Dancing with the Stars recap: Season 25 Finals – Part 1

Dancing with the Stars, Season 25 — Finale Part 1

It’s finale night. Do you know what that means? If you’re a Dancing with the Stars fan, you’ll know to expect a few more rhinestones, Erin and Tom to be a little more saucy with their remarks, the contestants wielding a “devil may care” attitude, and there will be a live performance featured by Pitbull. Thanks to an awesome opening number choreographed by Mandy Moore, the season 25 finale is just missing one thing…


It wouldn’t be a finale without the Queen Hough, in a 1940s-inspired crimson ball gown, stepping in as a guest judge and second hour performer. The only other thing missing is…

Derek. But thankfully he is off somewhere making a contemporary music video. Phew.

In this episode, the contestants will perform a redemption dance based on a routine they totally blew earlier in the season. That doesn’t mean they will be dusting off the same old routine from weeks ago. No, they are going to take another stab at the genre. Then they will go into the freestyle round, leaving it all on the dance floor. Let’s do this!

Drew and Emma
Paso Doble
“Get Ready” by Rayelle
Drew attempted the paso in week six. Here’s what I said about it:

Emma choreographs a big group combination in the middle, which as we all suspect, makes the vein in Len’s head pop. In a nutshell, they all enthusiastically hate the number, except Shania.

I’d say Drew has many any number of things he can work on. And what better person to help him channel the power of a bullfighter than a tangerine-tinted Bruno in a hard hat and dainty tool belt. Bruno thinks he’s the dark horse of the competition, so Emma takes that theme and runs with it. Plus she adds some thorns for dramatic effect. Although Drew has so much more control than he did before, he still bobbles here and there with the choreography. Emma borrows some leftover rose petals from The Bachelor to drop from the ceiling to inhibit the judges from seeing mistakes. It didn’t work. Let me say that he did so much better and to use Len’s word, his dancing now has a certain finesse about it. Also, the audience still L-O-V-E-S him.

Frankie and Witney
“I Won’t Dance” by Frank Sinatra
I’m not sure why mentor Carrie Ann didn’t make Frankie perform a do-over of his atrocious Trolls hip-hop debacle. (How can you mess up a movie that is so cute, I ask you?) Instead, she makes him foxtrot like he did way back in week 1. Witney strategically choreographs a routine that is plucked straight out of a Fred and Ginger movie. Frankie is in a classic white tuxedo. Witney is in pale pink with hot pink rhinestones that catch the light in a mesmerizing way. Also — FEATHERS! I love of feather. Moreover — JAZZ HANDS!

The dance is classic, polished, straight out of the Golden Age. However, for some reason, Witney turns it up a notch in the theatrics department, which makes Frankie’s cool, calm, demeanor feel dampened. Two of the judges agree with me, while the other two extend perfect scores.

After the first two contestants redeem themselves, Fifth Harmony slithers out onto the stage. Their routine is featured by Pitbull. One girl looks a lot like Beyoncé, so, good for her. The gold glittery costumes really enhanced the rapping part. I’m glad the JV dancers had the opportunity to writhe to the rhythm in the background.

Jordan and Lindsay
“Bad Man” by Pitbull
Remember when Jordan didn’t get a perfect score during week 3? You know, that one time? Well you can erase that memory from your mind because he’s back in hot pink and Charleston-ing the crap out of the steps. These crazy kids Charleston from beginning to the end. When Jordan leap-frogs Lindsay, I wasn’t that impressed because he does that all the time. But she SHE leap-frogs HIM, I audibly said, “COME ON” to the television. The producers position the audience around the dance floor with glow bracelets like they are at a Taylor Swift concert. (“1989” Taylor Swift, not “Reputation” Taylor Swift.) Even though she has a bum knee and his eyeball is about to fall out, they nailed it.

After that energetic performance, the camera cuts to Tom who is standing with Lionel Richie. Hello? Isn’t it Erin you’re looking for? What’s he doing here? I was confused until I remembered that Lionel is a judge on American Idol. Then I was confused again as to why ABC is touting American Idol, but then I remembered the show has jumped networks. Will I watch? Time will tell…

Mark and Lindsey
“Barflies at the Beach” by Royal Crown Revue
Mark and his wife and Lindsay are touring around the world together, staying up late to practice routines. That’s why Julianne has to critique them from FaceTime. She gives Lindsay one minor tweak and it changes her entire posture. The judges sing its praises! Len really loves it because they stay in hold the entire time. That means they never break form. They never split from each other to do something dumb. It was fast with a lot of content and felt like the longest quickstep I’ve ever seen!

Next up is Julianne who is dancing a routine choreographed by a woman named Marinda Davis who suffers from seven autoimmune diseases that have left her terminally ill. Julianne delivers an emotional piece but the dude who plays her husband stole the show in my opinion. He twirled her around like she was a helicopter and then spun like a top. I loved it.


Emma and Drew
“The Ding-Dong Daddy of the D-Car Line” by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
This dance was no dance. It was more of a smorgasbord of theatrics. Emma had Drew dancing on tables, a jillion acrobatic tricks, a jaunty feature by the Chmerkovskiy brothers where Drew takes a back seat to their dancing. But then Emma does something that was pretty brilliant on her part. There is a bit in the middle where she and Drew stop dancing because they are so tired. It was a Dancing with the Stars version of improving at theater camp. A mid-dance fake out is just what Drew needed to set him apart from the others. He has likability, personality, and a ton of Property Brother fans who absolutely love him. There was a lot of moving parts, bright colors, and tons of energy. Was it the best dance? No. Was it a crowd pleaser? Absolutely.

Witney and Frankie
“Run Boy Run” by Woodkid
Witney decides to take a chance and majorly buck the system. I can’t decide if this is fake or real, but the cameras film a producer telling Witney (over the phone) that the audience would prefer seeing “the fun side” of Frankie, instead of the black leather, powerful dark number she has in mind. Witney says nope, goes with her gut, and calls for the interns to bring her all the lanterns and bamboo sticks they can find.

I get that Witney is trying to go back to the feel of that contemporary dance where Frankie is a psycho stalker staring at her through the window, but this did not translate. Plus, she looks weird doing ballroom dances in tennis shoes. There were so many lights and props. I think Witney was trying to be Mark. But she leans so far out of the box that she falls out. And not in a good way.

Jordan and Lindsay
“Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Taco
This jazzy mix of a class song was built for Jordan and Lindsay. The more I see her choreographer brain work, the more I respect her. This is why I want Lindsay to win the mirrorball trophy. The routine is quite the show stopper with canes and hats and mini stages. There’s free falling and acrobatics and a ton of solo activity courtesy of Jordan. It was Broadway on crack. To quote Carrie Ann, “This is the first time I’m seeing the backup (read: JV) dancers going full out in a routine!”

Lindsey and Mark
“Palladio” by Escala
Remember how I am traditionally “meh” about Mark, but this season I am totally digging his vibe because Lindsey’s freak flag flies the same level as his? This routine embodies that spirit perfectly. I knew it was going to be good when the producers put them last. And I was right.

They are conductors who are swept away by the music. It was highly creative and technically difficult. Instead of me writing about it, why don’t you watch it for yourself:

Incorporating her violin was so, so cool. The only knock I have against it is the wardrobe department’s decision to put Lindsey in doily panties.

Tom and Erin rush all the finalists to the stage. I truly have no idea who is going to be kicked off because everyone brings something to the table. Drew has personality. Frankie is the lovable underdog. Jordan is clearly the best dancer and Lindsey is always joyful and unique.

America spoke and unfortunately the Property Brothers’ groupies didn’t have enough hutzpah to take Drew to the next round. I think this is a good decision and am looking forward to the winner being announced tonight. Who do you think it will be?

Photo By: abc.com
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November 21, 2017 3:10 pm

I can’t stop laughing over you mentioning that Bruno was in a hard hat and a dainty tool belt. So funny!
And why is Pit Bull on here all the time? Is he related to a producer?

November 21, 2017 3:15 pm

Thanks for mentioning Lindsey’s doily panties for the Freestyle Round. Distracting from an excellent and exciting number. Loved. Loved. Loved that she got to play her violin AND dance. She and Mark have had a great season. I’d like her to win. Of course, Jordan and Lindsay are near perfection every week. And Frankie brings so much heart. No matter how the finale turns out, it will be a good decision.

November 21, 2017 3:48 pm

I’m okay with any of the 3 winning. I have not particularly enjoyed this season, but the 3 finalists all deserve to be there.

When Bruno showed up in his hard hat and dainty tool belt, I actually told the tv “He should have borrowed my pink hard hat. It would have gone much better with that dainty tool belt”.

Kevin was not interested, but for those who follow his favorite tv shows, he was extremely interested in the Minions movie (Minions) where his namesake, Kevin (the minion) has a starring role.

November 21, 2017 5:07 pm
Reply to  KELLI

Happy Thanksgiving to Kevin. I look forward to his reactions to The Bachelor contestants next year.
He is such a discerning dog!

December 1, 2017 4:01 pm
Reply to  KELLI

Too funny. Kevin needs his own blog ;-). Looking forward in general to the bachelor recaps; there is not enough sarcasm in my life right now. I knew something was missing and that must be it.

ABC fanatic
ABC fanatic
November 21, 2017 4:08 pm

Wonderful recap, as always! You’re the best! 🙂 I recommend watching TEAM STARK Freestyle twice. Once watching Lindsey & once watching Marks face. I would like to see Stirling or Fisher win, but I think the real competition is between Ballas & Arnold. They both have amazing stars to dance with this season and they are both amazing choreographers. But Arnold deserves her first Mirror-ball. She really, truly does. And I think that is why she was paired with Jordan from the get-go. With the said, Ballas & Sterling are a perfect quirky pair who I just love to watch.… Read more »

Mollie A
Mollie A
November 21, 2017 5:36 pm

Awesome recap, Lincee! For the first time in I don’t know how many seasons, I can honestly say I’m ok with all three finalists as the winner. My vote will go to Lindsey and Mark. I’ve really enjoyed their camaraderie and think he seems to have grown up quite a bit from the last time he was on. Can’t wait to see the finale of the finale tonight!

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