Nov. 26, 2012 at 10:15 PM ET
Rules are made to be broken, right? Apparently, the answer is no if you're competing in the finals of "Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars." It was a lesson that Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson and pro Derek Hough learned the hard way -- again -- on Monday night.
In the first ever all-female finale (and with incredibly strong contenders at that), the finalists selected their favorite routines to perform once more, and each of them chose to do an encore of their week three "iconic" dances. For Shawn and Derek, that meant resurrecting their jaw-dropping, crowd-pleasing version of Helio Castroneves' quickstep -- complete with broken rules.
Footage from rehearsal showed the Olympian asking her pro whether they could afford to break hold again during the dance (a big no-no) and possibly risk the judges' wrath for a second time. The pair decided it would be worth the chance. Turns out they were mighty wrong.
Sure, her quickstep was once again filled with energy, great lines, sharp kicks and neat flips, but as perfect as those moves were, the judges weren't pleased to see the pair break hold again, especially after they had deducted points in week three because of the broken rules.
"It's a fan favorite," judge Carrie Ann Inaba admitted of the routine, "but I'm sad you didn't choose to follow the rules. The points do matter. It's basically the same thing I saw last time. I'm a little disappointed."
Head judge Len Goodman echoed her sentiments. "You're not allowed to break hold, you're not allowed to do lifts," he reminded the two. "You leave me nowhere to go."
"Our scores are bound by the rules," judge Bruno Tonioli added. "But it takes nothing away from your achievements."
Though the comments were tough, the scores didn't completely reflect the negative talk. The dance earned a 9 from Carrie Ann, 8.5 from Len (oddly, that's a 1/2 point more than he gave in week three) and a 9.5 from Bruno for a total of 27.
But all hope for the mirror ball trophy wasn't lost for Shawn after her first dance. Her gymnastics-filled freestyle -- complete with her Fierce Five teammates -- earned nothing but raves from the panel.
Len called it "a medley of Derek and Shawn's greatest hits," Bruno called it "fierce, flawless, exciting, explosive, brilliant," and Carrie Ann declared it to be "sensational." (Interestingly, as fun as the dance was, none of them pointed out that the routine was packed with gymnastics and a bit lacking in actual dance moves.) Not surprisingly, the routine earned a perfect 30.
On the subject of "perfect," reality personality Melissa Rycroft was just that with both her iconic and freestyle dances. Her redo of week three's samba was much cleaner this time around, with well-placed arms, great hip movements and a proper booty shake. (Though there was a barely-there missed hold.) The judges all praised her technique and awarded her three 10s.
In her freestyle, Melissa and pro Tony Dovolani decided to take a big chance and perform a contemporary routine filled to the brim with lifts and great extension. In what might be a first, the dance left the head judge speechless. "It was wonderful" was about all he could mutter. The judges gave Melissa and Tony another set of 10s for a perfect 60 out of 60 for the night.
Actress Kelly Monaco also surprised with her finals routines. She chose to perform her paso doble from week three because, as pro Val Chmerkovskiy explained, "This was a huge turning point for us ... she gained a lot of confidence from that week." Save for a minor missed hold that Bruno pointed out was "masked beautifully," the star improved upon her dance and had the judges raving. Len and Carrie Ann both called it her "best dance." Despite the teensy mess up, Len and Bruno awarded her with her first 10s of the season, while Carrie Ann handed out a 9.5.
For their freestyle, Kelly and Val kicked off the performance with some romance (perhaps a little nod to their amazing chemistry and rumors of love on set?), with the actress spinning beautifully in the air and the pro serenading her on his violin before launching into a "Dirty Dancing" inspired routine to the tune of "Time of My Life."
"Patrick (Swayze) is smiling on you," declared Bruno.
The only nitpick came from Len, who thought the routine lacked a bit of originality. Nevertheless, the pair earned a 29.5 for a total of 59 out of 60, leaving ... (gasp!) ... Shawn at the bottom of the leaderboard for the first time all season with a total of 57 points.
On Tuesday's finale, the finalists will have to perform the tricky insta-dance. The couples will be picking their music and dance style during the live show, leaving little time to perfect their moves.
Do you think breaking the rules again will cost Shawn and Derek the mirror ball trophy? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page! Then join us Tuesday at 12:30 PT / 3:30 ET to chat about who you think will be victorious!
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