At the beginning of Dancing with the Stars‘ fifth season, I never would’ve pegged Marie Osmond as a finalist.
The DwtS Results Show began with a recap of the Semifinal performances. Florence Henderson was sitting in the studio audience again, so I’m guessing we’ll see Mrs. Brady dance next season.
The judges gave their encore to Jennie & Derek for what Len Goodman called their "breakthrough" Cha Cha Cha. This time, I think Jennie & Derek might’ve even added a few extra spins at the end of the routine.
The encore was followed by the first performance of the night by musical guest Avril Lavigne. She sang her new song, "Hot," and while the number didn’t feature any dancers, Avril did have a star in her backing band: Jim, the rhythm guitarist from the Rock Star House Band. His wicked, high-pitched backing vocals in this rendition of Heart’s "Alone" was one of my favorite moments from that series.
After the performance, Samantha Harris (TV’s best reason to give the striking writers anything they want, so long as we don’t have to hear Samantha ad lib anymore) asked all of the stars how they would feel to be eliminated one week before the finals. Marie said, "You’ll have to drag me out of here," and Helio agreed: "It would be devastating."
Video of last night’s studio audience, which included some of the cast from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, was next. One of the Makeover artists liked Jennie, while another preferred Helio.
Then it was time to announce the first couple moving on to the finale: Marie & Jonathan. Marie told Samantha, "We have the best fans in the world."
The evening’s high point was another feature by Kenny Mayne, this time on what happens when the stars become addicted to dancing. In the comedic segment, Lisa Rinna, Harry Hamlin, Laila Ali, and Tucker Carlson participated in a group therapy session at "Happy Thoughts Dance Rehab." Laila and Tucker sported some oddly placed sequins, while Lisa wore garish blue eyeshadow.
Harry stole the bit with a Gary Busey-inspired performance, but Tucker had a good line: "You could cut me into pieces, and each piece would still have dance within it." Lisa was also funny, begging the therapist: "I want to stop this tanning addiction. It’s staining my hands. I’m afraid it’s toxic."
As if things couldn’t get any better, it was time for Irish dancing legend, Michael Flatley. He lead a troop of male dancers who were all dressed as pilots. Flatley did some of his signature inhumanly fast footwork, and the studio audience went berserk.
Another pretaped segment featured members of the media who cover DwtS. Mark McGrath of Extra said, "Tom Bergeron might be the greatest live host of all time." Dayna Devon explained why Extra repeatedly aired footage of Marie fainting: "It was good television, unfortunately."
That segment was followed by the most anticipated performance of the evening. Sabrina Bryan & Mark Ballas returned to promote the DwtS tour, and they danced a Rumba, as Avril Lavigne sang her hit "Complicated." The routine was passionate and featured tons of great lifts and tricks. Had they the opportunity to perform this dance as a Freestyle in the finale, the mirrorball trophy might’ve been theirs.
A final prerecorded segment asked the stars what special trait they brought to the competition. Jennie said, "Realness." Marie: "Wisdom." Mel: "Fun." Helio: "Energy."
Mel & Maks were then announced as the next couple moving on to the finals, leaving Jennie & Derek and Helio & Julianne waiting to learn their fates. Tom asked Len which couple should move on, and Len replied, "Neither of these should be leaving tonight. However, if I’ve gotta pick one, for their more consistent performance, I’d have to say Julianne & Helio should be there next week."
Jennie & Derek looked prepared for bad news, and Tom gave it to them. Helio was moving on, and Jennie was eliminated.
Jennie said, "I had such a great time." And Derek added, "I would not have wanted this experience with anybody else." They danced off into the sunset to the refrain of Jon Bon Jovi’s "Blaze of Glory."
For Monday’s final Performance Show, the judges choose one dance style for each couple, and then the couples design their own Freestyle routine. Mercifully, the show is only an hour long, ahead of the gargantuan two-hour final Results Show.
Even if I didn’t have the foresight to predict that Marie would make it to the finals, at least I was right about her beating Jennie. You can revisit my well-reasoned — and completely inaccurate — preseason predictions here.