It’s week 10 and that means it’s time for the finals. It’s come down to Nicole, Erin and Evan and each had some surprises in store during the show. Unfortuantley some of those surprises were not good.

Each couple did two dances during the Monday performance show and still had two more judged dances to do in the Tuesday finale. For the Monday show each had to do a redemption dance–a style the judges felt the celebrity should do over because it wasn’t so good the first time–and a freestyle. Freestyle are such a mixed bag for me. As I’ve written before, to me the freestyle is the final exam and time to show the breadth of what you learned on the show. It’s not the time to go crazy and go off the rails to do something unrelated to DWTS. I got a mix bag this season, some I loved and some I did not.

  • Erin & Maks (Samba): Finally Erin looks relaxed while she dances and this samba was so much better than the first one. Erin had great, sharp movement and good musicality. I loved the playfulness at the beginning where she kept Maks’ clothes on. It was a huge improvement  and also got the highest judges scores of the night with a 10-10-9. (Freestyle) Such a huge risk inviting Mandy Moore to choreography some lyrical contemporary piece. It was like So You Think  You Can Dance came to Dancing with the Stars… and I LOVED it. It didn’t show off ballroom technique, but it did show off dancing technique and it was a gorgeous piece with some very complex moves that by and large Erin did quite well. I’m not sure it should be legit that someone from outside the show can come in and do what Mandy did, but it was a risky move that I thought paid off.
  • Evan & Anna (Viennese Waltz): This was improved from Evan’s first Viennese, but it was still lacking in the chemistry department for me until the last third or so where Evan really seemed to engage. However, the choreography and the technical performance were incredible and I was moved even while Evan wasn’t fully connected with Anna. (Freestyle) Here’s an example of what a freestyle shouldn’t be. To me this whole thing added up to seeing how much Evan could toss Anna around and how much they could jump about the stage. This was very disappointing and for all the drama they whipped up over the freestyle in the rehearsal package it just didn’t pay off.
  • Nicole & Derek (Rumba): Incredible! This was sexy, romantic, vulnerable and absolutely beautiful. It was so much more than the first tentative rumba Nicole did a few weeks ago. So disappointed that the lift happened before the music had completely stopped because that kept them from a 10 from Carrie Anne. (Freestyle) This is exactly what a freestyle should be. It was great that Derek incorporated so many different styles from the show. I imagine this would’ve been a perfect 30 had there not been the flub in the final lift.

Prediction: Nicole wins this hands down in my opinion. Evan, however, had enough issues in the Monday show that I think he will come in third and Erin’s spectacular performance on Monday will get her into the number two slot.

Winner: As expected Nicole won the mirror ball (congrats, Nicole!). While I haven’t seen the finale yet, unless Evan pulled out something spectacular, I’m disappointed he came in second to Erin’s third. I’ll talk more about the finale program after I watch it Wednesday night.

The finale: As usual the finale was a mixed bag. The opening number was a mish-mash and ending with Kate, who looked like she didn’t want to be there at all, was lame. I’m glad Tony doesn’t have to deal with her any more. I loved that Nicole, Erin and Evan all redid their Argentine Tangos because they were so great. I still feel like Evan’s could have been more and that Erin should’ve come in second there.

I loved Pam and Nicey’s dance and it was my favorite new thing in the finale. Making Buzz dress up in a sparkly space suit and “beam” in to the dance floor was lame and embarrassing. Of all the other returning cast, the only other one I was happy to see was Shannen back with Mark and doing something new. The ending to the college competition was great and Utah definitely deserved the win there. Their number was incredible.

Now it’s time to move on to So You Think You Can Dance. The blogging for that will likely start up during the Vegas episodes.