It’s finale week on Dancing with the Stars! Four couples remain and tonight’s episode features the beloved Freestyle round. Amy Purdy, Meryl Davis, James Maslow and Candace Camerone Bure are all competing for the Mirror Ball Trophy, but only three couples will move on to tomorrow’s finale.

Who will be eliminated in fourth place? Will Mark Ballas’ injury cause problems for Candace? And will the judges just hand out 10s to everyone? In addition to the Freestyles, all of the stars will do the dance styles they did during the Switch-Up Challenge, only this time they get to do them with their actual partners.

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Mark’s arm is in a sling when he walks out. That’s not a good sign. James is wearing a suit jacket with nothing underneath. That’s a good sign.

Thankfully, there’s no guest judge tonight. In the first round, all of the stars will repeat the styles from Switch-Up week.

James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: Tango

It’s a sensual and tight Tango with a passionate kiss in the middle. It certainly plays to their strengths as the resident “Will they or won’t they?” couple of the season. The judges love it, as I suspect they will everything tonight. Carrie Ann Inaba liked that his butt was under, which was nice, but he was a tad uptight and rigid.

Judges’ Scores: 9+10+10=29

I suspect that’s one of the only 9s will see tonight.

Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Argentine Tango

Seeing as how Meryl’s Switch-Up Argentine Tango with Val and her regular Tango with Maks are both in my Top 3 dances of the season (a list that will be coming tomorrow before the finale), this is a slam-dunk. Not only is the dancing impeccable, but there are so many lifts and tricks that add to the level of difficulty, including one where Meryl somehow jumps backwards around Maks. The athleticism and skill is remarkable, as is Maks stepping up his choreography and giving her things no other star could do. Great, now Meryl is probably going to have three Tangos in my Top 5 for the season.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

I still think they were underscored.

Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: Quickstep

On Sunday they were rehearsing and Mark fell during a lift. He was wriggling around on the ground in pain, so you know it hurt. However, he was cleared by the doctors, removes the sling and dances. It’s not terrible, but there are definitely moments when it looks like he’s dragging her along. The judges are nice, but seem to be taking it easily on her because she got so emotional during rehearsals, her partner got injured and she has such a tough style.

Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9=27

The judges are way too nice. That deserved at least one 8, or three.

Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: Salsa

Her back is still spasming during rehearsals. It’s a pretty good routine, especially for her. Of course there are a ton of the typical lifts where Derek holds her and the audience goes wild, and I’m not a fan of the part where Amy seems to tiptoe for about 10 seconds. The judges go insane like they just saw the most amazing thing ever. I actually think this was a good routine, but it’s hard to take the judges seriously since they always freak out over Amy. They’re the judges who cried wolf.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

If she fell down, her legs popped off and she punched Bruno Tonioli in the face, she’d still get a 30.

And now it’s time for the FREESTYLES! We can tweet to decide which Freestyle will be reprised tomorrow. We already know it’s going to be Amy and Derek, so why even bother.

James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: Freestyle

His brother was in a horrific motorcycle accident and was in a coma for three months. That moment made him focus on pursuing his dreams. Aww, just when I thought I couldn’t love him any more.

His Freestyle is a bad-ass hip-hop routine where he’s channeling Channing Tatum in Magic Mike. It’s largely a group number, but the individual parts are awesome. James is sexy, and then he does a backflip off a wall and pulls out a giant stick to do some karate moves. Wow, I did not know he had that secret talent in his box. It’s so damn cool and youthful, with a little martial arts thrown in. This is a perfect Freestyle to represent everything he is.

Judges’ Scores: 10+9+10=-29

Go suck an egg, Cranky Old Len Goodman.

Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Freestyle

He personal story is mostly about ice-skating, and her big challenge was dyslexia. Sorry, but on a season where a girl has no legs, being dyslexic doesn’t seem that bad. They also talk a lot about how Maks is bringing out a different side of Meryl, one that’s more emotional and passionate as opposed to the brother/sister vibe she has with Charlie White.

Her Freestyle is a beautiful Contemporary routine that is simply stunning. She may excel with the technical skills, but this is all about the raw emotion of their union and journey. It also had extreme athleticism and tons of lifts, all of which flowed effortlessly. The judges rave about how it’s a flawless piece of art.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

Again, how on Earth can this dance get the same score as Amy’s Salsa? The two aren’t even in the same league. A least Len says it should be an 11 and Bruno holds up an extra 1 paddle.

Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: Freestyle

Her journey is all about growing up on Full House and being a little chubby while in the spotlight. Then she became a mom and her kids (and God) became her entire world.

Her Freestyle starts off with Candace as D.J. Tanner, only she’s an actual deejay. It’s a funny concept, but doing a funky Freestyle doesn’t seem appropriate for her. Carrie Ann dares to criticize her because groove is so clearly not in Candace’s heart. It makes me wish we were seeing a Freestyle by Charlie. Or Danica. Or Cody. Or even NeNe.

Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8=24

OK, that kind of makes up for her scores in the first round.

Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: Freestyle

Her personal story is…well, you know. She thought she was going to die and then had her legs amputated and learned to cope because she wanted to snowboard again.

Her Freestyle is everything she’s done all season, lots of lifts which get big cheers. It ends with her getting on one of those Cirque du Soleil ropes, being lifted in the air and spinning around. It gets a huge applause, but it’s not dancing at all. So yes, it’s very representative of everything she’s done this season. Carrie Ann starts to point out that she thought there were too many lifts, but then she started to dance and she loved it. There really wasn’t that much dancing. At least Len dares to say he didn’t think the rope part was necessary.

Judges’ Scores: 10+9+10=29

Thank you, Len. The audience boos, but there’s no way on Earth Amy deserves the same score as Meryl. All of Erin Andrews’ questions are about Derek’s choreography and Amy’s story, because those are the only two things this couple is about, not dancing.


Now it’s time for one couple to be eliminated. Seeing as how tonight’s scores are a 60, 59, 58 and then a 51, it’s painfully obvious who SHOULD be eliminated.

The first couple in the Final 3 is…Meryl and Maks!
The second couple in the Final 3 is…Amy and Derek!
The third couple in the Final 3 is…Candace and Mark!

James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd ARE ELIMINATED!

Bull-freaking-s***! I hate all of those people who waste their votes on Candace just because she’s a God-loving mom, because that’s the ONLY reason she’s in the Final 3. And since she’s way behind on the leaderboard, there’s absolutely no way she wins.

On the bright side, I have to assume that Candace will help split the “Inspirational Story” vote, because all of the people who vote for her probably would’ve switched to Amy if she was eliminated. People who voted for James clearly respond to talent, so they’ll hopefully go for Meryl.

Tomorrow night it’s the DWTS two-hour finale at 9pm. The three remaining couples will perform one last time to add to their totals and the Mirror Ball Trophy will be awarded. There will also be a ton of performances, most notable Meryl and Charlie dancing together.


60 (35.3 percent): Meryl Davis
59 (34.7 percent): Amy Purdy
51 (30 percent): Candace Cameron Bure

(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.