After Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough uncorked one of the best freestyles in “Dancing with the Stars” history last night, they were my pick to win season 16. Even though Disney kid Zendaya Coleman and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy cumulatively scored the highest on Monday’s three dances, they never matched the power and passion of the singer and golden boy pro. The crowd reaction gave Kellie and Derek additional momentum, with Judge Carrie Ann Inaba crying, Len Goodman standing in tribute, the country cutie’s husband getting teary-eyed and even Emmitt Smith’s wife (who I would assume came to cheer on Jacoby Jones) saying “wow!” I believed Zendaya would come in second, Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas third and Jacoby and Karina Smirnoff booted off in fourth place during the first hour.
Other than that, I was looking forward to seeing old favorites from the season return for their traditional exhibition dances, including Xfinity fan favorite Andy Dick. With that in mind, here was what happened at the season 16 finale:
They started with a big group number including all the cast and there was Andy Dick shakin’ it in a cute black and green neon outfit and D.L. Hughley in Cheryl Burke’s arms (memba him?). Wynonna Judd rode in on her scooter and even injured Dorothy Hamill was in the background of one of the scenes.
After a recap of last night’s action, we saw Brooke Burke-Charvet glowing with extra spray tan for the occasion. Of course, Kellie and Derek did the encore dance of their freestyle from last night. Derek held Kellie once more in that extended full body dip and I thought it was even lower tonight but he managed to lift her back up. Incredible! Brooke went out on a limb said it was her all-time favorite dance.
Now, right off, someone was going to be sent home. Jacoby was chewing gum and looking unhappy, rolling his eyes as the four couples stood there. But, surprise! Aly and Mark were given their walking papers instead! Wow. I didn't see that one coming. Granted, I thought they could have had a better freestyle, but still, it was much better than Jacoby's. So the gymnast didn't even get the bronze medal, finishing fourth and watching her show journey on camera. Note to the pros: Dances that are too weird simply don't work with the fans and Aly and Mark's effort last night screamed postmodern.
In a dance routine tribute to the women of season 16, Aly was a good sport and participated, even after she was just kicked off. Then Wynonna was back to sing, not dance, performing "I Want to Know What Love Is" as her partner Tony Dovolani danced with Peta Murgatroyd.
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Lisa Vanderpump and Gleb Savchenko reprised their pink foxtrot from earlier this season and then Judge Len cut in and steered around the “Real Housewife” in the middle of the dance, too cute! Dorothy came back to talk about withdrawing from “DWTS,” which she joined after being inspired by fellow skater Kristi Yamaguchi (who won “DWTS” five years ago). Dorothy was determined to do some sort of exhibition Tuesday even though her partner Tristan MacManus was injured and couldn’t perform. So the former ice skater took to the ballroom floor with Henry Bialokov instead and wait, there was Kristi Yamaguchi, too, dancing with Sasha! It was really fun to see the two former Olympians together.
So Andy then got a whole comedy segment, sitting in the rehearsal room and crying in a sea of Kleenex. The joke was, the comedian was heartbroken after being eliminated-but then mistakenly believed he was back in the competition! He and partner Sharna Burgess performed their Mad Hatter jazz number again but this time it was supersized with a whole cast of Alice in Wonderland extra characters. It was really good- Andy was both funny and oddly proficient at the same time.
Next, rapper Psy took the "DWTS" stage, performing his new hit "Gentleman" just like he did on "American Idol" last week. I was wishing they could have re-done the "DWTS" "Gangnam Style" routine from last season's All-Stars with the season 16 cast instead. But at least some of the "DWTS" cast joined Psy at the end of this number, including "Gentleman" Andy!
Brooke checked in on Val and Zendaya as they practiced their instant dance and the pro talked about getting 14 stitches in his eye lid area. But before the final three would do their instant dance, there was another Idol refugee, Pitbull, performing his hit "Hands Up." Filler-rific!
Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff: Instant Salsa
Time for the final dance round-first up were the angry-looking Jacoby and his hardy pro, Karina. She seemed like a psychologist in their pre-dance segment! So their instant salsa made Jacoby look like he was back to better form after his misfire last night. And they ended with that weird move where Jacoby leaps at Karina and she's suddenly under his legs and we think he's going to decapitate her. Len said there was a naturalness about Jacoby and he was a "breath of fresh air." Ma raised her "10" paddle in the audience while Bruno said he could watch the athlete any time. Carrie Ann cited his rough start in the finals but said his salsa was a dance of a champion.
Derek Hough and Kellie Pickler: Instant Jive
The couple looked at photos of themselves dancing together for final inspiration, then it was all hugs in rehearsal. Their jive started with Derek doing a cartwheel then he and Kellie did a whole lot of spins and high kicks. Kellie's splits were particularly good and it was amazing how limber the singer still was after all these weeks. I think she ended a little off the beat, but who cared? Bruno shouted it was like watching Derek with his sister, Julianne Hough! Carrie Ann said it was a perfect ending to their season. Len raved that Kellie was "the bee's knees!" Was everyone getting a 30 tonight? What was the point?
Zendaya Coleman and Val Chmerkovskiy: Instant Jive
Fresh from getting stiches, brave Val was back in the studio with Zendaya. The 16-year-old laughed every time he saw the eye scar, Val would think of her! So their instant jive featured Zendaya in pink sneakers, take that, Lisa! I got the most into this one than any of the dances because it was so high energy. A great ending for the Disney star and her Mad Russian and they shared a sweet hug at the end. Carrie Ann said she was going to be sad not to watch them dance anymore. Len cited her maturity and according to Bruno, she had pitch perfect performing instincts. Val said Zendaya had given him purpose.
I wanted to see the results, already. But first, inexplicably, another "American Idol" person, Jessica Sanchez, was on hand to warble "Feel This Moment" to the final three couples. Whatever.
Okay, NOW it was time for the results. The celeb who was finishing third was….Jacoby! So the football star was in third place and his Ma seemed satisfied with that, thank God. "I've never had a woman pushing me like" Karina, he growled to Brooke.
So it was the final two I expected, Kellie and Zendaya. And the winner of season 16 was…….Kellie! The golden couple took the mirror ball as I thought! Yay, Kellie!
It had been quite a season of Dancing with the Stars, and in my opinion, one of the best! Thank you, Xfinitytv readers, for all your clicks this year on the show blog. Look for my finale backstage interviews tomorrow, then I will catch you all in the fall for season 17, when the show will be downsized to Mondays only - but more fun than ever!