So, then they throw together some wacky dance numbers with Buzz Aldrin getting beamed down, bachelor Jake and his fiancee Vienna waltzing around (so much ABC cross-promotion!), Niecy and Pamela shaking it down, and still terribly awkward Kate Gosselin, dancing like an adult learning how to rollerskate for the first time. In the midst of this, Erin is announced as third place and sent home, no terrible shocker, and Nicole and Evan race backstage to prepare for the final showdown dance. Then they come out at the end of two hours, at the end of ten weeks, and perform an original routine. Nicole and Derek go first, a spectacular fierceness of a jive to Ike and Tina's "Proud Mary," where Nicole didn't try to be Tina Turner, she just let herself channel the legendary singer for a little while.
I need to pause and gush a moment. I don't care that she's a Pussycat Doll and has previous dance experience. Each week of this season of DWTS, when I watch Derek and Nicole dance, I get chills. Derek Hough is so clearly living the dream right now: the talent in how he moves his body and the brain for creating new choreography combined on a national platform with near limitless resources and a partner who can match him in talent and energy... I'm with Carrie Ann, it is "pure artistry." As silly as the whole competition might be in the grand scheme of things, when you are in the creative zone, flow is flow and it is hard to deny the beauty and fascination of watching it happen live on camera. Here is their rhumba from Monday night, including the illegal lift at the end that made me stand up and yell at the television:
I was nervous watching the finale, wanting very much for Nicole to win. Evan was stiff competition. Literally. I'm biased, as I've already confessed, but I generally found him to be a really graceful robot. But after Nicole and Derek finished their "Proud Mary," they electrified the room so much that Len flat out said "you should win this competition." Dude hasn't even seen Evan dance and he already declared her the winner. Damn. That almost made me feel a little bad for Evan.
Watch her score straight 10s in her piece de resistance, her final dance as the single highest scoring competitor the show has ever had:
You can't deny the truth, and ultimately Len proved to be correct. Evan's dance was really good, but not transcendent. And if the viewer votes for him were higher, they weren't enough to close the 7 point gap, and so the perfect 10s, Nicole and Derek, held up the disco ball trophy in the end of the night, before catching red-eyes to NYC to make the rounds on all the morning shows. We ask so much of our celebrity ballroom dancers, and so often they give it to us.
-- A. RAYMOND JOHNSON
Previously > DWTS: Mr. Eight Five Hits the Road