TV Show Recaps - Dancing with the Stars Finale Episode Recap: Tuesday, May 25, 2010

And the Season 10 Dancing with the Stars champion is ... not so fast! Before Donny Osmond's successor is crowned, Nicole Scherzinger, Evan Lysacek and Erin Andrews duke it out again for more judges' points. Plus, Dancing alums return and the winner of the College Dance Championships is named.

It's time, guys! Hard to believe, no? But first, we've still got two more rounds to get through. Everyone will dance a repeat dance before the third-place couple is eliminated. The final two then perform new routines in a dance-off.

The show kicks off with a Vegas-style number featuring the eliminated couples (save for Chad, who was injured in football training). But who cares who else was part of it when Kate basically walks on the floor and Tony must slow down to keep up with her? Oh, show! I was not prepared for such hilarity so early on! What does it say when an 80-year-old man can shake it more than a 35-year-old woman can? It's sweet that they've also only tasked Kate with holding feathers and fanning herself.

Other than that, the best part so far: Louie, Kristi, Shawn and Apolo are all in the front row. My fave Olympians!

Repeat Dance
Funnily enough (or not), all three pairs choice to reprise their respective Argentine tangos. The judges will then rank the couples.

Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough
They got a 30 for this last time, so the only way to go is down, right? I kid. It's still a pretty hot number, but something about the kicks seem looser. Or maybe I'm just distracted by the muffled noise their mics are making every time their legs cross. While technically on-point, there's still a lack of connection between them. It seems like they're each dancing their own uber-intense A.T. Len says it was irresistible. Bruno is happy to see that the magic continues. Carrie Ann says they're artistry in motion.

Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya
Team Evanna also got a 30 last time. They're pretty on-par with last time here, and Evan's still exuding power and aggression with impeccable control. These "man in command" dances are totally his forte. The swivels and hooks are quick and precise, and, dare I say, their insane leg-on-shoulder spin is even better the second time around? Or it's faster at least. Bruno says he danced it like a real ladykiller. Carrie Ann says this "Argentina" tango is true redemption after Monday. Len doesn't want kiddies to try that lift at home and reminds people that Evan is the last male celebrity left and was in control of the dance.

Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
So Erin and Maks get the negative edit this time around, arguing about how/if Evan's decision to do the Argentine tango should influence them. Crazy kids. Go rehearse on the bed again. You know they totally picked this so Erin can jump into Maks' face again. The jump this time around is, like, three times higher. Erin's posture is better and her legs are sharper, but I'd rank her third. She's definitely going for it, but other than the jump, there's something less intoxicating about it compared to the other two routines. Carrie Ann says she was in another zone. Len says she's proved she's in the final on merit. Bruno calls her a sexy, sophisticated man-trap and acknowledges that she's come the farthest of the three.

3rd place (26 points):
Erin and Maks
2nd place (28 points): Evan and Anna
1st place (30 points): Nicole and Derek

Parade of Fallen Dancing Stars, Part 1
Shannen and Mark (rockin' his signature MJ glittery socks), Aiden and Edyta, and Buzz and Ashly take the floor to take up more time. It's really a shame Shannen was booted first because she's definitely got some rhythm. I think Aiden is wearing the same all-brown costume from his Duran Duran-inspired cha-cha. Buzz "beams" in to do the slowest paso doble ever. Did they sacrifice a Mirrorball to adorn his spacesuit with crystals? That suit, Tom quips, is from the "NASA Liberace Collection." Because we can never do enough cheese on this show, Dmitry and Vienna take the floor next alongside Jake and Chelsie to "On the Wings of Love" (duh!) before swapping partners. Thank goodness they kept Jake and Vienna's portion brief. They end with him kneeling in front of her. Just keep hammering it home, guys. Shawn and Apolo are not impressed.

Third Place
Erin and Maks

Erin says she knew she would be third and she's cool with it. She came on the show under really "crummy circumstances" and got her smile back on the show. Tom says Maks looks the most emotional he's ever seen him through all the seasons. "We both learned a lot about each other and ourselves," Maks says. "I feel like we've won." We get an aw-worthy exit package (highlighted by Maks' hippity-hop rehearsal freak-out) when Maks says he made the final when he saw Erin smile. Tear. They do the cha-cha as their last dance. Um, at least give the poor girl a tissue to wipe away her tears first.

College Dance Championships
The Purdue University Boilermakers (cha-cha) face off against the Utah Valley University Wolverines (samba). I still think it's not fair that UVU has an extra pair, but I guess that also makes it more difficult to choreograph formations. Unsurprisingly, the Wolverines continue to kick booty and win the "collegiate-sized" Mirrorball trophy. I thoroughly enjoyed how they fast-forwarded through this whole segment. Can all the shows be like this?

Parade of Fallen Dancing Stars, Part 2
After plugging Kate Plus 8 and Twist of Kate, Kate performs a new version of their "Paparazzi" paso doble. She wants more difficult choreography, but is afraid to try the moves Tony comes up with. "I would guess that 90 percent of my audience doesn't like me," she says. "It doesn't matter if I do a Nicole- or Evan-style performance, I would still get picked apart." Don't worry, Kate, I don't think we'll ever see that from you. I will give her credit for one thing: She's actually smiling through this. They switch over to "I Will Survive" and end with Kate lifted up to the lights on a platform with the scariest close-up ever. Seriously. Nightmare-inducing. Oh, and keep her up there. Pam and Niecy (and Damian, Louis, Tony and Dmitry ) follow with a "celebration of all things jiggly." It's sexy, fun, cheeky and helps erase the memory of robo-Kate.

The Final Dance
Is it bad I want to be lowered in that life-sized Mirrorball Nicole and Evan were in?

Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough: Jive

They chose the jive because it's the first dance that earned them their first perfect score. Is Nicole wearing the same gold fringe outfit the Purdue Boilermakers were wearing? In any case, this jive is pretty awesome. It's high-octane, fast and thoroughly entertaining. But it's not a really "bouncy" jive and the flicks are kept to a minimum. Len says she should be the winner. Um, tacky much? Evan and Anna haven't even danced yet. Way to treat them like an afterthought. Stay classy, Len! Bruno says it was the crowning glory of an amazing season. Carrie Ann says she set the place on fire.
Score: 30
Total: 115

Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya: Quickstep
First of all, who caught that cut to commercial of Evan and Anna in their dressing room not even looking at each other? You can cut the tension with a knife! Evan feels the quickstep is technical and right up his alley. Their routine, obviously, can't match Nicole's in terms of energy, but it's still lively, technically sound and stylish. The footwork is great and Evan's turning on the charm. Still, after Nicole's crowd-pleaser, this may not be enough to win over the judges, who are all for the flash. But it probably doesn't matter since, judging from the tongue-bath they gave Nicole, the judges have already picked their winner. Bruno is impressed by Evan's new performance level. Carrie Ann says Nicole may be winning the scores, but he's winning hearts. Len is impressed by his work ethic. OK, I am too, but that's not a legit critique.
Score: 28
Total: 108

And so after all that, the Season 10 champs are... Nicole and Derek! And with that, Derek joins Cheryl, his sis and his BFF as a two-time champ. Evan, gracious as ever in defeat, says he has no regrets.

What do you think? Did Nicole and Derek deserve to win? Are you happy Derek is a two-time champ? Was Evan's seven-point deficit too great to overcome? Was Len's pre-coronation of Nicole and Derek rude? Did you enjoy the "celebration of all things jiggly"? Do you think Kate is still on the lift? Who do you want to see next season?

That's all for now. Thanks for reading! See you in September!

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