-up act for what fans wait for all year: the freestyle routines. If the pro partner does his or her job, he or she creates a dance placing to the star’s strengths and enthusiasm, while also playing to their fans to get the all-important votes.
James Maslow isn’t a toe-point, in-hold sort of dancer. He and Peta staged an athletic, edgy, end of the world looking routine loaded with impressive martial arts moves. It was a good choice and very entertaining, enough for 29 points, for a night’s total of 58 points.
Candace and Mark danced a disco fabulous routine in gold lame and lots of booty shaking. Candace displayed the confidence she has developed this season, but she was just a little short of the music and the funk factor wasn’t there. She and Mark received 24 points.
We know the freestyles would come down to the battle for the Mirror Ball Trophy between Meryl and Maks, and Amy and Derek.
Meryl and Maks danced a spellbinding, achingly beautiful Contemporary routine with no props, no backup dancers, and no frills. Just two superb athletes expressing themselves with heart, soul and movement.
Did Carrie Ann Inaba cry? Do you have to ask! It received 30 well deserved points.
It was a hard act to follow for Amy and Derek. Their freestyle routine was also a Contemporary routine, one that told the story of Amy conquering her challenges in her life and during her time on the show. It was more athletic which suited Amy well.
It ended with a spectacular aerial spin using a rope. Later, Amy said it felt like anti-gravity, and her sheer joy said it all.
Three of the competitors will now go onto the final Tuesday night. No suspense by the producers: Meryl and Maks and Amy and Derek were immediately pronounced safe.
But as she has been all season, Candice defied expectations and was sent through to the finals, leaving James and Peta as the fourth place couple leaving the show. There were audible gasps in the audience at the announcement. This one is on the fans: Candice’s fans have proven all season that they vote in bigger numbers.
Fans will also decide the winner on Tuesday night. It’s a statistical dead heat between Meryl and Amy. Which style of dance do you like better? Do you think a non-dancer should win? Or the best dancer, whether he or she has dance training? There isn’t a right or wrong answer. Both these women are deserving.
Communities Digital News will host its final Live Chat of the season on Tuesday night. Be sure to take your seat in the virtual ballroom with us to enjoy and comment on all the performances. The show is one hour later at 9 p.m ET. Who will win the Mirror Ball Trophy?
As we like to say, if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain.
Finals Night One Recap
Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy: Argentine Tango – 30 points
Freestyle: 30 points
TOTAL: 60 points
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: Salsa – 30 points
Freestyle: 29 points
TOTAL: 59 points
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: Quickstep – 27 points
Freestyle: 24 points
TOTAL: 51 points
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: Tango – 29 points
Freestyle: 29 points
“Dancing With the Stars” returns with the final night of Season 18 on Tuesday, May 20, at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time on the ABC Television Network. NOTE THE LATER TIME.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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