‘Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars’ finale review: Why did Tony Dovolani tear up?

Melissa RycroftIf there is one episode of “Dancing with the Stars” ever year that we want to go ballroom bananas over, it’s the first part of the finale. Why? The contestants always bust out something great for the freestyles, and they also are reprising their best dances from the entire season.

Overall, there were some pretty great routines mixed in here, and the freestyles included everything from violin-playing to a gospel choir to aerial lifts (and this was just the first routine). Even the show chose to make these dances hyped to the next level with their ridiculous giant projections of the celebrities. Yet through all of this, the strongest moment of the night may have been its softest, quietest routine.

Round One – Past Dances

Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy – These two came back with their paso doble from earlier this season, and Kelly managed to succeed with her primary goal here: to draw her first 10s from the judges. Granted, she really did not need to act so desperate about it, since what we like about Melissa at this point is that she is not running around complaining about how she has never won the competition. Score: 29.5

Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani – Not only has Melissa never won, but neither has Tony, and you genuinely can feel the drive between these two. They probably want it more than anyone, and they also made a smart move in picking a dance in the samba where there was some room for improvement. Score: 30

Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough – We like Shawn and Derek, but what an arrogant move this was for them to basically go on stage and act as though the judges’ scores were irrelevant. They purposefully did their quickstep that drew criticism for breaking the rules, and did it again in hopes of getting votes. As fun as the dance is, this is still a ballroom competition, and you have to hope that the winner here will be the one who shows the greatest amount of technique. Score: 27

Round Two: Supersized Freestyles

Kelly Monaco – These two really did throw everything but the kitchen sink in here, and it was by and large entertaining. The problem was that the actual dance portion of it almost felt too much like an homage to “Dirty Dancing,” and not like an actual routine of its own. Score: 29.5

Melissa Rycroft – There were literally goosebumps all over the place during this stunning contemporary piece, and it finally, after weeks of uncertainty, placed us squarely on the Melissa and Tony bandwagon. These two used no gimmicks at all, and yet they still managed to deliver the strongest overall score of the night. Plus, how badly does Tony really want this? You could see him choking up as he spoke after the dance. Score: 30

Shawn Johnson – Yep, Shawn literally brought in the entire U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team for this. You are probably either thrilled or annoyed by this, since it felt mostly like an obvious gimmick for this performance to be tied somehow back into her sport. It almost felt a little too much like a gymnastics routine, but there is no denying that this was a thoroughly exciting routine full of great moves and flips all over the place. Plus, how can you give anything under a 30 for the Fierce Five? Score: 30

Who do you want to win “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars”? Be sure to vote in the poll below, and you can also read our latest contestant rankings over at the link here.

Photo: ABC

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