The talk-show host. The reality star. The war hero.
Only one will be crowned the winner on Tuesday’s (November 22) “Dancing With the Stars” season finale, but you better believe Ricki Lake, Rob Kardashian and J.R. Martinez are hoping their dance moves win over America’s heart.
On Monday night, they performed two dances each — the second was a freestyle dance — and the judges loved what Kardashian brought to the table. After weeks of seeing everyone else nab the highest scores, it was the reality star who brought home the top spot on the leaderboard.
Here’s how everyone fared:
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough
Lake, the sole remaining woman in the competition, went first, dancing the cha-cha to Chris Brown’s “Yeah 3x,” and the judges loved it, telling her she was living the dance and exuding confidence. “Action-packed performance. Good timing. Good rhythm. Hips were working good. It’s a dance deserving of this final. Well done,” hard-to-please judge Len Goodman told her. 27/30
When Lake came back for her freestyle, she burst through a screen (of her larger self from earlier in the season; since being on the show she’s shed quite a bit of weight), and they shimmied and flipped and twisted and turned all about the stage. The judges said their dance was demanding and difficult. “It was fun, it was entertaining. Overall, what a great number,” Goodman said. 27/30
Lake’s overall score: 54/60
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke
The reality star —whose big sister Kim watched from the audience for the first time since her divorce — danced the waltz, and the judges found his movements to be a little heavy and said he lost his posture at times. Carrie Ann Inaba said he was the male version of Cinderella. Overall, they thought it was simple and beautiful. “Tonight, you were flowing and you were glowing. So full of expression. I love the continuity of lines,” judge Bruno Tonioli said. 27/30
For their second dance of the night, Kardashian and Burke danced on a set that mirrored Harlem, New York’s Cotton Club, and Cheryl said she wanted to play to Rob’s strengths. That meant their dance started off slow and then kicked up a notch and finished fast. The judges said their dance blew them all away. “Brilliant contact! Brilliant execution! Brilliant performance!” Tonioli yelled. 30/30
Kardashian’s overall score: 57/60
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff
For much of the season, he’s topped the leaderboard — or at least been close — until last week. His ankle was injured, but he danced in spite of it, and his scores suffered. For his cha-cha on Monday, his ankle was in much better shape, but the judges said Martinez was off-time and there were many mistakes. Tonioli was the lone judge who gave him praise. Carrie Ann Inaba offered: “I think when people watch you dance, they just fall in love with your spirit. Tonight, your musicality was a bit off. We’re in the finals, so watch your arms. I know you’ve got it in you.” 24/30
Martinez performed the final freestyle of the night, and they went with a Latin-inspired routine to pay homage to his Latin heritage. The judges said this time around, he redeemed himself. They said his dance was hypnotic and found it to be an incredible comeback from his first-round routine. “That’s the way to come back! Those lifts were the sickest lifts I’ve ever seen — congratulations!” Inaba cheered. 30/30
Martinez’s overall score: 54/60
Who had your favorite dance of the finals? Let us know in the comments!