'Dancing With the Stars': The Finale

Look at this: The finale actually has some serious drama going on.

Kristi has clobbered the competition almost all the way through. The girl lost only two weeks out of 10. How much better can a competitor do? But, hey, on this show, ya never know.

Quickly, one side note: Usher. Wow. The Man. Can. Dance. (And sing, of course). Excellent selection for the finale.

Onward. There isn't much waiting around before Cristian gets the boot. Which is a little sad, given how much he threw himself into this thing after getting hurt, but still, it's not surprising. For weeks, the only one with a real shot at beating Kristi has been Jason, who has the charisma, the body, the charm, the grace, the biceps, the charm...

All the other competitors return, of course, and Adam Carolla (insert eye roll) tries to get his few minutes of fame with his cracks about how the show is so perfectly apple-pie America. His bit is complete with lame Steve Guttenberg joke, blah, blah. Never have found the man funny.

Shannon tries to redeem herself for all her earlier whining about the judging with a "heartfelt" thanks. Blah, blah. Never have found the woman interesting.

There's a cute tribute to Jason and Cristian's "bromance" and a lot of chatting with former contestants (love Drew Lachey for calling the mirror ball a "hideously ugly trophy"). There is lots of pandering to the a-woman-should-finally-win theme. (Yes, a woman should, but because she kicks butt, period).

The showdown set-up plays off the athlete theme, with the "football hero" pitted against the "Olympic champion." There seems to be much effort to reinforce just how teensy Kristi looks standing beside Mr. 6-Foot-6 Football Hero.

When it finally comes to the actual competition, Kristi dances first. She--no surprise here--chooses the jive she did in Week 5 that earned her first 30. There's a "gasp!" moment when she catches her heel in her skirt, but wow, does she manage to shake that puppy loose and move on without losing her concentration for even a moment. Bravo. So bravo that the judges cite her brilliant composure and it seems clear from the minute they all speak that there's no way that little faux pas is going to take away her final 10s. Which it doesn't, of course, so Kristi gets a grand slam 90 for the two nights.

At this point, even perfection puts Jason well in the hole on the judges' end, so it's all about the viewers. And let's face it, viewers do love the football heroes. (Emmitt over Mario Lopez, anyone?). And what's not to love about this guy? Except, perhaps, the fact that he just isn't as good. Sorry, Jason, but it's true.

That said, he goes out afire, repeating the quickstep that gave him the win over Kristi in Week 7. Remember how Len told him after that dance that it made him worthy of the finals--then refused to cough up the 10, leaving a disappointed Jason with a 29? Ah, well, this time Len not only gives him the 10, but he also states the obvious (but awkward) fact that "Kristi may be the judges' champion, but you're the people's champion." Crowd clearly agrees, from the cheering. Bruno declares Jason and Edyta "heavenly bodies" and Carrie Ann calls him a "force of nature" and acknowledges it's a showdown of a night.

After some feet-dragging and intentionally tense moments, the winner is...Kristi! Jason is a totally class guy, says she deserves it, smiles and looks all gracious. (Don't you wonder, though, if Edyta -- who has been on all six seasons and never won -- isn't home weeping in her Vitamin water?) The boys (as in Jason and Cristian) hoist Kristi on their shoulders and carry her around, then Derek decides to do the same for Mark, and the confetti rains down and it's over and out.

Anybody out there want to dispute that this was the only fair outcome? Log on to chat live today at noon on washingtonpost.com.


Jennifer Frey  |  May 21, 2008; 8:54 AM ET Dancing With the Stars
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He was totally lipsyncing - so yeah he can dance but I don't know about singing...

Posted by: Usher- schmusher | May 21, 2008 9:46 AM

Does anyone else think that her partner was a little much 'all over her' when they won? You could kind of tell from the way she was half heartedly hugging/holding him off that she wasn't comfy...

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2008 9:48 AM

Usher sure is a great studio musician. When you have a shot of him 'singing' with his mouth closed it kinda blows the image.

And while I also despise Carolla, I liked his shpiel here and when he was expelled from the party.

Posted by: Jeff | May 21, 2008 10:42 AM

"Does anyone else think that her partner was a little much 'all over her' when they won?"


Posted by: mark | May 21, 2008 11:00 AM

Relieved that Kristi won - so deserved it. I was a fan of her skating but still impressed she could master dances AND look like a professional dancer - she should make this a second career.

But I am now so IN LOVE with Jason and Christian. I will now watch Miami Dolphins just to see Jason - though it won't be as good with the uniform on. Still..
Yeah, they are both great looking BUT more importantly had terrific personalities and senses of humor. Good looking jerks aren't worth another minute. Shannon Elizabeth is example - pretty, nice figure but SO ANNOYING..

Agree that Mark Ballas was physically inappropriate with Kristi after win, but I have thought him odd all season. Obviously good dancer, but certainly not better than other men, and with zip personality. Seems immature - unlike Derek Hough who while young, communicates like someone 10 years older. He lucked out with Kristi as his partner.

I think the male pro dancers most deserving of recognition are Tony (partnering Marissa), Fabian (Marlee), and Louis (Prisilla). All were gracious and helped each lady overcome her fear and dancing weaknesses.

It annoys me that Mark Ballas shares the title with Kristi. It also seems that his famous dancing parents had something to do with his getting the most-likely-to-succeed female partner. That's the buzz, and if you click on ABC's DWTS website and read judge bios, it becomes pretty transparent.

Posted by: guiltypleasure | May 21, 2008 11:27 AM

I think it's quite refreshing that the actual best dancer actually finally won. So often that doesn't happen in popularity contests - including previous editions of this show.

And - Guiltypleasure - if you don't know that tight football pants can be very sexy - you're just not from football country! :-)

Posted by: Jean | May 21, 2008 12:03 PM

Actually Jean, I do watch football and totally dig the tight pants. But I want to stare at Jason's perfectly chiseled face, gleaming sweet smile, beautiful eyes, and listen to his charming voice/personality. So, the helmet's a problem already.

I look forward to seeing more of him in the future.

In the meantime, I'm totally celebrating Kristi's deserved win.

Posted by: guiltypleasure | May 21, 2008 3:02 PM

Glad Kristi won--she totally deserved it.

I know some people have said this season of DWTS was boring, but I enjoyed it. I don't think there was a contestant or a pro that truly disliked--not even Adam or Shannon. Everyone seemed like they were getting along, everyone tried hard; it was great fun.

Sorry I missed the chat earlier today. Many thanks for doing these DWTS recaps for us, Jennifer.

Posted by: alex | May 21, 2008 3:18 PM

Has anyone figuered out how the producers come up with the song selections? How do they justify having one couple dance a cha-cha to a rock and roll song like "Thriller", and another couple get to cha-cha to something with a definite latin beat?

Oroville, CA

Posted by: Tresclub | May 21, 2008 7:48 PM

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