Recap

'Dancing with the Stars' Recap: The Finals

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Nov 21, 2011 | 4:31pm EST

Tonight was the finale of Dancing with the Stars, and the three couples worked their hardest to pull out all the stops to impress the judges and try one last time to get some perfect scores. Each couple performed two dances: a regular routine, and then the infamous freestyle (the judges pointed out early on in the episode that each year, it seems that the people who do the best freestyle go on to win the trophy).

First to dance was Ricky Lake with the Cha Cha Cha, It was a pretty boring dance, and she seemed to be playing it safe. It wasn't as passionate as some of her other dances have been, but Len enjoyed it and said "it was a dance deserving of this final." She and Derek received 27 points for their routine.

Next was Rob Kardashian with the Waltz. It was graceful, intimate, and very nicely danced. He seemed very comfortable and confident in himself, and Carrie Ann told him he was "the male version of Cinderella." He also earned 27 points.

Then came J.R. Martinez with his Salsa, and there were a few moments where J.R. was clearly out of sync with Karina. The judges were quick to point out to him he didn't dance very well and that his posture was off the entire time. They did not refrain from expressing their disappointment with his routine, and they gave him 24 points.

The Freestyles were next. As I mentioned earlier, the couple that performs the best Freestyle usually goes on to win the season. First came Ricky, and it was clear she benefitted from having the best choreographer this season. She completed numerous complicated lifts, but did get a little disoriented once or twice. But for the most part, I don’t believe her movements have ever been more precise. The judges gave her 27 points for her dance, giving her a total of 54 points for the night.

Rob Kardashian’s Freestyle was also pretty great, and Cheryl was smart to realize that over the course of Rob’s time on the show he always performed better in the slower dances. So she chose to have them start off slow, but then quicken the pace later on in their routine – and it definitely worked in their favor. Rob is not going to win Dancing with the Stars, but it was definitely an enjoyable dance to watch. They got a perfect score for their Freestyle, meaning they earned 57 points overall.

Last came J.R. Martinez, whose Freestyle was exceptional. Every bit of it was perfect, and it completely captured the essence of what a Freestyle is, which is a completely unrestrained and unfiltered dance. It will surely go down as one of the best performances in Dancing with the Stars history, and not surprisingly, it earned J.R. and Karina a perfect score. They also got 54 points for the whole night, meaning they tied with Ricky Lake and Derek Hough for second place behind Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke.

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