Woohoo! Finals! Thanks for all your votes and messages!
Amber and I are so pumped. I can't believe it's my third final in a row. How crazy is that? We're really excited and it's been a great week so far.
Last week was huge for us. We got our first individual perfect score, but most importantly, Amber got the all-clear from her doctors about her knees and that really gave her the confidence to go all out and kill it. We want to use that momentum from last week and up our game. We're feeling good, staying calm and having fun. Amber's knees aren't perfect, but they're better and she can dance on them. If they're hurting, she'll ice them for 10 minutes and then we're back at it. We're not focusing on her knees at all. The producers want to talk about it in our interviews, and I'm like, "Nope! Not talking about her knees. Sorry." We're done with the knees. I get that that's our "story" this season and why they want to hear us talk about it, but there's honestly nothing more to say and we don't want that to be the focus during the final.
We have a fun idea for the freestyle. It's a supersized freestyle again. Last season, I "undersized" it for Kellie, but we're not doing that this time. The freestyle is all about playing to your partner's strengths. For Kellie, it was about showcasing her flexibility and athleticism. I watch that dance now and I still can't believe how fantastic she is. That will always be one of my favorite freestyles. This one is so different, but I think it will also be one of my favorite freestyles. We're playing to Amber's strengths, which are personality and showmanship. Amber can hold her own, so it's just giving her the floor to be the star. The theme is an old school Western and we are bringing in some outside dancers. It's looking great so far.
We have two other dances Monday night: the samba relay and the judges' repeat dance. The judges picked the Charleston for us to redo. We did the original one in Week 3 and this one's already more sharp and precise. One couple will be eliminated on Monday and then the final three will do the 24-Hour Challenge on Tuesday, so I'm not even thinking about that yet until we know our fate.
I think it's a great final four we have here and to be a part of. I don't think many people predicted this final four at the beginning of the season, but that's what's so great about the show. If you base it solely upon scores, it's very surprising. But the show has never been just about scores and the best dancer. Fans have a say with their votes and the show honors the votes. People have their favorites, but toward the end, I feel like it becomes even more unpredictable. When their favorites get knocked out, now who are they voting for? Honestly, you really don't know what's going to happen in the finale or how people will vote. All I can control is teaching Amber and coming up with great ideas, and hopefully people will respond to it.
I'm also really stoked to see Kellie perform on Monday's show. Maybe she'll be our good luck charm! My little Kell Bell could pass the torch!
Thanks for reading! See you Monday!
Dancing's Derek Hough: We're Playing to Amber's Strengths