The end is here for Dancing with the Stars season 21. The two-night finale kicks off with the Final 4 couples performing twice, including the Freestyles. But at the end of the night, one couple will go home and only three will have a chance to win the Mirror Ball Trophy on Tuesday.

'Dancing with the Stars' Recap: The Final 4 and the Freestyles

Which Freestyle will be the coolest? What creative concepts will the judges come up with to give the couples? Who will go home?

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The first round will be Judges’ Choice, followed by the Freestyles. Meghan Trainor and others are also here to perform and fill time since we have two hours and only eight dances.

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson: Foxtrot

Bruno Tonioli gives Carlos help with his shoulders to improve from when he did the Foxtrot in week 2. It’s an intense routine that feels more like an Argentine Tango in its tone, full of passion and power. The judges love how sexy and dynamic it is.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

Finally, his FIRST perfect score! I have a feeling we’re gonna see at least four more 30s tonight.

Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold: Rumba

Carrie Ann Inaba brings back the Rumba, which he did with Emma Slater during the Switch-Up. It’s harder for him to be sexy with Lindsay since she’s like his sister. It’s fine and kind of passionate, and there are moments that have nice flow. But there’s also some stomping and very little hip action. This proves once again that he only excels at the stiff, classical ballroom routines like Waltz and Tango, but he can’t do the Rumba.

Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9=27

Are you kidding me with this crap? Why do we even have judges’ scores if a mediocre Rumba with almost no hip action gets all 9s?

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess: Jive

Julianne Hough has them redo the Jive from week 2, which was the only time he got 7s all season. Cool Nick is definitely back with a high-energy routine set to Bruno Mars’ “Runaway Baby.” It’s fast, furious, fun, and full of fabulous footwork. The judges praise the content and the amazing performance.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

This is the problem with giving Carlos a 30 right away because this is A LOT better than his Foxtrot and it’s definitely a lot more than just 3 points better than Alek.

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough: Quickstep

Carrie warns Derek to follow the rules and not go rogue-like he sometimes does. It doesn’t help that Derek is sick in rehearsals, coughing all the time. The routine itself is jam-packed with content, which isn’t easy with the Quickstep. Her stamina is impressive since these routines are longer than usual. The judges praise the content and call it a gem.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

Everybody gets a perfect score tonight (except Alek). Seriously, why even bother with scores? Just let them dance and make the viewer voting determine the results.

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson: Freestyle

They’re combining Hip-Hop and Salsa. Witney wants to make a great production with troupe members, but Carlos points out that he doesn’t think they should have “Wow” moments that don’t include them. It seems they are allowed to use past contestants, so they bring in Alexa plus Hayes Grier and Paula Deen to do cameos. It’s insane and super cool. The cameos are short and delightful, but the Hip-Hop is really what sells the routine. It’s just a fun, big party celebrating his time on the show and the friends he made. The judges praise how generous he was to bring in friends and family.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

Anything less than a 30 for a Freestyle is an embarrassment.

Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold: Freestyle

They’ve decided to recreate an obstacle course and climb an 8-foot wall that presents some serious problems in rehearsal. I love the combat-themed costumes and there are some cool power moves involved. It’s a clever routine that does a great job of making an impressive piece without too much dancing. Carrie thinks people will remember it three to five years from now.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

So tonight we’re getting seven perfect scores.

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough: Freestyle

Huh, why are we changing the order? For once, Derek is going to strip down his Freestyle and not add a bunch of troupe members and gimmicks. That’s new for him and the routine is about Bindi’s dad. It’s simple, beautiful, raw, and powerful. It ends with an overhead shot as the ballroom floor is turned into CGI sand with footprints appearing, representing her father walking with them. Dear God, this is some emotional stuff. This is the kind of thing usually reserved for a Chmerkovskiy, reminding me of the Freestyles with Meryl Davis, Janel Parrish, and Rumer Willis.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

She just won the Mirror Ball, and much as I don’t want Derek to get a sixth win, Bindi deserves it.

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess: Freestyle

They’re dancing to “Larger Than Life” by the Backstreet Boys. He wants to go out with a bang, so there’s gonna be a lot of spectacle. I adore Nick and BSB, but I don’t really think it’s that impressive. The whole thing feels more like a performance from last night’s American Music Awards than  DWTS Freestyle. But he did a great job with it for what it was.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

For the third season in a row, all of the Freestyles got perfect scores.


After a night with seven perfect scores, it’s time to eliminate one couple. Ooh, it seems they actually did combine the scores and votes from the past two weeks.

The first couple in the FINAL 3 is…Alek and Lindsay!


The second couple in the FINAL 3 is…Bindi and Derek!

No duh.

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson ARE ELIMINATED!

Oh well, neither PenaVega made it to the finale. At least now there’s a little bit of suspense tomorrow because Nick is the only serious competition for Bindi. Tomorrow at 9 pm we’ll see the two-hour finale with lots of special performances, plus the 24-hour fusion challenge (where Bindi and Nick will both get another perfect score while Alek might get a 27).


60: Bindi Irwin, Nick Carter
57: Alek Skarlatos

(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.