ABC/Craig Sjodin(LOS ANGELES) — And then there were three.
The first night of the two-night finale of season 25 of Dancing with the Stars was a high-energy television event that featured Pitbull and Fifth Harmony; Lionel Richie; and finalists Frankie Muniz, HGTV’s Property Brothers star Drew Scott, Broadway star Jordan Fisher and violinist Lindsey Stirling. Though he would turn in his best performance of the season on Monday night, Mr. Drew Scott was sent to look for a new home.
The first night of the finals featured two rounds of competition. First, stars and their partners had to participate in the “Redemption Round,” during which the judges gave the stars some personal attention and a directive to focus on a performance from earlier in the season that needed improvement.
Later, the couples competed in the freestyles. Monday also featured special guest judge Julianne Hough, upping the ante for a potential of 40 points per dance.
The night began when Judge Bruno Tonioli arrived dressed for a dance renovation as a construction worker, albeit a stylized version of one. He was there to work with Drew on a paso doble from the “Action Film” paso that was not Drew’s finest moment earlier in the season. Bruno said, “I expect a transformation from you, Drew.” Bruno challenged him to sort out his shaping, artistry and timing. After his routine, the judges call it his best dance. Drew and Emma Slater’s paso doble earned a 36 out of 40
Carrie Ann Inaba asked Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson to see a repeat their week-one foxtrot because she thinks Frankie can actually win the competition. Part of the challenge is for Frankie to deliver a solo portion of his routine. They danced to Frank Sinatra’s “I Won’t Dance” and impressed the judges enough to earn a score of 38.
Later, Pitbull and Fifth Harmony showed up to perform their new single, “Por Favor.”
Judge Len Goodman showed up at Jordan and Lindsay Arnold’s rehearsal to coach them on his redemption Charleston. Len wanted more traditional moves, but their explosive number, in spite of Lindsay’s bad knee and Jordan’s corneal abrasion, earned them a perfect score.
He didn’t dance on the ceiling but brand new American Idol judge Lionel Richie showed up to announce Brittany Holmes as the “Golden Ticket” winner who will get a shot at stardom. Idol will return to television on Sunday, March 11 on ABC.
Julianne Hough coached Lindsey Stirling on her quickstep. After the performance, Len Goodman said, “I know you can play the violin, but there was no fiddling about with that quickstep. Honestly. All the flair, the difficulty with quickstep is to get the speed but maintain the control. And you did that. You used the word. I’m going to use a word I never use because it’s an American word… Awesome.” Their routine brought them a perfect score.
Drew Scott returned for his second dance, a freestyle that Emma said, “is going to be different than everybody else’s because you’re different from everybody else.” Their lively dance earned Drew praise from everyone but Carrie Ann, who claimed to have seen him go out of sync with the team of dancers and ruined his chance at a perfect score. Drew’s freestyle earned him his highest score of 39.
Frankie and Witney chose a freestyle with dark aspects in spite of a producer’s suggestion that Frankie be light. The decision to go out of his comfort zone drew cheers from the audience as they chanted his name after the routine. The judges praised the performance and the decision to go dark but Carrie Ann and Len only awarded 9s while Bruno and Julianne both gave them 10s for a score of 38.
Almost unsurprisingly, Jordan Fisher’s jazzy freestyle and Lindsey’s quirky freestyle with Mark Ballas earned them each their second perfect scores for the night.
After an exciting evening filled with magnificent performances, the combined viewer votes and judges’ scores put Jordan and Lindsey into competition for the Mirror Ball. Drew and Frankie were in jeopardy but it was Frankie Muniz who actually made it to the finals.
Drew Scott showed great sportsmanship with his closing remarks, saying of his partner, “I mean, there’s no way I could have done anything I did out here without her. It’s been such a ride. I can’t believe I’m here with these guys. Thank you, thanks to the judges, crew, and everybody. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The second night of finals on Dancing with the Stars airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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