UPDATE, May 19, 7 p.m.: Mark Ballas injured his shoulder during dress rehearsals on Sunday with Candace Cameron Bure while practicing a lift. He was taken to a hospital for examination. Earlier this afternoon, his mother Shirley Ballas posted a photo of her son with his arm in a sling, expressing her sympathy. It seems unlikely he will be able to compete tonight. The most likely scenario is that another professional will take his place. Nothing has been announced from show producers. The substitute could be Tony Dovoloni, who danced with Cameron during the switch-up week.
SAN DIEGO, May 18, 2014 – It is an unexpected Final Four in Season 18 of “Dancing With The Stars.” The depature of Olympic gold medalist Charlie White left two underdogs alive, James Maslow and Candace Cameron Bure.
Everyone expected White and his ice dancing partner Meryl Davis to make it to the final week, but White didn’t have the fan votes and the consistent scores to get there. The fourth finalist, Paralympic snowboard bronze medalist Amy Purdy is a bit of a surprise, but she has been solid and getting better every week. Amy and partner Derek Hough keep pulling out all the stops with creative choreography and multiple prothetic feet to match the ballroom style. They’re not afraid to try anything to see if it works.
This spirit is what will win the Mirror Ball Trophy. No one should play it safe. The judges and the longtime fans have seen a lot of ballroom dancing over the years. Excellence in execution is a must, but innovations in choreography and movement are what make an impression and give a routine that “it” factor that scores points, wins votes, and makes you the winner.
Monday night the final four will dance two routines. The first is a repeat of the “Switch Up” dance performed this season with each star dancing the same routine with their regular partner.
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd will dance the Tango; James originally danced with Cheryl Burke. Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy bring back their Argentine Tango which Meryl originally performed with Val Chmerkovskiy. Amy Purdy and Derek Hough dance the Salsa Amy danced first with Mark Ballas; and Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas dance the Quickstep she performed the first time with Tony Dovoloni.
The couples will then perform their freestyles. Anything goes. Since DWTS went to the “supersized” freestyle era, the couples can use additional dancers, props, and anything else that comes to mind.
One couple will be eliminated at the end of Monday’s show, and the remaining three will put together a 24-hour routine for Tuesday night. The Mirror Ball Trophy will be presented on Tuesday.
For a real treat before the show on Monday, you can watch all 17 winning freestyles thanks to the blog PureDWTS.com. Videos of the freestyles of each Mirror Ball Trophy champion are posted in three parts: Seasons 1-6, Seasons 7-13, and Seasons 14-17. There has been a big change in approach over the years, but the sense of fun and excitement has always come through. Take a look and let us know which one is your all-time favorite in the comments section. Many thanks to the always insightful, creative and exceptional team at Pure DWTS for this dance down memory lane.
Communities Digital News will host its final Live Chats of the season on Monday and Tuesday nights. Be sure to take your seat in the virtual ballroom with us to enjoy and comment on all the performances.
Finals Night One Lineup
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: Tango / Freestyle
Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy: Argentine Tango / Freestyle
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: Quickstep / Freestyle
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: Salsa / Freestyle
“Dancing With the Stars” returns with night one of The Finals week on Monday, May 19, at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time on the ABC Television Network.
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.
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