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DWTS recap: Finale part 1

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Welcome to part one of the finale where most of the fun was watching judge Bruno dancing on the sidelines in the introduction. This is the last evening that we the viewers were able to vote for our favorites for the crowning of the winner tomorrow night. All the couples danced a style chosen by the judges and then a freestyle dance.

The Scores:

  1. Meryl and Maks – 60
  2. Amy and Derek – 59
  3. James and Peta – 58
  4. Candace and Mark – 51

The Highlights:

James and Peta’s Tango was a great culmination of all the skills James had honed over the season. His posture was impeccable even though-as Carrie Ann pointed out-he seemed a little more stiff and on edge than usual. This is definitely understandable considering tonight was the last of the competition. (And possibly because he and Peta also choreographed a kiss into the dance.) Whatever the case, the audience could barely contain themselves with approval.

Maks pulled out every trick he could devise with his high flying, ice skating partner in the Argentine Tango set in a seedy part of down in downtown Buenos Aires (street lamp and all). The performance was graceful and flawless as we have come to expect from Meryl and unsurprising that they earned a perfect score. Is there anything Meryl cannot accomplish on this dance floor? Doubtful.

The rehearsal week was a little on the dramatic side for Candace and Mark who would be dancing the Quick Step chosen by the judges. All the pressure of the competition was beginning to take its toll on Candace and then Mark found himself enroute to the hospital for a CT scan on his strained shoulder. Fortunately, Mark was cleared by doctors to perform a very lovely dance.

The problems in rehearsal week were not exclusive to Candace and Mark. Amy was fighting back spasms again in rehearsal. Judging by all that twisting hip action in the Salsa, however, you never would have known the challenge she had been facing in the studio. It is always funny to see the shocked, amazed faces in the audience when Amy is through dancing. If only they had been watching so closely all season, they would have known what we already know: Amy is a competitor and a wonderful dancer not in spite of her legs but because she has developed a new and exciting dance vocabulary-thanks to partner Derek-to celebrate them.

During the preview reel, it was revealed that his older brother’s accident is what pushed James to realize the fleeting nature of life. As a result he pursued his dream of acting. The freestyle dance with James and Peta was a dance battle with a fusion of hip hop and martial arts. As the judges’ said, James was dancing with two professional guys on either side and he definitely held his own.

Meryl and Maks danced a Contemporary piece for their second selection. Maks choreographed a lot of lifts and moments of sharing weight for an emotional piece. And, of course, they had to kiss. (A bid at audience votes, perhaps?) A deeply touched Carrie Ann said they should get married. They earned another perfect score here, as well.

Candace and Mark’s freestyle found “DJ Tanner” playing a DJ in a gold bodysuit disco style. This choreography looked like amazing fun and aside from the Contemporary piece she danced at the beginning of the season; this was Candace’s best technique, hands down. (Your Albuquerque Dance Examiner disagrees with the judges’ scores on this one.) The pride and support of her children in the audience was, however, the icing on this fun performance.

Amy and Derek danced a Contemporary piece showcasing their talent for lifts and some stunning floor choreography. Best of all, though, was some amazing aerial work that just kicked Amy’s skill set up another notch. Everyone stared in amazement as she spun high above the dance floor. If you missed tonight's episode, this is the performance to watch!

Sadly, not everyone could make it to tomorrow night's final show. James and Peta were the pair to have the lowest combined judges' scores and fan votes sending the three ladies' (Meryl, Amy and Candace) to the results show.

One night left, Albuquerque viewers! Check out KOAT Channel 7 at 7 p.m. (MST) to find out who takes the trophy.

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