Dancing with the Stars wants you to be able to go into the Thanksgiving holiday with all your focus on stuffing your face, so it's wrapping up this splendid Season 23 tomorrow night so you won't get into an argument with drunken Aunt Thelma about who will hoist the Mirrorball Trophy as champion.
But before we get to tomorrow night's announcement of the winner, there's one more night of elimination to whittle the competition down to three couples. Each of the four semifinalists will dance twice tonight, before one is sent packing. And there's no easy pick to get ousted tonight, so it should be a nail biter until the very end.
Let's review the dances and see who got eliminated.
ROUND 1 - THE REDEMPTION DANCE
The dance: This was a downright gentlemanly number from Calvin and Lindsay, and a solid start to night one of the finals. Calvin and Lindsay look so good out there together, and while there was nothing that totally popped in this routine, it was smooth as sandblasted silk in Vitamix on high. But there wasn't any electricity to it, and because it's the semifinal, it won't get the 10s the couple needs. In summary, great dance, but not great enough.
What the judges say: Len called Calvin "without a doubt the most improved dancer" of the competition. Bruno said he really took the lead, and he did it without jumping out of his chair. Carrie Ann went into Lift Nazi mode and said something about a foot coming up, and everyone was like, "AWWW C'MON!" Also, they surprised Calvin with his son and he almost lost it. What a sweet moment.
The score: 35/40, with Carrie Ann handing out the 8.
The dance: Gleb was hit with the flu this week, so they didn't get the practice time together that they should have had while Gleb bathed in essential oils and pounded Vitamin Water, or whatever it is one does when sick. Still, he would not be denied and of course he looked great. There were some synchronicity issues with their timing as one of them felt a quarter of a step behind on some of the more pronounced moves. And maybe it was because they didn't spend enough practice time together, but there was a dip in their passion, which is one of their strengths.
What the judges say: "I still think you're hotter than Hell," said Bruno. Carrie Ann said another foot come off the ground and she needed to penalize them. Julianne thought they lacked a spark.
The score: 35/40, tied with Calvin and Lindsay.
The dance: Just another outing for Laurie to go out there and kick some butt. What strikes me about Laurie is how quick she's able to go from one position to another. It's like she's a human flip book or a large hummingbird, cocking her arms one second and then in a totally different position in the next without seeing the motions inbetween. But she's able to lock in that second position with ease, which worked so well with this aggressive Paso Doblé. It all looked great from where I was sitting.
What the judges say: Bruno finally jumped out of his seat, wondering what happened to his sweet Laurie. Carrie Ann said Laurie is the most determined soul she's met. "There was nothing in that dance that I did not like," Len. Len!
The score: 38/40, 10s from Len and Bruno.
The dance: Ahh, the old "two nerds fall in love" routine. Minus a point for that, from this self-proclaimed nerd. But what was it about this dance that felt so short and unsubstantial? Regardless, James — wearing taped glasses — looked great out there as always, gliding around like a human kite. There wasn't a whole lot to the dance, but there also wasn't anything particularly wrong with it, either.
What the judges say: Julianne called it the perfect foxtrot, and Tom wondered if Sharna had ever seen a librarian look like she did. Nope! Carrie Ann, and others, noticed one foot blunder on James' part.
The score: 37/40, with Bruno handing out the 10.
ROUND 2 - FREESTYLE
The dance: Tapping into Jana's troubled romantic past, Gleb and Jana were bound together with a piece of fabric, which I took to signify the shackling of her relationships. And when "Unstoppable" exploded, Jana was freed from the bond and suddenly Gleb was twirling her around with some impressive moves that included holding her on her shoulder and then sweeping her down to the floor in one swift motion. But the highlight here was Jana's face, which showed all the pain and triumph she's endured.
What the judges say: Len said there was something that happened when Jana was flying across the floor. Bruno threw in a crack about bondage, because he's Bruno. Carrie Ann called her a "precious little being" and said the dance was "stunning." Jana didn't look too stoked throughout all of the judges' comments. Gleb was bummed, too.
The score: 36/40. Is that enough?
The dance: The mixing of two songs was such a good idea for a freestyle, because it shows the ability to work in two tempos and switch things up. But then they also incorporated TWO conveyer belts into their dance, moving around forward and backward while their background dancers moved in and out of the picture. And THEN they showcased a bunch of tosses and twirls with Calvin hoisting Lindsay up and doing a double twirl and then launching her backward over his head? This was really, really good. Between their salsa three-way from last and this, they've shown a sense of creativity and fun that the other dancers don't have. I really hope they make it to the finals.
What the judges say: "I absolutely loved it, SO GOOD!" said Julianne. Carrie Ann said, "The world needs a little more Calvin Johnson, Jr."
The score: 40/40, a perfecto. That should get them to the finals, but it's up to the fans and Terra was sent home the same night she landed two perfect scores. So...
The dance: With a focus on Laurie's youthfulness, the duo came out on the floor adorned with playground rides, like a slide, see-saw, and more. The beginning of the routine was a little rocky, but once they got past that it was a spectacular routine full of joy and reminding us of when we could run about without creaking knees or fears that our hips would break. Laurie threw in a few gymnastics moves, which never hurts, but it was her personality that really came to the fore with this. And that's a winner.
What the judges say: "Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of AWESOME," said Julianne. Uhhh... okay, Julianne. Carrie Ann said she knew Laurie would be great, but not this good.
The score: 40/40, solidifying her place in the finals. Not that it was in any doubt.
The dance: Not gonna lie, basing a dance on a near-fatal car crash seems a bit... weird? And the opening voiceover of James talking about the crash while car-crash sound effects were behind was... weird. Contemporary and interpretive dance will always be an elusive beast for me, but I just can't help but think this didn't showcase James' strengths even if it was incredibly personal. But hey, what do I know? I will say that James once again danced like he belongs in the final, and possibly holding the trophy at the end.
What the judges say: Carrie Ann said she has never seen a more intelligent, creative freestyle dance. Julianne said every week James outdoes himself. "Visual poetry," said Bruno.
The score: 40/40. See you in the finals, James.
And just like that, it was over. But someone had to go, and it was Jana and Gleb. This was another incredibly tough decision for everyone, but I have to say everyone got it right.
The Dancing with the Stars finale airs Tuesday night at 9/8c on ABC.