Eeeek, it’s down to the final three and I don’t know about you, but for me choosing just one team to root for is like “Sophie’s Choice” if Sophie had three sets of strangely talented conjoined twins and that unfortunate Holocaust theme wasn’t involved. But if I was placing a money bet, that would be easier. I’m putting my money on Evan, unless he throws up on the dance floor or spends his dance time quota making longwinded political statements. From my in-depth and scientific surveying (I talked to my friends), it seems everyone is kind of leaning toward Evan because he’s a little better than Erin but didn’t start from the same high water mark as Nicole. And, if you’re me, you give him a pity vote because his partner seems to secretly loathe him and he’s just so nice and so dull you just want to pat him on the head and give him a cookie. But enough about Evan, it’s time for dancing!

[Full recap of Monday's (May 24) "Dancing with the Stars" after the break...]
 
Erin and Maks
Make that almost time for dancing. Before Erin and Maks can get to their redemption dance, we have to see footage of Bruno crashing their rehearsal and shrieking “Look at your ass! Look at YOUR ASS!” Which strikes me as being particularly difficult to do, but then I remembered they have mirrors. Anyway, Bruno gives Erin tips on how to make her samba sexier. Erin somehow accomplishes this, which is impressive, given that Bruno usually just sounds a whole hella lotta incomprehensible crazy.
 
The Dance: Okay, the whole ending a dance by kissing Len thing is pretty cliché at this point. But Erin actually seems to be enjoying herself this time around. Her moves are more fluid, there’s no deer caught in the headlights looks, and there’s some of the fire we see between her and Maks in rehearsal actually showing up on the dance floor. Girlfriend’s much more confident this time around, and it makes a big difference. Big enough to beat Evan and Nicole, I don’t know, but she’s definitely up there.
 
Judges Say: Len thanks Maks for keeping his clothes on, then gives Erin props for improving. Bruno, of course, has a fit and tells Erin she’s hotter than noon in the tropics, then begins jerking around like a crazed bobblehead. Carrie Ann thought Erin moved up by three notches. Why three notches, I have no idea. But suffice it to say, everyone thought she did pretty well.
 
Score: 29. I’m a little surprised. Erin danced well, but when Nicole has yet to hit the floor, it’s a little risky to be throwing tens at pretty good.
 
 
Evan and Anna
Len visits Evan and Anna to coach them on the Viennese waltz. Len seems like a very good coach. Maybe Anna needs to spend some time with Len. Or Evan needs to dance with Len. C’mon, it’s the 21st century, it’s time ballroom got with it.
 
The Dance: Oh crap, did I just see skater feet? Obviously, Evan is miles better than he was in week one, but I’m a little worried. At the beginning of the dance, he looked stressed, but loosened up and started smiling in a groom on top of the wedding cake kinda way halfway through. I feel bad for Evan and Anna that they had to dance a friggin’ waltz, which isn’t as fun and sexy as a samba and tends to look forced unless it’s between two professionals. Truth told, this is a little on the dull side, and when you combine a dull dance with a dull guy (sorry, Evan), it’s like television Tylenol PM.
 
Judges Say: Bruno said he liked the connection between the two of them. Carrie Ann says it was an emotional, enchanting dream. Len said Evan collapsed a little bit in his standing at times, but overall did a very good job.

Score: 28. This seems about right, unfortunately. It’s comparing apples and oranges, but for pure confidence and comfort on the dance floor, Erin definitely outshone Evan. Fingers crossed Evan and Anna bring it in the freestyle.
 
 
Nicole and Derek
 
Carrie Ann comes in to coach Derek and Nicole on the rumba. Carrie Ann wants Nicole to connect to Derek and stop worrying about the steps. Nicole is determined to live the dance. Do we even need to see this? Nicole always wants to bring it, Derek always wants to challenge her, yada yada yada.
 
The Dance: Boy, this is a bad cover of “Lady in Red.” Holy crap, Nicole ends the song by propping herself up sideways, holding on to Derek with one leg. How is that even possible? Really, Nicole is in a league of her own in this competition. But the thing is, she’s been in a league of her own since the beginning of the show. She’s improved, yes, but as I recall, her first rumba was pretty good, too. If you listen to Erin and Maks, the point of “DWTS” is to show improvement. And, if that’s really the barometer, Nicole has only been able to add a plus to her existing A grade.
 
Judges Say: Carrie Ann thought it was mesmerizing. Except for the lift at the end. WTF? Okay, yes, technically, Derek picked Nicole up as the music was fading out. But come on! I can’t decide if I’m pissed at Derek for screwing up or Carrie Ann for being such a stickler. Dammit! Len loved the subtlety, but does think she lacked confidence at times. Bruno starts rolling Rs and says it was superlative.
 
Score: 28. Nicole looks like she’s ready to haul off and slug Derek, and I can’t blame her. This would have been, at worst, a 29 if not for the lift. Derek tells Brooke Burns he feels a lot of responsibility, which he should. I mean, they’re just dancing for a stupid mirror ball trophy, not even big wads of money or a trip to Tahiti, but it would blow to lose the whole thing on a technicality.
 
 
Erin and Maks
 
Maks wants to do a contemporary/lyrical freestyle to tell the story of Erin and Maks. Um, this could either be a disaster or R-rated or, perhaps, an R-rated disaster. He asks choreographer Mandy Moore, who has done great things on “So You Think You Can Dance,” to help out. This should be interesting. And you may want to ask young children to leave the room for this one, unless you like explaining the birds and the bees during prime time.
 
The Dance:  The minute I saw that the dance of Erin and Maks had a big bed right in the middle of it, I could not stop laughing. Wow, this isn’t on the nose or anything. There’s lots of rolling around on the bed, which doesn’t look so much like dancing as rolling around on the bed. I’m not sure if this risk pays off, although I think Erin committed to portraying herself as kind of a mattress back admirably. Still, this dance just seems out of place on this show, to say nothing to whole “hey, look, we’re screwing! A lot!” subtext, which is pretty tacky, honestly. Plus, I have a sneaking suspicion Len is rolling his eyes on the sidelines, but that’s just me.  
 
Judges Say: Len says they took an enormous risk, then admits he liked it but didn’t love it. Why am I not surprised? Bruno agrees it was a risk, and thinks some of the moves were incredibly well done. Carrie Ann loved it, but thought there was one stumble during the bed tossing. Maks explains it wasn’t the bed they rehearsed on. Which, I’m assuming, was in his apartment. Just saying.
 
Brooke asks Erin what the hell they were thinking by doing a contemporary freestyle, and Erin admits they just wanted to be different than Nicole and Evan. I think they may have been just different enough to get knocked out of the competition, honestly.
 
Score: 26. Not a great score for the finals, I’m afraid.
 
 
Evan and Anna
 
Uh-oh. In rehearsals, Evan wants to take risks. Anna wants to pout and cry and freak out. Anna is having choreography block, which is like writer’s block but involves wearing yoga pants. So, she calls choreographer Bobby Newberry, who has a Mohawk, so he should be all about the risks. Now, Anna and Evan are excited about their freestyle, problem solved, cue the Disney music. Gee, it’s always such a nail biter in these walk-ups, isn’t it?
 
The Dance: Oh no, Evan has that Ed Grimley hairstyle again. Nooooo! And crapballs, what’s with the highwaters and white socks? And the bowtie! Oh ma god, what, is this supposed to be “Footloose” meets “Revenge of the Nerds”? Whatever.

The good news is, this is an upbeat, high energy number, and Evan really comes alive once you pick up the beat. The basic truth is, he usually seems a little miserable doing the pretty dances, but you let him rock out and he’s a happy boy. And, while Evan seems to be having a ball, this is not a great routine. Bobby Newberry and his Mohawk did not deliver. Evan’s moves start to get loosey-goosey halfway through, as if they didn’t have enough rehearsal time, and it’s just kind of a mess that doesn’t seem to have enough structure or, specifically, connection between Evan and Anna. Evan’s just flapping his arms around like he’s being electrocuted, and I think he’d have really benefited from being able to, I don’t know, dance with Anna instead of dance alongside her. I know Anna doesn’t really like the guy, but come on. 
 
Judges Say: Bruno says it looked like Evan had a screw loose, but he went for it. Carrie Ann tells them it was odd, but great energy. Len thought it was the path of least resistance and it wasn’t what he wanted to see. I think Evan and Anna are in big, big trouble.
 
Score: 24. Evan says it feels good to get this rotten score, but he’s got to be kidding, right? This is hugely disappointing. I was sure Evan was going to blow us away in the finale. And now, well, I’m doubting he’s going to make it to the final two.
 
 
Nicole and Derek
 
In rehearsal, Derek is doing lifts he’s never done before. I’m guessing he means lifts he’s never done in this competition, because really, I know Nicole is good, but I wouldn’t use her as a crash test dummy.
 
The Dance: I know it’s supposed to be cute that they’re wearing matching black suits, but Derek, you dumbass, I can’t see what either of you are doing! As ugly as the yellow shoes are, they at least make their feet stand out. Oh, now they’ve stripped down, good move. Still, even though this wasn’t my favorite dance of theirs, it’s pretty great… until the ending, when Derek almost dumps Nicole on the ground in a horribly botched lift. This is nightmarish. Derek, in trying to push Nicole and himself to do more than any other couple in “DWTS” history, has pushed too far. Literally, Derek, not Nicole, is screwing up their chances for a mirror ball left and right. Nicole, you are cordially invited to kick his little blond ass.
 
Judges Say: Carrie Ann says it was the freestyle they’d all been waiting for, but that it killed her when they slipped on the last lift. Len saw the salsa, the jive, the samba and fun. Bruno thinks it was amazing, and said the slip at the end was only because they tried to do what has never been done. True dat.
 
Brooke asks Nicole why the hell she didn’t try hip-hop. Nicole wanted to push herself, duh. Then, Derek begs for votes. Which he should, because he’s the one who messed everything up.
 
Score: 27. Wow, this is one of Nicole’s worst showings, and it’s the damn FINALS. They’re still at the top of the leader board, but only because Evan and Anna blew it and poor Erin thought it was a good idea to roll around on a mattress for her last dance.
 
 
Have to say, I had high expectations for this episode, and I’m sorely disappointed. The worst part of it is, the fault really lies with the pros, not the celebrities, who did their level bests but were either pushed too far, given crappy routines or encouraged to take risks that didn’t pay off. At this point, it seems like Erin might come from behind and win the whole thing, which would be fine if I didn’t feel like her competitors got tripped by their partners on the way to the finish line.
 
Do you think Nicole should have been docked for Derek’s mistakes? Do you think Anna’s bad choreography cost Evan the mirror ball? Who do you think should win – and has your opinion changed?