Retired Cubs catcher David Ross came out swinging Monday night in his first dance of the two-part finals of “Dancing with the Stars.”
Let’s make that twirling.
The baseball player and his pro partner Lindsay Arnold performed their “Redemption Dance,” a twirl-filled Viennese waltz, in the first round, during which all the competitors revisited a dance they already performed this season. It’s every pair’s chance to hopefully get a better score for the specific dance, performed to a new song and utilizing a new routine.
On this night, Ross scored a 33 out of 40 from the judges’ panel in round one.
But it was round two, the Freestyle round, where Ross hit it out of the park, scoring a perfect 40 out of 40 from the judges’ panel that bestowed very much-deserved praise on Ross and Arnold for their baseball-themed, wild ride of a routine.
Judge Len Goodman, whose been sharply critical of Ross throughout the season, was all smiles as he remarked: “Every week since week one I’ve been waiting for you to knock it out of the park. The only thing missing tonight was a beer and a hot dog. That was fantastic!”
“Everyone has their own personal best. Tonight you hit your personal best,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said. Ross’ total score for the night: 73 out of 80
For their Redemption Round dance, Fifth Harmony’s Normani Kordei (who was coming off an ankle injury suffered during rehearsals) and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy danced the quickstep to mixed reaction from the judges. Entering the night in second place on the leader board, the pair knew they had their work cut out for them, if they wanted to surpass the leaders, NFL running back Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater.
Their quickstep efforts earned mixed reaction from the judges (Bruno Tonioli called it “brilliant” while Goodman and Julianne Hough cited some “lack of body contact” necessary for the dance, which was visible due to her catsuit costume) who scored the singer a 38 out of 40.
Len Goodman called the dance “breathtaking.” Her score: a perfect 40 out of 40. Kordei’s total score for the night: 78 out of 80
Jennings and Slater were last up in the first round, performing the Viennese waltz as their Redemption Dance.
“I’ve never won at anything,” Jennings told Slater during their rehearsals. “Never won a playoff game, never won a championship. I came close but never won the prize. … I didn’t think I would make it this far.”
The elegant, sizzling waltz earned the duo a standing ovation, and a tidal wave of praise from the judges.
Carrie Ann Inaba remarked: “I’m blown away. Your tireless pursuit of personal best and perfection is so amazing. You have magic happening. This is what makes winners winners.”
Rashad’s hard work and determination paid off, as the judges awarded him a perfect 40 out of 40.
For his freestyle routine, Rashad was in it to win it, with a hip-hip, house- and drumline-infused routine, which, as judge Julianne Hough remarked, would go down as one of the most iconic freestyles in the history of the show. His freestyle score: a perfect 40 out of 40. Total score for the night: a perfect 80 out of 80.
The judges’ totals scores for the night, plus viewer votes from Monday night as well votes from the May 15 episode will factor in to the final results to be revealed Tuesday night in part 2 of the finals, during which the three contestants will dance one more routine, for judges’ scores only, which will also be factored in to the final results.
So who will win the mirrorball trophy? Based on judges’ scores, Jennings is the favorite going into Tuesday night’s Fusion Dance round. Based on fans’ votes, it’s been pretty clear all season that Cubs fans are root, root, rooting for their champ to take home the trophy.
We’ll all have to tune in Tuesday night.