The final four couples each performed two dances, a short routine and a long routine. Tomas Mielnicki & J.T. Thomas’ Argentine Tango was my favorite of the short routines, followed by Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova’s Standard Tango. The performances by Jose Decamps & Joanna Zacharewicz and Andrei Gavriline & Elena Kryuchkova were good, but not thrilling.
Arunas & Katusha’s long routine was my favorite of the second round. All of the other second round performances were entertaining and polished, but Standard routines seem to really stand out in the finale, because the style is so different from the other three disciplines.
Andrei & Elena’s long routine was my favorite performance of theirs in three seasons of America’s Ballroom Challenge, if only because it’s the only one I can recall where they didn’t use clothing as props — her skirt converts from short to long, she’s wrapped up in his coat, she’s wrapped up in his suspenders, etc. I find them much more enjoyable when they drop the Cirque du Soliel stuff and stick with ballroom.
The judges ultimately rewarded first place to Andrei & Elena, in part, as co-host Ron Montez stated, because they’ve been together much longer than the other couples. Arunas & Katusha finished in second place, followed by Thomas & J.T. and Jose & Joanna.
The finale included a number of exhibition performances as well. Valentin Chmerkovskiy & Valeriya Kozharinova performed a Jive, although Val’s penchant for flashy solo moves makes me wonder if he’d be happier if he didn’t have to share the spotlight with a partner.
Tony Dovolani & Elena Grinenko gave a farewell performance in which they eschewed their signature Rumba for the Robot, of all things. I’ll be disappointed if Tony doesn’t work some pop-n-lock into his routines with Marissa Jaret Winokur on Dancing with the Stars.
But the highlights of the night were the two farewell performances by Max Kozhevnikov & YuliaZagoruychenko. The performed an exciting Matrix-inspired showdance, and they reprised their "Hip Hip Chin Chin" routine. Max & Yulia, you will be missed.