Two Nights of Wonderful to Round out Season 16!
Wow! It’s hard to believe that Season 16 has come to an end! Although it seemed there were a number of predictable outcomes throughout the months, the time was splashed with amazing dancing, heartfelt moments, injuries, humor, and great musical performances. The two night Finale pulled out all the stops and jam-packed every moment full of dance for the remaining four couples. As we finish up the season with our final Feature, Hector provides us with a breakdown of the couples’ performances along with his overall thoughts. With him covering the dance details, I’ve added just a few personal comments of my favorite things on each couple as well. So let’s get to it!
What two great nights these were! Had I scripted the finale, I wouldn’t have done it better! Shame on me to have feared manipulation and unfairness! Of course, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. As it turned it all went Hector’s way, so yes. I am happy! But gloat not Hec, my truth and expectations are not everyone’s, nor do I pretend to have it right! Zendaya’s, Jacoby’s or Aly’s fans have every right to like what they like! It makes me feel bad that they’re disappointed! As Kellie wisely said, Eveyone likes their coffee different. In these articles I’ve nitpicked at everyone’s dancing, I’ve said what I look for which I feel makes it good bad or mediocre. That said I must confess that the reason I love this show, and for which I traveled 5000 miles to see it live last November, is that I enjoy and love each and every one of the dancers! I love the way everyone’s humanity comes out when they make a noble effort to dance! Like every art medium, dancing is a way of expression, a very personal one! People bare their souls to us, and what we see is unique and beautiful, in different forms and to varying degrees. As to rank, in order of preference, which I usually do according to my preference, guess what? I accept the people/judges choice this time! How grand to be able to do that! I was philosophically prepared for my fab favorites to be fourth! So I’m grateful, God! I’m in heaven, Dancing with the Stars!
Kellie and Derek – Contemporary Freestyle, Quickstep, Cha Cha Relay, Insta-dance Jive
Hector: Ah, what a milestone was Kellie and Derek’s Contemporary Freeestyle! Bruno said it reached the hearts of all the Nation. Len said it was poignant, understated and heart wrenching. Carrie Ann said she had never seen anything more beautiful as she cried. I cried. Derek cried. Lots of viewers cried. What a soulful song they chose! Beneath Your Beautiful is a poignant, song-poem, written and originally sung by Emeli Sandé and Labrinth. Derek has taken every single pregnant line and translated its meaning into dance. Beautiful, meaningful dance. Amazing to see how a song-poem goes to the dance medium and parallels the beauty so faithfully. But Derek’s continuing adventure into parallel design would not work if Kellie could not so intensely interpret the dance. She’s a soulful singer, she can feel this song! Derek has taught her how to express herself and bare her soul in movement. So difficult and complex is every single dance phrase, for both to do! I’m in awe at the beautiful line, their incredible flexibility, the total harmony of music, feeling and movement. No need to praise Derek for his dexterity in dancing, but how could Kellie do it in 10 (very intense) weeks? What this woman has done is awesome! She’s beyond professional, she’s a dance artist! If she didn’t sing so well, I’d be excited to see her become a dancer! Their Freestyle was probably one of the best ever done! The production was pushing Supersize Freestyle Mode. Derek explained that he was at first contemplating what Supersize effects to use, such as dropping a hammock from the ballroom ceiling. After some thought, he decided to shove the effects aside! Just bring in pure unadulterated intense dancing. How very Derek to just do what no one’s doing! Can I say what God-like unique talent, and yes, chutzpah, this guy has? This season has been so different from the last for Derek! More often than not, he’s towed a conservative line. Maybe to show no one can do conservative like he can? With a few exceptions, like those brilliant parallel dances that threw Len into a fit! Is Derek in a please-Len mode? Their Quickstep was perfect! Kellie was Ginger-gorgeous, classic and elegant, in glittery white. Derek’s puttin’ on the Ritz with that handsome, dapper Gatsby look and a clownish Hough twist! In the Cha Cha relay, they came in second to Zendaya and Val, which put them at a slight disadvantage. Their Insta-dance Jive had Bruno commenting that Kellie reminded him of Derek’s great dancing sis, Julianne. What a compliment!
A word about their human quality: I love these two, independently and together! I love the rehearsal clips, they give us an insight as to who they are! At first, I was not too hot for Kellie’s cornball persona! By the tenth week however, I could just hug her when she told lovely Brooke, in her best cornball Southern drawl, Derek has taught me so much, not only about dancing but about ‘laff’ (life). Watch how Derek, at this moment, rubs his eyeballs trying to hold back the tears, so emotional! My heart just melts for them! If you think their journey has been easy, how wrong you are! That trophy took a lot of sweat and tears! Derek lovingly went with Kellie on exhausting country roads to rehearse! Even though often on tour, Kellie attacked the dance challenge with her extraordinary sass and chutzpah. Kellie has since childhood, overcome many challenges. Once more, she put all her heart, talent, concentrated effort to rise to Derek’s high expectations. Derek, in return encouraged her self-confidence and belief in herself. Part of the secret of Derek’ success is how he can get, with sweet sensitivity, teach his apprentices to give him their heart and their complete trust. The miracle of Kellie, Dancer, was exceptional! It had to do with Derek, a very human, talented and loving teacher going beneath Kellie’s self; finding her dancing soul; extracting, refining and displaying it to the world. That’s why I thought that Beneath Your Beautiful song choice for their enthralling Freestyle was so poignant and apropos. It perfectly mirrored their tender and moving dance journey. For repeated delight, I must include the video clip of Kellie and Derek’s unique and impassioned Freestyle Contemporary (video also includes lead-in bumper of Henry and Lindsay!)
Jayne: Watching Kellie and Derek this season has been like being treated to a featured Pro dance every week! I viewed with astonishment at the level at which Kellie performed. What an absolutely talented woman she is! Her modesty and genuine surprise at her accomplishments were so endearing. Talent, beauty and a sense of humor, DWTS was another vehicle which brought her closer to America’s hearts. Her and Derek’s Freestyle was the standout performance for me. What an amazing way to finish off the season!
Zendaya and Val – Freestyle Fusion (Cha Cha, Contemporary & Hip Hop), Samba, Cha Cha Relay, Insta-dance Jive
Hector: All of Zendaya and Val’s dances in the Finals were perfect. Not only were they scored perfect on all four dances, including the Insta-dance Jive on Tuesday, but I thoroughly enjoyed all of them, find no fault in the Judges scoring. When Tom and Brooke at the end of the Finale announced the trophy winners, it must have been surprising and disappointing for them and for their myriad supporters! They put in such great performances and were such fan favorites! Their perfect Freestyle started out with a saucy Cha Cha, then smoothly transitioned to tender Contemporary. Zendaya runs to a dais moving up its steps and evocatively reaches out to a light beyond Val’s choreography. Their beautiful dancing and dramatic lighting contributed to an effective Contemporary climax. They then shifted to a celebratory finale with a Supersize ode to Hip Hop joy! Val had the good idea to have 8 snappy child dancers join them during that Hip Hop finale. So fitting! Zendaya is a children’s TV Disney icon and role model. Len commented rather wimpily how all the parts came together; Bruno praised Zendaya’s luminosity and appeal; Carrie Ann called Zendaya just divine, and branded their dance classy, sassy and fun. It was all three. In their Samba rehearsals, Carrie Ann acts as consultant for their Samba (a judge visited each finalist.) Cute to watch this 16 year old ingénue beauty following Carrie’s advice to wear high heels, with which she’s not too familiar. As it turned out the simple advice was very effective. Her posture and elegance did improve with the high heels!! Costume, atmosphere, lighting, music, everything contributes to the dance effect, and details like high heels do make a difference! Who knew? Their Samba was absolutely delicious. Zendaya has improved a lot, with Val’s good graces. She always had a natural ability and Hip Hop expertise, good timing and musicality, good projection and stage presence, charming grace. Enter Val. He’s a professional, he’s committed, creative, has a good heart and unique charm as a dancer. And he has a lot of vibrant sensuality! Zendaya, perhaps because of her young age, needed a boost in the sexy department. Yes, I could see in that Samba, that some Chermovskyi vibrations have reached Zendaya! She’s moving more Latin-like, she did good by the Juanes Samba! Zendaya and Val were voted the highest score (5) in the Cha Cha Relay. Against Derek and Kellie’s Cha Cha it was like splitting hairs. Perhaps their edge had to do with Zendaya and Val doing a classical Cha Cha, while Kellie and Derek’s going a bit more creative. Their Insta-dance Jive had a special Zendaya stamp to it. This type of dance is so well suited for her age and ability! Her youth and energy radiated all through this dance! She also has a dramatic ability to invest her performance with appealing expressions and flirtatious charm. In a dance like this one, she’s especially vibrant.
So why didn’t they win? Everyone expected Zendaya and Jacoby to have the biggest fan bases, followed by Aly, the Olympic Champ. Kellie was supposed to trail all three, so I was surprised when she surpassed Jacoby, and even more surprised when Kellie and Derek were announced as winners of the Mirror Trophy! Zendaya and Val were a point ahead, so I felt her 1.6 million twitter fans would push her to the top. I had a premonition that there was some change in favor of Kellie and Derek, when their Freestyle Contemporary was chosen to encore. Zendaya and Val had won other encores by public vote. Most notably, Val’s awful Team Paso dance was voted to encore over Derek’s higher scored Team Samba. Could it be that Kellie and Derek’s Beneath Your Beautiful Freestyle finally captured the nations heart with its raw emotion? I’d like to think so, that sometimes the people can get it right. They can put aside popularity to favor the exceptional raw beauty of a passionate dance performance.
Jayne: I loved watching Zendaya this season. She just seemed to be this human dynamo who grabbed the challenges of the dances by the horns and then showed them who was boss. I tended to forget that she is just 16 and spent a required amount of time everyday doing schoolwork, and then due to labor laws was restricted to a certain amount of practice hours. She possesses a maturity beyond her years and I know that there will be much more from her in the years to come. I was happy to see her and Val’s dance relationship; he was very respectful of her age and what was appropriate for her. Val is proving himself well as a Pro.
Jacoby and Karina – Freestyle Hip Hop/R&B, Jive, Cha Cha Relay, Insta-dance Salsa
Hector: Power, energy, authenticity, strength, joviality, fun and natural rhythm. All of these characterized Jacoby Jones journey on Dancing with the Stars. He fit the profile of many a trophy winner; football star, natural dancer, tries hard, improves much. He has this befuddled, wistful, appealing look. The fact that such a huge, strong and powerful sports hero can dance and delight us is a popular hook for making us root for his winning the coveted trophy! Some viewers feel this is the kind of candidate that should win. He starts his dance journey from scratch, doesn’t know much about dancing, he wins us over with his exuberance and authentic natural sexy moves! In this type of dancing, some think graceful ladies have a built-in advantage and it’s not fair. Jacoby’s drive and effort took him to a third place. This time, the competition from the ladies was too rough, too many refined ladies making huge strides in dancing! It upped the ante too much. Did Jacoby have certain handicaps that stood out like a sore thumb, or rather like pigeon toes? As compared to the three ladies dainty pointed feet, Jacoby Jones struggled with his footwork. Were his feet his downfall? He could only get one perfect score in the finals, his Instant-dance Salsa with Karina, who tried her best and accomplished a lot with Jacoby. Acuanile Salsa was a great authentic Salsa choice, and he did a great authentic performance. Karina can Salsa like the best, she moves like a true Salsa-er, and looks so beautiful doing it! Jacoby not only kept up with her all the way, side by side, face to face, sharp and focused. He did his own very natural looking, rhythmic Salsa. He imparts his own personality into the dance, yet still makes it look authentic. Coming from a land of Salsa like I do, I can tell you; Jacoby would get cheers doing the salsa in any Latino barrio! The Jive to Shake It is another dance Jacoby does well, and I thought he had done very well as did Karina’s terrific choreography and Jive performance. Who can understand these judges for inconsistency? Len starts praising Jacoby with great enthusiasm, great entertainment, then ruins it by saying he lost it at times. Bruno praises his power, energy and charisma, then says he missed beats quite a number of times. Are these the same judges who last week gave Jacoby and Karina a perfect score for a very flawed Tango? But the Judges reception was even worse for his significant Freestyle to the Hip Hop/R&B Can’t Hold Us. I loved the strong rhythm in the whole dance, the stomping parade of Hip Hoppers. Their interchange of child partners (these kids dance!) was fun, and they did do a section just on their own. Again, Bruno lifts him up to then have him fall flat by saying he had great charisma but danced out of sync. Carrie Ann was worse. Unique she said, but she agrees with Bruno. Then she goes on to say that the production was fun, but it outshone him! So why does the production ask them to do a Supersize Freestyle, then pull the rug out from under them. They are sending mixed signals to the pros, and how can they blame the contestant if head nothing to do with the idea? Their Cha Cha Relay dance was decent, with Jacoby jumping over Kellie and Derek, and exiting by sliding under Aly and Mark. But the competition was tough and they were last on the relay! I was happy with Jacoby’s participation on Season 16. He may not have been as refined a dancer as the three lady dancers, but variety is the spice of life. Jacoby brought a breath of fresh air, like Len said about him, and was certainly unique, charismatic and brought the house down. He was also the last man standing, our best male contender. Oh yes, he also was great fun, was very humble, self-effacing, and had a good sense of humor. Jacoby made us laugh! When Brooke asked him What will it take for you to beat Aly, Kellie and Zendaya, during the Finals? he quipped The grace of God! It was fun having you, Jack!
Jayne: For some reason I had trouble clicking with Jacoby at first. He was entertaining, energetic, funny, and he and Karina seemed to get on very well. He did grow on me though, and by the end of the season I felt he certainly deserved a place in the Finals. So charismatic, it was always interesting to see how each performance would go. Would his mamma be happy or let her dissatisfaction with the judges be known?! By the time their last dances came around, it was evident that he had grown in his performance skills, including that pesky technique. Highlight for me from Jacoby’s DWTS adventure has to be the dance for his son. Who could resist that?!
Aly and Mark – Samba, Futuristic Freestyle, Cha Cha Relay
Hector: It broke my heart when Brooke announced the cruelest cut then went on to say Aly and Mark was the couple not in the Final Three. I said I was happy with the Season 16 Finals Result and I am. I can understand that Jacoby was the last man standing, and a crowd favorite. I do think Aly is a better dancer than Jacoby, and had higher scores going into the final cut. That said, the popular vote favored Jacoby, and I have to respect that! Also Jacoby may have some performance and showmanship assets that justified his selection. Still, I had a soft spot for this couple and I feel for them and their many fans as well! I liked their Samba Shakira‘s Hips Don’t Lie. No, they don’t. Aly’s hip movements are right on for Samba (I much prefer the way Aly moves her hips in Samba than Zendaya.) I loved Bruno’s Samba lesson, he moves a lot better than what I saw Len do with Jacoby. Mark has such grace for Latin dances and he’s passed it on to Aly. They shake, they shimmy, and they use their hands arms, feet, buttocks and facial expressions to put in a great Samba. The judges liked it gave it a score of 28, good scores, better than Jacoby’s 27, but Zendaya and Kellie had perfect scores. In the Cha Cha Relay they were third again, a fair judge evaluation, I thought. Their Futuristic Freestyle was a blast! As far as following the Supersize Freestyle desired by the DWTS production, it was the most successful, I found in innovation and production pizazz, as well as quality of dancing, it was more powerful than Zendaya and Val’s or Jacoby and Karina’s Freestyle. It had both a futuristic and exotic orientation, as Bruno mentioned. Carrie Ann complimented its difficulty in dance and its virtue of pushing the line, while Len praised its imagination and concept. It was all that. The music was original and exciting as well, Icarus by Madeon, a young electronic composer. I loved the lighting effects at the beginning, which became part of the performance (like the futuristic Pro dance Mark and Derek collaborated on earlier.) The 20 feet up in the air pole dancing on a raised platform, was also very creative, difficult and original. It was also well suited to Aly’s capabilities as a gymnast. Mark went for the new, difficult, exotic and different. This dance was only second to Kellie and Derek’s for Freestyle quality. I was impressed by the amount of work, daring and expression in this dance. We can see how agonizing it was for Mark to do this choreography. How tense the rehearsal clips in which we see Mark worrying at the last minute whether the platform on which they would dance was too high for Aly’s comfort! I loved Aly and Mark’s journey. It was truly collaborative, close and intimate. They developed palpable feeling for each other, great trust and admiration. They filtered this feeling into their dancing and it was expressed with sincerity and passion. We could see Aly’s rapid education in dance, custom fitted by Mark Ballas. It was such a pleasure to experience! We actually became part of their journey.
Jayne: Honestly, I was a little surprised that Aly and Mark didn’t place above Jacoby and Karina in the finals. Of the four couples, I felt that Aly had undergone the most evident journey in her dance progression. I loved seeing her achieve more confidence each week and continually build upon what she had done previously. As with Zendaya, it was easy to forget that she is young as well, just 18 during the competition. And yet, her Olympic experience gave her maturity when it came to work ethic, stamina and strength. What a great addition she was to this season!
Hector – Results Show
What talented and passionate dancers we have in our Troupe and our Pros. They peppered the Finale with great production numbers. How exciting to watch the whole extravaganza with a variety of dancers and guest performances. Most outstanding in my preference, were ice skating icon Dorothy Hamill and Henry Byalikov dancing a very ethereal Waltz. Dorothy appeared in the Finale with other returning contestants. Henry substituted for Dorothy’s injured pro partner, Tristan MacManus. A very special dance was fashioned for Dorothy perhaps because she was a sentimental favorite who dropped out because of injury. Their dance was pure beauty. Dorothy had in her first dance this season a very spiritual dance quality. During her comeback in the finale, she shines with much more improved hand and arm movements, graceful extensions, great flow and beautiful line. Evidently, Henry’s participation had to do with Dorothy’s lovely performance. Henry himself danced with elegant self-contained calm and poise. Henry who participated in various capacities in the current movie, The Great Gatsby, looked indeed Gatsby-dapper! Great treat to watch them. I was surprised to see how much Hamill has advanced as a delicate Waltz-er. In midst Waltz, Kristi Yamaguchi, former DWTS trophy winner, joined fellow ice skating champion Hamill in a special guest appearance. Kristi partnering with Troupe dancer Sasha Farber, along with Dorothy and Henry delighted us with their side by side graceful waltz! Great production surprise! It was the first time a former trophy winner comes back for a guest appearance, a double treat with exquisite Dorothy and Henry, dancing side by side. How sweet was that! Enjoy the Waltz clip!
Hector – A Farewell Last Thought
No doubt what’s best in this show is that which captures your heart. Andy Dick’s heart-on-his-sleeve comedic dances, Sharna’s salt of the earth expressiveness, Jacoby’s mom holding the 10 paddle, Len apologizing to Derek with love, Henry Byalikov’s filtered nobility as he dances with exquisite spirit Dorothy Hamill, Val tearing up for Zendaya and treating her so gently, Zendaya putting on her first high heels on to dance. Pros and Stars all kissing Ingo’s boy Peanut as they run out, Mark telling Aly to put Boston Strong in her heart when she dances! The human stuff! What better tribute to a family show than to see Kellie and Derek’s families embracing and crying in the audience, celebrating their triumph! Did you see Derek’s granddad embracing Kellie’s husband? Derek tearing up as his mom cries after their Freestyle! How sweet it is that they formed a DWTS loving family! Rivals celebrate each other’s ups and downs, with love. When the winners were announced, big Jacoby sweeps Kellie on his huge shoulders, sincerely moved! Mark puts bro Derek on his shoulders (and we hope he won’t drop him!) When the cruelest cut fell upon Aly and Mark, how heartwarming to see the finalists run to console and embrace them. Farewell to all! For a brief time, we loved you, warts and all! Let’s hope for as heartfelt an encore next fall!
Jayne – A Farewell Last Thought
The highs for me this season were seeing Sharna Burgess moved to Pro and having opportunity for her to display some of her amazing choreography she comes up. And have to mention Sharna’s partner, Andy Dick. Andy’s journey, for me, was by far the most interesting. Thoroughly enjoyed him. Also was very excited to see Henry having opportunity to showcase his talent and dance with Dorothy. I thought that the Troupe was exceptional as well this season. That being said, the low points for me were Dorothy having to step out of the competition, thus losing not only her, but Tristan. I started out the season really encouraged that this might have been a marker year for him on the show, but not to be. Then double whammy when he wasn’t able to return to dance for the Finale because of an injury he suffered. So sad. But, not wanting to end on a low note, I’ll say CONGRATULATIONS to Kellie and Derek for the Mirror Ball Trophy and congrats to everyone for a successful and enjoyable Season 16!!
So that about wraps it up for us for Season 16! Thank you for coming along on the ride! We appreciate all the support we’ve received! Feel free to leave us a note in the comment section below. We love feedback and always enjoy connecting with YOU!