Yay, it’s almost time for us to frantically vote for the season twelve champion! So far, everyone and their dogs (and some dogs, too) seem to be rooting for Hines, but I remain unconvinced. Yes, athletes always seem to win. Yes, Hines is cuddly as a teddy bear and has an equally heartwarming personal story. Yes, Kym deserves the sympathy vote for coming the closest to ending up in a wheelchair. But I’m still giving Chelsea the leg up for one simple reason – she’s just the best dancer. And, saying that, she’ll probably screw up royally tonight. So let the games begin!

 
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas
A judge will be dropping by rehearsal to give each of the celebrities pointers. Carrie Ann is Chelsea’s judge. She wants to see Chelsea’s samba with less perkiness and more sexiness. I agree – Chelsea is adorable, but the samba is not a Disney dance unless a parrot and some cockatiels are doing it while singing and wearing little hats.  
 
Chelsea whips out the spangles and hits the floor. There are definitely a few moments when her shoulders are tighter than I’d like, and it seems like most of the “added sex appeal” is being shown through her pout instead of her upper body. But that being said, it’s still a great dance. So far, so good!

Len admits to being Chelsea’s stalker through the lyrics of a Police song. He’s just kidding… I think. He didn’t love the flaying arms, but he thought it was well-done. Bruno thinks Chelsea is a sexy bombshell. Is it even physically possible for Bruno to give a critique while sitting down? Carrie Ann thought she went the extra mile and it paid off.
 
While we’re on a commercial break, I have a question -- is anyone else waking up with the “DWTS” theme song rattling around in their head? I found myself actually humming it at the grocery store the other day and had to stop my cart to focus on the ‘80s song being piped over the store PA system to flush it out.
 
Oh, we’re back. Chelsea was happy to get Carrie Ann’s advice on sexy dancing. There are some things only a woman can tell you about dancing the samba. There is a joke here and I do not want to tell it.
 
Carrie Ann: 10 Len: 9 Bruno: 10 for a total of 29 out of 30.
 
Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovsky
Bruno is dropping by rehearsal because he has some advice for Kirstie Alley’s samba. He needs her to take her moment. Kirstie has not been taking the moment! Funny, I thought Kirstie always took the moment.
 
Look, I give Kirstie a lot of credit. She lost an entire fifth grader in weight during the course of the season. She’s 60 years old. None of this was easy for her, I’m sure. But at this point in the competition, the difference between her performances and those of Chelsea and Hines is pretty glaring. In this dance, she doesn’t seem to be completely on beat. She’s languid and sexy, but almost limp at points. And what’s on the floor that she can’t stop staring at? There’s a tentativeness to the dance that makes it feel as if she’d never done it before. There’s no snap to this, even when Maks pulls her in.
 
Bruno thought she was full of lively pleasures. But she was still looking at the floor. And then Kirstie swears. Carrie Ann loved what she did and loved her ooze factor. Len thought it was less aggressive than Chelsea’s samba, loved it, but it could have been crisper.
 
While Kirstie and Maks wait for their scores, Maks nuzzles Tom. This is oddly cute, really.
 
Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 9 Bruno: 9 for 27 out of 30. In the finals, I don’t think the judges want to give low scores, but I suspect this is as low as they can go.
 
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson
Len wants to make Hines’ footwork sharper for the quickstep. He admires Hines’ deltoids. Hines should be happy Bruno isn’t there because… what? He’ll lick him? Bruno may be a wild man, but I don’t think he’s going to sexually assault a Pittsburgh Steeler.
 
Okay, who thought it was a good idea for Hines to wear a penguin suit and dance to “Puttin’ on the Ritz”? This song was written in 1929, people! Ugh, this is just hopelessly old fashioned and not in a fun way. Hines is light on his feet, but those feet tend to flap upward a bit. Still, his upper body is dead on and his chin is always tilted up. But those flappy feet! At one point he seems to realize he’s kicking with his foot tilted upward and catches himself, but too late.
 
Carrie Ann thought it was fun. At first I think Len is setting us up to believe he thought the dance was mirror ball-worthy, but he wasn’t. He thought it wasn’t all there. Me, neither. Bruno thought it was like an exciting Broadway production.
 
Carrie Ann: 10 Len: 9 Bruno: 10
 
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas
It’s freestyle time! They have to bring it. Yeah, yeah, we know. Mark tells Chelsea that if she nails the dance, she could win the whole thing. So, he’s going to push her. Per usual.
 
I want to love this… right up until the moment Mark and Chelsea’s hands and feet start lighting up. If Chelsea didn’t lose her battery pack halfway through, it might have been impressive, but the reality is that the celebrity is literally dancing in the dark for a while. It all gets a little nuts with the lifts and flips, but the dance does show that Chelsea has tackled a lot of material for this one routine. I suspect Len is going to hate this with every fiber in his being.
 
Len admits that everyone thinks he’s a fuddy duddy, but he thought this freestyle was fantastic. Huh! Bruno thought it looked like she was plugged into the national grid. He loved that she pushed the limit. Carrie gives it an enthusiastic hip shake. I love how the judges have finally given up on words and are just demonstrating their approval with shimmies and hula-hoop gyrations.
 
Chelsea is so grateful to all the people who’ve voted for her, especially given that they had no idea who she was a few months ago. I love that Chelsea is extremely realistic about her Q factor.
 
Carrie Ann: 10 Len: 10 Bruno: 10 for a total of 30 out of 30. Whoot!
 
Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy
Maks does not seem excited about doing lifts with Kirstie. He actually says that she’s the complete opposite of young Chelsea and athletic Hines. Ouch, Maks. But he’s sure Kirstie can win. Yeah, you sound convincing. Why don’t you just walk around, grabbing your back and hurling insults at Kirstie in Ukrainian about her weight?
 
This doesn’t start out well. Why is she dressed like a nun? Oh, wait, she rips off her ugly brown dress… to reveal an almost equally unexciting black catsuit. She looks clearly terrified to take a running leap at Maks. The cartwheel is a mess, like something you’d see a little kid do in their first gymnastics class. This is both too slow in the beginning and finally too loosey-goosey to be in the finals. I know Maks was trying to find a way to throw in the lifts without hurting either himself or Kirstie, but I’m sort of wishing he’d taken a risk and just given her a great dance instead of one she couldn’t really master.
 
Bruno tells Kirstie that he respects her for doing lifts. Carrie Ann notes that the lifts had an Alley Oop feel. Understatement of the year, Carrie Ann. But she thinks she’s the poster child for how life should be lived at sixty. Len liked the first lift and appreciated the fact she did lifts. Lots of praise for trying here, not a lot of praise for the actual execution.
 
Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 9 Bruno: 9 for a total of 27 out of 30. The ballroom boos, but seriously people, did you see the dance?
 
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson
Because Hines never gets to see the halftime act when he’s playing ball, it’s a halftime act. As long as that doesn’t involve a bunch of senior citizen rockers playing their greatest hits of the 1960s while fireworks go off, fine with me.
 
Okay, points for cleverness, but I kind of hate this concept. Too much marching! And who can dance to a marching band song? Unless it’s “Tusk”? Still, Hines is clearly having fun, the lifts are fluid, his framing is very, very good, he wiggles his hips and stays on beat – which surely wasn’t easy given the horrible music. When the song flips into “I Want You Back,” it thankfully gave Hines a chance to loosen up and show some of his natural dancing ability. And the little Michael Jackson move in there? Priceless.
 
Carrie Ann thought it was risky but it paid off. Len thinks he gave his all. Bruno thought he created a crowd pleasing event.
 
Carrie Ann: 10 Len: 10 Bruno: 10 for a total of 30 out of 30. Once I get past the horror of the music, I’ll admit it was a very strong performance.
 
Chelsea and Hines are tied, while Kirstie is dead last. I think Kirstie’s sure to be the first eliminated (yes, she has a fan base, but can they really overlook tonight’s performances), and I’m standing by Chelsea to win. But really, at this point it’s a popularity contest. And hey, it’s just a little mirror ball anyway.
 
Do you think Hines is going to win? Did you vote? And what did you think of Kirstie’s lifts?