The finale of "Dancing with the Stars" summed up season 13 in an over-dramatized recap of Ricki Lake conquering her personal demons, J.R. Martinez exposing his vulnerability and Rob Kardashian blossoming from a boy into a man. Yup, that about sums it up, in a very melodramatic way.
Each of the finalists got to resurrect a favorite performance of the season. For Ricki and partner Derek Hough, that was the "Psycho" tango they performed during Hollywood week. A strong choice and certainly one of their more memorable dances with the shadow play, intense music and mood.
Rob and Cheryl brought back their Sinatra "Fly Me to the Moon" foxtrot from week 3 -- a dance Rob had dedicated to his late father. He surely improved his footwork and carriage in the weeks since. The Kardashian brood showed up in force at the finale, and have probably been the most well-represented cheering section throughout the season.
J.R. and Karina recreated their "Jump, Jive an' Wail" jive, but revised it to take out a few elements that the judges were sour on earlier in the season: a lift that Carrie Ann Inaba penalized them for and Lindy Hop steps that Len Goodman called them out on. Still a fun, upbeat performance -- but i've got to admit that I liked the original version better!
Based on the repeat performances, the judges panel added 26 points to Rob's score from last night's show, 28 points to J.R.'s score and 30 points to Ricki's score.
At this mid-point in the show, the third place couple was announced and thus eliminated from the running. My jaw just about hit the floor when third place went to Ricki (despite the extra boost she got for her top-rated repeat performance). I expected her to duke it out with J.R. for the win.
So that left Rob and J.R. to compete in yet another round -- an instant samba performed to music assigned just minutes before: Ricky Martin's "Shake Your Bon-Bon."
While the finalists furiously choreographed and practiced, we were treated to dances from former contestants, including Ron Artest (almost forgot he was on the show!). Chynna Phillips redeemed herself by dancing the "Mission Impossible" tango that she blanked on earlier in the season, prompting her ouster. (She should have been in the finals or semi-finals, at least, had she not spaced out that night!) Carson Kressley got an entourage of back-up dancers to help him put on a number to Madonna's "Vogue."
The instant sambas didn't affect the outcome of the competition -- since the judges gave both dancers straight 10s. (Probably not technically accurate scores, but I guess they're soft this late in the contest.)
The victor -- and rightfully so, IMHO -- is J.R. Martinez. He's been a fan favorite all season and showed he could master a variety of dance styles. Oh, and it couldn't hurt that he had a great personality and heart-warming story as an Iraq war veteran. Bonus: he helped pro partner Karina Smirnoff win her first DWTS trophy.