There’s just one episode left in Season 23 of “Dancing With the Stars,” which means the cast has seriously dwindled. When the show kicked off in September there were 13 pairs vying for the Mirror Ball trophy — as of Monday, there are only three.
During Week 11 the final four were tasked with performing two dances on the ABC competition series. The first, a redemption routine of their worst dancing style from Season 23 and the second, a freestyle. The night kicks off with Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold performing a Viennese Waltz followed by Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko’s Tango. Gleb was uncertain until the last moment that he’d be able to perform in part 1 of the “DWTS” finale due to a bout with the flu and was forced to sit out much of their practice, which showed in their routine.
Next up Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy take the ballroom stage, wowing with a fierce Paso Doble. The audience and the judges — especially Len Goodman — are impressed with how far Laurie has come and the fact that the generally cheery teen has finally tapped into her aggressive side. Last, but certainly not least, James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess perform a near-perfect Foxtrot only to lose a few points for a minor trip during their dance.
The freestyle dances provide each of the final four Season 23 couples an opportunity to shine, but also appear to be creating a lot of stress for the pro half of each partnership. Still, each team hit the ballroom with something spectacular. Jana and Gleb are first to go during the freestyle portion of Week 11, performing an interpretive dance. The judges are largely impressed with what they’ve done, but can’t forgive a minor trip on Gleb’s part. Next up Calvin and Lindsay get technical, performing a high-energy dance involving flips, tricks and treadmills. They receive the first perfect score of the night as well as wild cheers from audience members and judges alike.
For their freestyle, Val channels Laurie’s inner child — showcasing the joy and love of life that she has embodied throughout Season 23 of “DWTS.” Like Calvin and Lindsay, their routine gets the audience on their feet and nearly moves judge Carrie Ann Inaba to tears — happy ones, of course. Anchoring the show once more are James and Sharna, who manage to showcase the Indycar driver’s brush with death in an interpretive dance.
After all is said and done and the performances are scored, it’s time to say goodbye to one of the remaining four “DWTS” pairs. Laurie and Val are the first to be called safe, followed by Calvin and Lindsay. That leaves James and Sharna and Jana and Gleb uncertain of their fate. With just moments left in the episode host Tom Bergeron announces — much to everyone’s surprise — that it’s Jana and Gleb leaving the ballroom for good.
The final episode of Season 23 of “DWTS” airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST on ABC. Which of the final pairs do you think is going to take home the Mirror Ball Trophy?