As she has almost every week, Brooke Burke topped the leaderboard in the final round of Dancing with the Stars 7.
The show began with a series of segments in which the couples chose their favorite Standard and Latin dances from the season. Those performances were replayed in their entirety. Brooke Burke & Derek Hough picked their Quickstep and Paso Doble, Lance Bass & Lacey Schwimmer chose their Tango and Mambo, and Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson selected their Viennese Waltz and Paso Doble.
Then, siblings Craig & Samantha were named the winners of the season’s Ballroom Kids competition, and they danced their winning Jive. Given her knack for hamming it up on camera, I’d like to see junior Samantha take over co-hosting duties from Samantha Harris.
After the performance, the announcer unexpectedly proclaimed, "Live from Hollywood, this is Dancing with the Stars." If this marked the official beginning of the Performance Show, then what the hell had I been watching for the last 30 minutes?
Round 1 — Samba Smackdown
All three couples danced to the same song, performing some group choreography and solos, and everyone did well. The workload was most evenly distributed between Brooke & Derek (as opposed to Lacey, who overdanced a bit and distracted me from Lance’s performance), and they get my votes for this dance. Len Goodman called Brooke "the sensation of Season 7." Bruno Tonioli told Warren, "Your sense of fun compensates for, obviously, your lack of technique." Carrie Ann Inaba said that Lance had "momentum" after his high scores last week.
Brooke & Derek: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…10 = 28/30
Lance & Lacey: Carrie Ann…9, Len…8, Bruno…9 = 26/30
Warren & Kym: Carrie Ann…9, Len…7, Bruno…9 = 25/30
Brooke Burke & Derek Hough
Dancing to "You’re the One That I Want" from Grease, the routine was pretty much non-stop tricks. Bruno yelled, "Follow that! You are the one that we all want!" Carrie Ann said, "Tonight, Brooke, Derek, you brought it." Len said, "That was, I think, the best freestyle I’ve ever seen."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…10, Len…10, Bruno…10 = 30/30
Lance Bass & Lacey Schwimmer
The hip-hop routine was good, but not as flashy as Brooke & Derek’s routine. Carrie Ann said, "I thought what you did was fantastic, but then there was one little section [of Cha Cha moves] that threw it off." Len said, "I was really pleased with it." Bruno said the routine had "creativity and wit."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…9 = 27/30
Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson
They paid tribute to Tina Turner by dancing to "Proud Mary." Len said, "This show is not only about dancing, it’s about entertainment. And as an entertainer, you have no one that touches you." Bruno said, "With you, all resistance is futile. Lay back, and enjoy the ride." Carrie Ann said, "In all honesty, out of all the routines, that one was my favorite. But I saw a mistake."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…10, Bruno…9 = 28/30
Judges’ Leaderboard (60 points possible)
58 — Brooke & Derek
53 — Lance & Lacey, Warren & Kym
For me, the judges’ scores say it all: Brooke Burke is this season’s best dancer. For me, that outweighs any arguments for entertainment value or improvement that can be made in support of Warren and Lance — though they both deserve credit for those achievements. Go Brooke & Derek!