The end is almost here on Dancing with the Stars. The season 22 winner will be crowned tomorrow, but first, the three remaining couples will all perform twice tonight for more points and votes. Paige VanZant, Ginger Zee, and Nyle DiMarco will each get a chance to redeem themselves by redoing a style they’ve already performed before heading into the Freestyles.

'Dancing with the Stars' Recap: Freestyles for the Final 3

The scores and votes from tonight will be combined with the scores and votes from last week and the scores for tomorrow’s 24-hour fusion challenge to determine the winner. Can Paige become the first non-Olympic female athlete to win? Will Nyle be the show’s second-youngest male winner ever (after 25-year-old Apolo Anton Ohno)? Will Peta or Val join the very exclusive list of pros with multiple Mirror Balls (Derek, Mark, Julianne, Cheryl, and Kym)? Or will Mark Ballas join his pal Derek Hough as the only pros to win more than twice?

LIVE…from Hollywood…this is the Finals of Dancing with the Stars!

First up are the Redemption dances, so we’ll end the night with the Freestyles. Tom Bergeron claims it’s the closest finale in years, with all three couples within 3 percent of each other based on last week’s votes and scores.

Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovskiy: Contemporary

She’s getting redemption from her letdown performance from Most Memorable Year Night. They’re using parts of all their routines this season, but she injured her pelvis this week cutting down on rehearsal time. Is it fair for her to get to do Contemporary AND a Freestyle for the finale? It’s a nice, emotional dance and I love the elements from their previous dances that make it all about her journey. She moves nicely and there are plenty of lifts, but her movement does seem slightly limited with the injury. Carrie Ann Inaba praises the strategy of making this a medley of their greatest hits.

Judges’ Scores: 9+10+9=28

Len Goodman is too nice. That’s the first time that sentence has ever been written.

Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd: Quickstep

He’s getting redemption for his Mask routine, aka the night he claimed he was as good as Val. Peta is being a taskmaster for technique. For some reason, they use a cowboy theme. It’s a fine routine, but so far I’m not impressed by either of these first two dances, especially for the finale. The judges loved the amount of content, but point out that he lost a little precision in the footwork. There’s no real redemption here.

Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9=27

Nobody gets an 8 on finale night.

Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas: Salsa

They’re getting redemption for week 2 when Mark was injured and couldn’t perform. He’s determined to do the move that made him slip a disc last time. She’s definitely a “Fireball” and this dance is everything I love about Paige. It’s fast, fun, and sexy without being slutty. This dance was an exclamation point and a definitive statement that she deserves to win. Grumpy Len didn’t think there was enough hip action. Bruno Tonioli thought she outdanced Mark. Jean-Claude Van Damme supports her because she’s going to be in the new Kickboxer movie with him.

Judges’ Scores: 10+9+10=29

Based on the scores, Len thought Ginger won the first round while Carrie Ann and Bruno thought Paige won. Len is wrong.

Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovskiy: Freestyle

Their Freestyle is an homage to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. They’re not adding a bunch of extras, it’s just them dancing. It’s classic and kind of entertaining, but it’s very uninspiring. There’s a lot of walking around and I feel like her back spasms have severely limited her range of motion. The best part is that Ginger is good at playing this kind of optimistic, cheery character. The judges love that it’s old school.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

Seriously? It looks like a fourth season in a row where every Freestyle will be perfect.

Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd: Freestyle

Peta brought in a Contemporary choreography ringer to create a special routine for them. It’s all about telling a story of how Nyle is spreading hope to the deaf community. Is it fair to bring in a pro to choreograph a winning routine? Probably not, especially since the choreography is stunning, daring, bold and beautiful. It’s very effective and does exactly what it’s supposed to do. The judges are stunned and in awe. Carrie Ann calls it the best dance she’s ever seen. He’s making a compelling case to beat Paige.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

This is the problem with giving Ginger a perfect score because it makes it look as if this and that are the same. They’re not. This is a masterful work of art. Ginger and Val’s Freestyle was just OK.

Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas: Freestyle

Mark’s fiance, BC Jean, is singing live during the performance. The concept is about her being bullied and fighting back. She’s even going back to her hometown where it happened to speak out about bullying. It’s a dance of absolute, raw, powerful, emotional beauty. Her soul is bare and it’s magical. Even Mark cries. It’s a triumph.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

No duh. We now have four seasons in a row where every single Freestyle routine gets a perfect score, making the entire round pointless.

Tomorrow it’s the 24-hour fusion challenge to finish the leaderboard before the winner is revealed.  So far the leaderboard has been right almost every week, so I hope it is again.


118: Paige VanZant
114: Ginger Zee, Nyle DiMarco

(Image courtesy of ABC)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.