‘Dancing with the Stars 23’ review: Laurie Hernandez, James Hinchcliffe try to win with freestyles

Laurie -Tonight marks the first part of the “Dancing with the Stars” finale, where we’re going to see effectively two separate heats of competition. The first is going to be an opportunity to see the remaining contestants try to turn things around when it comes to some of the weaker dances from earlier on this season.

As for the second heat, it’s the freestyles! These are the dances that so many people look forward to year after year, and we think that they could make or break everyone moving forward.

We’re going to be reviewing this episode live, so be sure to refresh this page often to get some other news regarding some of the performances!

Round One – We weren’t all that optimistic about Calvin Johnson’s odds of getting the best scores going into the finale, but we thought that even more so after seeing him get a 35 in his first routine. Then, we also started to think the same thing about Jana Kramer after her own 35 score. Laurie didn’t get a perfect score after her routine, but with a 38, it was pretty darn clear that she was in striking distance of the Mirrorball. James Hinchcliffe drew a 37 for his first-round dance, which put him in second place.

Let’s get into the freestyle round, given that this was what we were really excited to see!

Jana and Gleb Savchenko – We feel bad for these two, given that there were some obvious mistakes in here and you could tell that they were unhappy with it after the fact. There were nice moments, but the tempo exposed their mistakes. Score: 36.

Calvin and Lindsay Arnold – Really fun freestyle, and a great way for him to close out his run of dances tonight! Lots of energy and creativity, and there was a lot packed in here. We won’t say it was the best freestyle ever, but the judges tend to be for the most part kind with their scores at this point. Score: 40.

Laurie and Val Chmerkovskiy – Really fun, and in many ways inspiring. This really was almost the perfect representation through dance of what she’s been through this season and in much of the past year, but she continues to still be hopeful when the dust settles in the end. Score: 40.

James and Sharna Burgess – Apparently, James went to Heaven in this. It was incredibly moving, and we gotta be honest — it was a smart marketing move for James and Sharna to remind us of his journey, and why what he does is so impressive. Score: 40.

Results: Head over here to check them out.

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