It's finale week on "Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars," and that means the usual rules are out the window. Lifts, hold-breaking, and supersized freestyles are all fair game, and no one knows how to play the game better than Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson.
On Monday night's show, Johnson and her pro partner Derek Hough dared to redo their iconic quickstep, complete with back flips, splits, and mattress diving. While they were dinged for doing this very dance back in week three, the dynamic duo repeated their season-long mantra: "The all-stars season is all about entertaining the audience." (And those standing O's don't hurt, either.)
But the judges frowned on the rule breaking, with Carrie Ann Inaba telling the couple, "I'm sad that you didn't choose to follow the rules, because I think at this point, the points matter."
Ditto for Len Goodman, who said, "You're not allowed to break hold, which you did. You're not allowed to do lifts, which you did." And even the usually liberal Bruno Tonioli said, "What you have achieved is truly sensational, but our scores are bound by the rules."
The bottom line: A total score of 27 points for a dance that was triple-10 worthy.
But for their second dance, Shawn and Derek took another chance. This time, they brought on Shawn's Olympic teammates, The Fierce Five, as dance floor reinforcements. Sure, Gabby Douglas knows how to rock a balance beam, but how about a ballroom?
Turns out it was a finale dance worthy of a gold medal, with 10s all around. The Fierce Five didn't upstage Shawn and Derek, but instead provided the perfect backup for a routine that was chock full of jumping, stretching, and tumbling with a side of tango, mambo, and bhangra.
Len called it "a medley of Derek and Shawn's greatest hits," and although Carrie Ann pointed out that the couple has "been doing freestyles all season," even she had to admit this dance was "supersized and sensational!"
But while Shawn and Derek have been frontrunners in this competition all season, they have two other couples breathing down their necks, most notably Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani, who've never won a mirror ball trophy. The big question for Tuesday night's finale is, "Will viewers vote for the high-scoring never-won couple, or the crazy couple who plays by their own rules?"
Melissa and Tony nabbed perfect scores for both of their dances on Monday night: a redo of their "Conga" samba and a supersized freestyle that focused on them without a lot of extra bodies on the stage. (They had extra dancers in the background, but the showcase was on them.) After their freestyle, Len even said, "I wish I had an 11."
And then there's the super steamy Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy, who still won't spill the beans on whether their intense chemistry is a showmance or a romance. (Brooke Burke-Charvet even asked!) This couple walked into the finals without ever having scored a perfect 10, although that problem was remedied on Monday night after their paso doble and freestyle, which featured a mini violin solo by Val.
With the total judges' scores for the final three couples neck in neck (57, 60, and 59, respectively), the audience vote -- and tonight's "instant" dance -- will determine the winner of the mirror ball trophy.
Tune in to the "Dancing With the Stars" finale on Tuesday, 11/27 at 9 PM EST on ABC.
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