Last week on DWTS, we finally saw Leah Remini exit, leaving two superior–compared even to previous champions–dancers (Corbin Bleu and Amber Riley), one heartstring-tugging fan favorite (Jack Osbourne) and the everything-defying Bill Engvall to compete in the finals. FYI, Engvall is NOT the lowest scored Star ever to compete in the finals. That dubious honor goes to … Bristol Palin. Congratulations? But just like Palin, Engvall said goodbye early, leaving the other three finalists to compete for the Mirrorball.
Last night, the finalists competed in the Judge’s Choice dances, re-performing a dance from earlier this season where the judges thought they could make real improvement. Riley was the bigger winner there, going from a 24 to a 30. Riley also got the most points in the Samba Relay. It seems she’s peaking just as we go into the most important dance of the season, the freestyle!
But wait Kat Gotsick, doesn’t EVERYONE get a 30 on their freestyle? Scroll down beneath the Rankings to see how I dig deeper into that in this week’s Stat of the Week.
The Rankings ahead of tonight’s Finale
Stat of the Week: The Freestyle Dance
Like many DWTS fans, when I think about the finals and especially the freestyle dance, I consider it to essentially be an exhibition match. With a couple of 30’s handed out already during the season, the judges have already maxed out the drama. They just 30 all the freestyles up and let America decide the winner, right? Actually, wrong. Less than half of the freestyles ever performed (46%) have received 30’s.
What IS significant is that 13 out of 15 eventual champions (86%) DID score a 30, making that a great predictive indicator of who might win the Mirrorball! The only champs who didn’t score a 30 were Nicole Sherzinger (no one scored a 30 on their freestyle that season) and Emmitt Smith (because of the weird but consistent anomaly that no NFL player who has ever won a Mirrorball has ever been the highest scoring competitor of that season).
That doesn’t help us predict this year’s champion though, because all three who remain in the competition scored 30’s on their freestyles. Good grief.
Storyline of the Week: Does Jack have a chance?
Jack Osbourne truly was made for DWTS. He’s the quintessential Hollywood redemption story: a former drug-addled screw-up who went to rehab and put his life back together. Now he has a beautiful wife, an adorable daughter and a degenerative nerve disease that will kill him, but not before it ravages his body in inhumane ways. He has been charming and philosophical all season long and dammit, the guy can dance.
If anyone can pull out a win over the two technically better dancers, it’s Jack. J.R. Martinez won handily under similar circumstances, although he did it with more overt disadvantages and way less competition (he beat Rob Kardashian and Ricki Lake).
This season will be the true test of whether it’s about the dancing or it’s about the journey. I’m officially #TeamJack.