'Dancing with the Stars' Recap: The Final 4 Compete
'Dancing with the Stars' Recap: The Final 4 Compete
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
It's finale week on Dancing with the Stars. Only four couples remain, but after tonight, three move on to tomorrow night's finale where one will win the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy.

Not all titles featured on BuddyTV are available through Amazon Prime.


For the entire season, Corbin Bleu and Amber Riley are currently tied with the highest combined scores from the judges. Jack Osbourne has been coming on strong lately, though he still struggles with Latin dances. And Bill Engvall might be a crowd favorite, but he's been at the bottom of the leaderboard five weeks in a row and has a lower average score than each of the last five eliminated couples.

In part 1 of the DWTS finale, the couples will have a judges' choice dance and their freestyles, along with a Samba relay. Who will go home and who will continue to compete for the Mirror Ball?


The show opens with a performance by reigning champion Kellie Pickler. Yawn. Bring on the freestyles! We're starting with the judges' choices.

Bill Engvall and Emma Slater

They are redoing the Viennese Waltz from week 5, the dance that was a tribute to his wife. It's still an emotional and powerful dance, and this is where Bill shines. He's graceful, light on his feet and it's such a sweet routine. Len Goodman thought there was some improvement in the fluidity of the hands, but other parts were still not that great. Birthday boy Bruno Tonioli talks about the honesty of Bill's dancing and how much they like him. It's the finale, so I'm growing tired of the judges acting like Bill actually deserves to be here. Carrie Ann Inaba comes close to being passive aggressive in her comments about how Bill isn't up to the level of the others.

Judges' Scores: 8+8+8=24

He gets the same score as he did back in week 5. That says it all.

Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff

They are redoing the Hollywood night Quickstep where he played a director and she was a leading lady on his casting couch. It got a 26 the first time, and it's fitting that one of his worst is higher than anything Bill has done. This was another dance where Len thought it was too fast. During rehearsals, it's clear that Len wants Corbin to win. I'm in awe of this kid's speed and finesse. It's just extraordinary to watch and it seems even better than when he did it the last time. The judges call him out on being out of sync for a bit due to the speedy footwork and they seem unsatisfied that he didn't improve.

Judges' Scores: 9+9+9=27

Well, the judges may not have seen improvement, but it's at least 1 point better than the last time.

Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke

They are redoing the Jive from week 7, the one where Carrie Ann gave a ridiculous 10, Len gave an 8 and Bruno gave a 9. It's certainly not as good as the last time and he's winded by the end of this hefty routine. The judges all like him, but they acknowledge that it was out of sync and not as good,

Judges' Scores: 8+8+8=24

Ouch, that's a full 3 points worse than last time. Being tied with Bill could make my prediction that Jack is going home accurate.

Amber Riley and Derek Hough

They are redoing the Charleston from week 3, their lowest-scored dance at a 24. Carrie Ann tries to instruct them to be more in sync. The dance is fine, but it suffers from Too Much Derek. He's the star of this number, even mugging for the camera at one point. The judges praise them for lots of improvement, which sets them apart from everyone else.

Judges' Scores: 10+10+10=30

Wow. I'm already resenting a fifth Derek Hough victory.

Samba Relay

All four couples dance one after another to TLC's "No Scrubs." Jack goes first and it makes me sad every time he tries to shake his groove thing. Amber goes next and, with help from an open-shirted Derek, it's steamy. Bill goes third and he's surprisingly good. Corbin closes it out and he's on fire with an impossible back bend.

4th Place: Bill and Emma (2 points)
3rd Place: Jack and Cheryl (3 points)
2nd Place: Amber and Derek (4 points)
1st Place: Corbin and Karina (5 points)

That makes sense, though I'd flip Bill and Jack. Now it's time for what we've all been waiting for: FREESTYLES! We get to tweet about what freestyle we want to see again tomorrow.

Bill Engvall and Emma Slater: Freestyle

They're doing an Indiana Jones routine with Bill as Indy. From the moment he swings onto the floor and swaps a bag of sand for the Mirror Ball Trophy, I'm hooked. It's the perfect way for him to end his run, so much fun, great character work and some surprisingly decent dancing and tricks. There's even some whip work. And his shirt comes off in the end. Once again, the judges use an entirely different criteria for him than they do for everyone else, ignoring actual dancing and focusing entirely on how fun it was.

Judges' Scores: 8+9+8=25

Cranky Len's soft spot is showing as Bill gets his first 9 ever.

Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff: Freestyle

Their inspiration is Michael Jackson and they go to Vegas to meet with MJ's choreographer. They use a ton of crazy, insane tricks to set themselves apart from the crowd, and wow do they succeed. At one point Karina is spun around like a jump rope by four other pros as Corbin leaps over her, and then they do the leaning from the "Smooth Criminal" video with gravity boots. He moonwalks too. Carrie Ann loved it and Len simply gives them a standing ovation.

Judges' Scores: 10+10+10=30

A 30 isn't nearly high enough for what they just did.

Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke: Freestyle

The idea is to show Jack's progress throughout the season. He's in a tuxedo with a top hat. It's very old-fashioned and classic ballroom, which is fine, I suppose. But after Indiana Jones and Michael Jackson, it's just not on the same level. The judges rave about it, and sure, I'm impressed with his progress, but it emphasizes how impossible it is to compare these freestyles.

Judges' Scores: 10+10+10=30

Based on the scores, this was equal to Corbin's Freestyle. That's simply not the case. The fact that Len and Bruno joke about needing an 11 paddle is just preposterous.

Amber Riley and Derek Hough: Freestyle

The last dance of the night features stepping, because Amber used to be on a step team. It also has a country western theme and a bunch of back-up dancers. The result is a larger-than-life spectacle you'd expect from Derek. Amber, however, remains the star and really takes control of the routine. If anything, Derek got lost in the shuffle. The judges love that they made it all about Amber. Len calls her "fast, class and built to last."

Judges' Scores: 10+10+10=30

These judges are just 10-happy.

The Results

After three rounds, Amber and Corbin are at the top with Bill at the bottom. But broken down by percentages, there's only a 5.5 percent difference between first and last, so a large enough voting base might shake things up.

But first, the couples will choose the Fusion dances for tomorrow's performance, where the Top 3 will dance a new routine that combines two styles. And they only have the next 24 hours to choreograph and rehearse it.

Bill and Emma pick Samba/Quickstep for Amber and Derek
Jack and Cheryl pick Cha-Cha/Foxtrot for Corbin and Karina
Corbin and Karina pick Paso/Salsa for Jack and Cheryl
Bill and Emma get Jive/Quickstep

The first couple in the Final 3 is...Amber and Derek!
The second couple in the Final 3 is...Corbin and Karina! (Whew.)

Jack got his first 30 and Bill got his first 9, but now one will go home.

Bill Engvall and Emma Slater are ELIMINATED!

There is a God! His impressive run is finally over, but this is still a remarkable finish for him. Jack and Cheryl seem genuinely shocked, which is cool.

So tomorrow night, either Amber, Corbin or Jack will win the Mirror Ball Trophy. The viewer votes from tonight will be combined with their scores tonight and their scores tomorrow, where they will each perform the 24-Hour Fusion Dance.

The Leaderboard

64: Amber Riley (27.35 percent)
62: Corbin Bleu (26.5 percent)
57: Jack Osbourne (24.36 percent)
51
: Bill Engvall (21.8 percent)


(Image courtesy of ABC)

News from our partners