(Spoiler alert: Please do not read if you haven’t watched Monday’s episode of “Dancing With the Stars”)
The first night of “Dancing With the Stars” Season 20 finale began with soldier and double amputee Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess’ redo of their Argentine tango that earned 30 out of 40 the first time around. The Alabama native said he didn’t expect to last a month.
“Now, being in the finals — I mean, that’s incredible … I think I’ve got a shot at winning that Mirrorball trophy,” Galloway said.
Despite a little wobble at the end, judge Len Goodman said there’s been improvement and Galloway has more confidence. Julianne Hough told the veteran to come back with even more confidence. Bruno Tonioli said, “The beginning of this was actually the best you’ve ever done.” But Carrie Ann Inaba said it was hard for her to watch because Galloway’s nerves showed, but she applauded his “survivor’s spirit.”
Score: 8s across the board: 32 out of 40. Burgess: “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.”
Next up, “Glee” warbler Riker Lynch partnered with Allison Holker for a “Pirates of the Caribbean”-themed paso doble, which originally grabbed a score of 38. Riker: “Captain Jack is back!”
The couple got a standing ovation from the audience and Goodman. Hough praised the young actor and singer’s controlled energy. “It was absolutely –” something, a wildly gesticulating Tonioli said, but the audience’s roar drowned out his assessment. “It just got really exciting here,” Inaba said. “Epic,” Goodman said.
Score: All 10s for a perfect score.
As her “Hollywood royalty” mom and dad, Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, looked on from the audience, Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy repeated their week 1 fox trot, which received the highest score of that night with a 32, but Rumer said she felt like she had been dancing scared.
After their performance, Tonioli said Rumer is now “dancing royalty.” Inaba said it was “poetry in motion.” Goodman gushed. Hough said, “Tonight was flawless.”
Score: A sweep with four 10s for the second perfect score of the night. Erin Andrews said that the best part of the routine was their smiles. Bruce Willis cried.
“Yippee-ki-yay, indeed,” host Tom Bergeron quipped, setting the scene for the freestyle round. The host noted that none of the dance professionals had won previously, which will mean brand-new champions all around.
In b-roll before his freestyle performance, Galloway broke into tears describing the dance to come: “Sharna’s been able to really tap into my story. I think it’s going to be good … It’s going to be powerful. Because it’s real.”
They danced to “Titanium,” with Galloway in fatigues and accompanied by several other dancers, receiving a standing ovation from the audience and judges. “Amazing,” Goodman said. Julianne: “For me, that was a celebration.” Tonioli called the performance truthful and transcendent. Inaba stressed that Galloway’s performance reminds the world that dance is art.
Score: Another perfect score. Galloway received a 40.
Lynch and Holker donned white top-hats-and-tails costumes for a routine set to jazz standard “I Won’t Dance” that transitioned into a funky hip-hop number. “It’s like watching Fred Astaire reinvented, repackaged and re-presented for a new generation,” Tonioli responded with infectious enthusiasm.
Score: 10s all around — again. “A perfect night,” Andrews commented.
With time running short, Willis and Chmerkovskiy performed a sexy paso doble-heavy freestyle to a cover of Britney Spears‘ “Toxic,” which Tonioli called “luscious,” Goodman called
Score: 40 for a perfect finale with 10s flying fast and furiously.
The two-hour results show airs Tuesday, May 19 on ABC.