Dancing With the Stars: Athletes Finale Review

It's hard to believe it's already finale of Dancing With the Stars: Athletes! I know I say that every season, but I literally can not believe it this time. That's mostly because of the moronic decision for this season to only be four weeks long. And with a super-short finale to boot! I could rant forever about my disdain for this poorly-planned season, but let's focus on the dancing, shall we?

Tonya Harding & Sasha Farber:
I've enjoyed watching Tonya's journey this season more than anyone else, because she really has grown. It's pretty strange to say that considering that this season has only lasted four weeks, but I've really noticed a lot of growth here. Her Viennese Waltz was beautiful, but her freestyle was one of the most fun things I've ever seen on DWTS. Watching it was pure joy, and I loved every last second of it. That's the dance of a champion in my eyes.
Score (Viennese Waltz): 9
Score (Freestyle): 10

Josh Norman & Sharna Burgess:
Josh hasn't been my favorite dancer this season, but I can't deny that he's had a lot of great dances. While his Foxtrot was enjoyable, his Freestyle overshadowed it in just about every way. Sharna's choreography was amazing, and Josh executed it perfectly. I'm so impressed and he has officially won me over.
Score (Foxtrot): 9
Score (Freestyle): 10

Adam Rippon & Jenna Johnson:
Adam has dominated the competition so far, so I was expecting a dominating final two performances. Instead, I only got one dominating finale performance. His Jazz dance, while not the night's best (or his personal best, in my opinion), was very strong and very enjoyable. His freestyle was a huge letdown. It wasn't that bad, but I really was unimpressed and so let down by it. It was honestly one of my least favorite freestyles of recent memory, I just didn't really enjoy it. I was left wanted so much more, especially since I know he's capable of so much more. I was expecting an incredible, breathtaking freestyle and I just didn't get it. I wish I did.
Score (Jazz): 10
Score (Freestyle): 8

Dance of the Night: Tonya & Sasha's Freestyle
Honorable Mention: Josh & Sharna's Freestyle

Rankings for the Week:
1- Tonya & Sasha's Freestyle
2- Josh & Sharna's Freestyle
3- Adam & Jenna's Jazz
4- Tonya & Sasha's Viennese Waltz
5- Josh & Sharna's Foxtrot
6- Adam & Jenna's Freestyle

Well, that was a letdown. There were some great dances, and some not-so-great dances, but the issues with this episode and the season as a whole cut so much deeper than the dancing ability of its stars. The short length of this season left it without any of the traditional DWTS magic. There wasn't a themed week to be found, which is an essential part of the DWTS experience. We also barely even got to meet the stars, and the season is already done. It's absolutely ridiculous. I'm so disappointed with how rushed the season felt, and that all culminated in this barely-existing season finale. With a skimpy one-hour runtime, the finale perfectly illustrated the problems with the season. It was still enjoyable, but there was so much wrong with it. I love a good ole' fashioned DWTS finale, one that features returns from the eliminated contestants and one that gives us enough time to reflect on the season that preceded it.

And all of that disdain I have for the season is before it ended disappointingly. While I can't deny that Adam was a great dancer throughout the season, but I really can't get past him freestyle. I've been pulling for Tonya all season long, and I would have loved to see her pull off the win, because she's been a very consistently strong dancer, even if she hasn't always been the best. But I also think Josh was a more deserving winner, because he also delivered strong dances season-long. I can't say that I'm upset with the result, but I do feel like there were more deserving winners here.

Also, thanks to ABC for only giving DWTS an hour-long finale while the filler-packed American Idol finale got a full two hours. Great choice! Really made for a great DWTS finale!

Score: 6/10
Grade: C-

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