Dancing with the Stars Season 22 - Week Finale

This season has just blown by! Seems like it was just last week that we were getting our first glimpses of the competitors out on the dance floor for week one!  There were a lot of awesome performances throughout the season, and it is hard to believe we only have three couples left!  The semifinals left us with Nyle & Peta, Paige and Mark, and Ginger & Valentin, making it a tough final vote for America.

As the season comes to a close, it is time to watch the final numbers and see who takes home the mirror-ball trophy!  Let’s start with a recap of the dances the competitors did on Monday night!  The first performances of the night were previous dances the competitors had done before but received low scores on.  It is their chance to “redeem” themselves and perform with all of the techniques they have learned along the way.

Ginger & Valentin – Redemption Dance – Contemporary to “Adventure of a Lifetime” by Coldplay
Carrie – 9Len – 10Bruno – 9 for a total of 28

Definitely a grand improvement from the week 3 performance at a contemporary dance!  The movements were smooth and connected, bringing several different stylizations together with nice transitions.  Ginger appears to have applied the lessons she has learned over the past 9 weeks with great success!  The lifts were fantastic, and the choreography really fit the mood of the music.  Nice character work and expressions, too.  At some points Ginger seemed a bit tense and could have eased off on her power, but it was all very well done!  Len loved seeing the improvement and fluidity of the steps.  Bruno felt Ginger really blossomed, and Carrie said she had nice core strength.

Nyle & Peta – Redemption Dance – Quickstep to “S.O.B.” by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Carrie – 9Len – 9Bruno – 9 for a total of 27

Taking another shot at his week 6 style of dance, Nyle really picked up for this Quickstep!  There were difficult steps throughout the routine but Nyle handled them well!  His foot placement was great, and his hold in frame was superb!  He started off crisp and precise, lost a bit of control in one spot, but got right back to it.  Nyle can really move – his talent for dance is undeniable!  Bruno noted a slip in sharpness on one corner, however, thought everything was fabulous.  Carrie said Nyle had great form, and Len felt it was a little hectic but told Nyle he is “one heck of a dancer!”

Paige & Mark – Redemption Dance – Salsa to “Fireball” by Pitbull
Carrie – 10Len – 9Bruno – 10 for a total of 29

Bringing back Salsa from week 2, Paige knocked it out of the park!  Her footwork was so clean and sharp, and her energy was phenomenal!  Paige made such an improvement on her Salsa, bringing her expressions and choreography to life with drive!  She made the dance all her own, letting her stage presence fill the floor with a burning attitude.  And who can resist such a catchy song??  Carrie applauded her improvements and gave her an A+ on the performance.  Len thought it was fantastic, but wanted more hips from Paige.  Bruno enjoyed her energy and said her footwork out-danced her partner!

After all three of our couples properly redeemed their toughest dances, it was on to the all-important freestyle.  Freestyle dancing is always a great way to test dancers, as it really forces them to be strong and confident enough in themselves to dance individually.  There are a ton of different movements that can be done, so it all comes down to technique and execution.  It is necessary to look at the dancer’s core body movements and expression through that motion to be able to judge each performance against the other.

Ginger & Valentin – Freestyle to “Orange Colored Sky” by Nat King Cole
Carrie – 10Len – 10Bruno – 10 for a total of 30

Ginger really turned up her dancing for this number!  Ginger is great at adapting to different dance styles and bringing out the characters in them.  Drawing on the sophisticated side of classic style Hollywood, she moved with elegance on the floor!  Ginger’s hold in frame was wonderful, and her footwork was smooth.  Her expressions were lovely and she had clean transitions between movements.  The routine was well-polished, and I loved those extra details!  Len lauded her versatility as a dancer, and Bruno simply adored the performance.  Carrie told Ginger her dancing was classy, mature and beautiful!

Nyle & Peta – Freestyle to “The Sound of Silence” by Disturbed
Carrie – 10Len – 10Bruno – 10 for a total of 30

This was a dance for Dancing with the Stars history!  Nyle was on top of everything – from the expressions and transitions to the body movements and footwork, it was exceptional!  What separates Nyle from the rest of the competition is his constant vibrant energy that he pours into each step.  He has a crisp and clear execution, and he always manages to make the audience get into the dance, not just watch it.  I think his modeling background may have helped with his dancing because he is used to taking on a persona or get a message across just with body language.  Having that kind of ability parallels so well with dancing because each song and style of dance tells its own story.  Bruno was so moved by the performance it gave him chills, and he called it perfection at every level.  Carrie felt that it was the best dance she has ever seen in all 22 seasons of the show, saying Nyle can change the world through his dancing.  Len said the performance was one that would please everybody, and that Nyle has truly a very special talent.

Paige & Mark – Freestyle to “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz
Carrie – 10Len – 10Bruno – 10 for a total of 30

Last to perform, Paige closed the season’s dances out with a phenomenal number!  The piece was so emotional – Paige was able to make the audience feel the dance through her expressions and flawless execution.  Each motion was right in time and she moved from step to step with grace and charm.  Seeing such a switch from Paige’s regular career of fighting to how she dances in the ballroom makes it apparent that she has an incredible talent and unique adaptability.  She was able to captivate the audience with her seemingly effortless footwork and fluid control, bringing the house to tears.  Carrie was delighted in how moving the performance was and said Paige showed us how dance feels.  Len thought it was sublime and fantastic, and Bruno exclaimed it was a triumph that brought him to tears.

With the last dance of the evening finished, it came down to America’s vote to determine the winner.  Of course, to give the nation time to vote and tally the votes up, we had to wait until Tuesday night to find out the winner.  Adds a bit of suspense to the show!  I think that all three have made incredible progress, but I feel that Nyle and Paige outshine Ginger.  My vote landed with Nyle, but it was a tough choice between him and Paige.  Ginger has grown quite a bit, and by no means is she a bad dancer.  Just, in my opinion, when it boils down to it, Nyle and Paige could take command of the floor and had better stage presence than Ginger.

In case you haven’t heard here are the final results.  In third place was Ginger & Valentin, and in second place was Paige & Mark, leaving Nyle & Peta to take home that splendid mirror-ball trophy as this season’s champs!  I for one am very pleased with the way the results went!

Now that this season is over, it will be hard to wait for the next one!  This season had so many memorable moments, wonderful performances and outstanding contestants that it will be tough to top!  What were some of your favorite dances of the season?  And were you happy with the way it all turned out?  For now, I guess I’ll have to find something else to fill my Monday nights.  Here’s looking forward to season 23!

Happy Dancing!