Dancing with the Stars recap: Season 26 finale

Dancing with the Stars recap: Season 26 finale:

This recap is going to be short. Just like the season. By now you’ve probably heard which couple won Season 26 of Dancing with the Stars and even though the episode was a paltry hour, I have a few thoughts on what went down.

First of all, Tonya Harding did what she came to do. ABC helped her climb out of a hole she’s been living in for decades and offered her a chance to give herself permission to breathe again. Although she wasn’t my favorite and her past is extremely checkered, I’m glad she feels somewhat redeemed and full of life.

I agree with Len when he announced that Tonya had the hardest dance lineup of all the contestants. The standard ballroom pieces are always hard and she danced one each week. She never had a salsa, or cha-cha-cha, or mambo or anything Latin/fast paced — until last night.

Her Viennese waltz was very basic, very pretty, and very short, which makes sense. Each dancer performed two routines in one hour. All of the judges were in great moods, apart from Carrie Ann who kept telling Tonya that she looked nervous.

Uh, it’s the finals, Carrie Ann. I imagine she is nervous. (Sometimes CA bugs me.)

Here’s what I noticed more than Tonya’s jitters: Sasha’s resting Russian face. He looked like he was holding in an entire season’s worth of anger. Could he have known that Tonya wasn’t going to win? Was he angry at Carrie Ann for raining on his parade so late in the game when we all know the winner has probably been chosen? I’m not sure.

Things shifted a bit in her second dance. Tonya came down from inside the jumbotron (so cool) and proceeded to disco dance her way into the hearts of everyone in the ballroom. She did all that wearing a purple leotard, standing beside her small partner in a purple onesie. All of the JV dancers in the world joined them and they looked like they were having a ball. Everything but the kitchen sink was thrown in for good measure.

Tonya executed a cartwheel three different times, which I found amusing. She also pretended the floor was ice as she zipped across it in a flutter of twists and turns. The thing that I noticed immediately at the end of her dance was how the entire team embraced her. Say what you want about this woman’s personality, but it’s clear that the pros and JV peeps love her.

They also love Sharna, therefore, they really want Josh to win. Unfortunately, no amount of shirtlessness can make that happen. He’s a vision in a powder blue suit, which pops against Sharna’s Kool-Aid red hair, and his ability to lift and fling her makes him an ideal partner. There’s an ease and elegance about him, which made his freestyle all the more entertaining.

Sharna wisely takes off his shirt again for the freestyle and puts him in some football pads. They perform a hybrid of all the ballroom dances. At one point, he picks her up like a wrestler would above his head before a body slam. SO STRONG. Then he ends in a waterfall because that’s what they do in Gatorade commercials.

I didn’t love it, but I appreciated the effort.

Which is exactly how I felt about both of Adam and Jenna’s dances. One was considered jazz. In the world of ballroom, that means community theater. They performed to “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” and lip synced about half the time. They were in solid red tuxedos looking fabulous. It’s clear that their connection is intimate, which is a big check in the YES column for voters. Carrie Ann called them the Wonder Twins. That is an accurate statement.

Since Adam is such a great dancer and has already proven he knows how to do most things, Jenna pushed the envelope right off the edge of a cliff and went super abstract for their freestyle number. Picture everyone in black wigs, brightly colored rhinestone jackets, red fans, and a weird techno beat that one might hear at the club around two in the morning. Jenna’s boots were divine and Adam’s wig reminded me of one of the Three Stooges.

Naturally, the judges hated it. ABC is glad Len and Company didn’t hand out tens like they were candy, because now America can collectively hold our breath wondering if the odd freestyle choice just cost Adam his chance at a mirrorball trophy.

Of course it didn’t.

There were three minutes left until the end of the show and Tom wasted zero seconds before he announced that Adam and Jenna were the winners. Here’s the sad part.

Jenna screamed and jumped up and down. I’m sure she wasn’t all that shocked, but she was clearly ecstatic that she won her first trophy. However, the other contestants and pros didn’t seem to care. They casually gathered around Tonya and Josh and Sharna and Sasha to extend some meh condolences and patted Jenna on the back.

There was a bit of confetti shot from a cannon like the olden days, but no one was hoisted on any backs in a victorious way. Is that because Derek, Mark, and Val weren’t there to hoist? I’m not sure. The finales from that last several seasons have always been a big production. Remember how they have the outside part at The Grove and the inside part at the ballroom and everyone rushes around on golf carts to get from here to there?

The announcement seemed blah. The dancers seemed bored. It makes me sad for both Jenna and Adam. I think the abbreviated season and lack of pomp and circumstance gives the opinion that season 26 was a blow-off year that doesn’t really count.

Although I love Jenna and really hope she celebrates her win by eating a sandwich and drinking a milkshake, I think I agree with the lackadaisical spirit of the games. Here’s hoping the next season is a legitimate length.

Photo By: ABC.com
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2 years ago

Ugh, yes, this season just didn’t feel as important, or even real, to me. It felt like a little practice, filler season. I sure hope this doesn’t happen again–stupid American Idol! I worry that this might be the way it is each spring because of when American Idol airs. BOOOOO! NOOOOOOO! Also, I didn’t particularly like Jenna or Adam, for different reasons, so I wasn’t moved by the win at all. My least favorite season by far, which can mostly be attributed to the short length.

2 years ago

This season felt like a commercial for an actual season. So disappointingly short and because it was so short….the winner was too obvious sooner than usual. I really hope next season is a return to form. American Idol was not worth amputating DWTS like this.

2 years ago

Tom DID say that the next season will be a full one! My ears definitely heard that!

2 years ago

All of the dances were really good week 4 dances (excepts Adams freestyle where they forgot to dance), and it was super annoying that the judges gave out week 10 scores. This season was a waste and I’m sad I wasted time watching. Next season will be back to normal., but I hope this didn’t set a precedence for future spring seasons.

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