Dancing with the Stars 3, November 15: We Have a Winner!by Sandy Lamparello -- 11/16/2006
After nine eliminations, hours and hours of rehearsal, tons of filler, and performances running the gamut from the good, to the bad, to the ugly, we’ve finally arrived at the night we’ve all been waiting for. Who among us thought Emmitt would be standing here right now? Admit it, you didn’t think Emmitt would come as far as he has during the first few weeks of this season. Mario, on the other hand, seemed a sure bet from the word “Go.”
My faithful and very able assistant, Ally the Maryland SPCA adoptee, is openly rooting for Emmitt tonight, and though I’m appalled at her lack of journalistic integrity and impartiality, I can’t say I disagree. Don’t get me wrong, Mario is great and perhaps the better technical dancer, but Emmitt just has that certain je ne sais quoi that makes him a real joy to watch. But for a nit-picky nine awarded by Bruno last night, Emmitt would be in first place all by himself. I’m warning you Bruno, Ally is really mad about that!
If you missed any of last night’s action, click on over to my recap. At the end of the night, the standings were as follows:
Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris welcome us, and introduce finalists Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke and Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff. They review last night’s final performances. This should take at least 15 minutes knowing this show. The judges gush over Emmitt and Mario and perfect scores abound. Len and Bruno draw boos from the crowd for awarding nines. Overall, it was fun and the best dances of the season took place last night. And as you already know, at the end of the night our stars were tied.
Karina and Cheryl both believe their partners deserve to walk away with the trophy. No matter what happens tonight, they can both be proud of their accomplishments. Awww. Samantha reminds us that tonight, it can’t be a tie. Tom says the judges couldn’t even pick a winner, so it was up to you, the viewers. We’ll find out who you chose in a little while.
But first, the finalists get to repeat one performance from last night. Len tells us the judges selected Emmitt & Cheryl’s first dance, the samba to Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke.” They look great again and I love Emmitt even more after watching him work it up there! They hug at the end once again, and Emmitt’s family explodes in applause, along with the rest of the audience.
For Mario & Karina’s encore performance the judges chose their final freestyle dance, performed to “It Takes Two.” The music still distracts me but they put on a great show once again. It’s a good thing Ally is 63 years old in people years, because some of those moves—wow! Definitely for adults only. It’s a fun performance and Mario ends with that adorable smile, just like last night. The audience cheers again.
It’s time to check in on Tysonia and the Slim-Fast Challenge! She’s come a long way. It took her a bit to catch on at first, but as the weeks progressed she did better and better and she gained confidence, poise, and energy—and lost 15 pounds along the way! As if that wasn’t enough, she got a promotion at work! Tysonia encourages everyone to take on a new challenge. As someone who recently took up running, I could not agree more! Tysonia looks great and should be an inspiration to us all. Great job, Tysonia!
Tom introduces last season’s champion, Drew Lachey, who will be performing on the Dancing with the Stars tour! Tom reviews the season (again), and you can read about it all in Jill’s excellent recaps.
Our eliminated stars are back! Tucker & Elena cha cha cha. Tucker still looks stiff but seems to have improved some since week one. Shanna & Jesse mambo. They do a great job, though I don’t see much energy in the performance. Harry & Ashly quickstep and I remember why I loved Harry so much. He really looks like he’s enjoying himself. Vivica & Nick paso doble in their turquoise outfits and it’s very crisp and clean. The music ends with all the performers lined up on stage, right fists raised in the air.
After what feels like an hour of commercials, the rest of our eliminated stars perform. Willa & Maksim rumba and they still appear to have a little somethin’ somethin’ going on off the dance floor. They look great together. Sara & Tony jive and it’s good to see Sara back and smiling. I still don’t get the country thing but she seems to be having fun.
Jerry & Kym samba. Complete with maracas and feathers. Jerry is goofy, fun, and entertaining. Monique and JILL’s Louis jive and I realize how much I’ve missed Louis these last few weeks. (Don’t worry Jill, he’s all yours!) Joey & Edyta foxtrot with an umbrella. Joey looks great but after last night’s performances, it’s clear the right two stars made the finals. The last five couples line up on stage and blow kisses to the audience.
Emmitt’s wife Pat says when she first saw him out there she was blown away and knew people would be shocked. Mario’s mom wanted to cry when she saw him up there. Emmitt’s former teammate Rodney Peete looked forward to seeing what outfit he’d be wearing each week, and Ryan Seacrest says the same about Mario.
Pat has been nervous for Emmitt every week on show day and results day. Eva Longoria has been pulling for Mario the whole way. More of the same from various other friends. Emmitt’s and Mario’s moms make me cry. They’ll both be proud of their boys no matter what happens. Ally is clearly moved too, as she leaves her cookie for later so she can finish watching the show.
Tom asks all the eliminated stars for their favorite moment from the show. Tucker says the chair, Shanna says dancing the criss-cross and Jerry smashing the guitar, Harry says dancing with Ashly and looking out and seeing his wife Lisa out in the audience cheering him on even when he was less than perfect. Vivica says making new friends and dancing with Nick. Tom asks if they will stay in touch and Vivica jokingly says no.
Willa says the week of the waltz when her grandmother came to see her. Sara says making a life-long friend in Tony and everyone claps. Jerry says when they said he could keep the frilly shirt he’s wearing tonight, then says having his daughter Katie there was very special. Monique loved having her mom in the audience, but her real favorite moment was finding out that Jerry Springer was her dad. Ha! Tom says, “Okay then!” Joey’s favorite moment was having his wife and his mom there with him.
Samantha says Emmitt has inspired many football fans through his performances, and it’s been an emotional journey for the partnership of Emmitt & Cheryl. Cue retrospective. Cheryl thought she would have a lot of trouble teaching such a big guy to dance. She would have never thought he could dance as well as he has. Emmitt just wanted to show her he could do it and wanted to learn more than anything. They’ve become friends and are like brother and sister now. Cheryl thanks Emmitt for all the advice he gave her, and Emmitt thanks her for pushing him and believing in him. He says he loves her as Cheryl cries.
Mario wants the trophy just as bad as Emmitt, and he’s become as talented as a professional dancer. Mario thought Karina was as firecracker from the start, and she had her days when she wanted to kill him slowly and painfully. Review of the illegal moves. Karina says that put so much pressure on him and after that Mario wanted to practice 24/7. They are also great friends and Mario hopes he made her proud. She says he has and she hopes their friendship will last for a long, long time.
It’s finally time to award the disco ball trophy! (Personally, I think it’s a bit tacky, but who am I to say so?) Ally is sitting up, fidgeting with anticipation. The champion of Dancing with the Stars 3 is… EMMITT SMITH! And partner Cheryl Burke, of course. WOW, that makes two seasons in a row for Cheryl. You know next season’s stars are clamoring for her as their partner already!
Everyone cheers and Emmitt’s family is overcome with joy. Tom says Roger Staubach will have to give Emmitt respect now! Emmitt congratulates Mario & Karina and thanks Mario for his hard work and effort. Awww, Emmitt is so classy! Ally celebrates with a peanut butter filled bone.
Mario is very gracious but Karina looks less than excited. She says Mario is her true champion, and the best man for her on the competition. Mario thanks her for her hard work and dedication to him.
Emmitt & Cheryl hoist the trophy at center stage as the judges and the audience stand and applaud. All of the eliminated stars and professionals join the champ on stage and it’s hugs all around. Emmitt’s daughters join him as Jerry hugs Mario—and gives him a kiss on the cheek.
What a great season! I hate to see it end. It’s been my pleasure to bring you these final two shows, and of course to perform my usual judging duties for the rest of the season. I know I learned a lot about dancing from this show, and I hope you did too. I can’t wait for next season!
On behalf of regular recapper Jill Jones (and her dog Yoko), my fellow “We’ll Be the Judge of That!” panelists Ashley Lundy and Logan Huffman, and all of us here at RNO, thanks for sticking with us through this great season. We enjoyed bringing you all the action (and the filler too) and we hope you enjoyed reading about it. Stay tuned for Dancing with the Stars 4! Ciao!
Sandy Lamparello is an Assistant Editor for Reality News Online and a Legal Editor for a publishing company in Washington, DC. She is beginning to feel the effects of LOST withdrawal. You may reach her at email@example.com.
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