The show starts with a very long “10 weeks ago” montage and then segues into a live number from troupe members andpro dancers. If you wonder how they’re going to do this show in just one episodea week next season, I think I have some ideas. Apparently there is now a “Dancing with the Stars” cruise. Oh my.

Staircase observations: Derek’s in a white suit, Mark is wearing his shirt completely open and Jacoby and Karina are in purple and gold – nice nod to Jacoby’s hometown of New Orleans.

They’ll each be dancing three dances tonight: Judges’ pick, a “cha cha relay” and a “supersized” freestyle round. We also find out that Val had an accident during rehearsal about an hour before the show; it looks like Zendaya caught him on a spin. Yipes! There’s blood and Val is sporting the beginnings of a shiner and some bandages.

Round One
Judges’ Pick

Jacoby Jones & Karina Smirnoff

Jacobyinterviews that he was in the middle of the pack through a lot of the competition but now, with a tie for the lead last week, he’s put on his burst of speed for the last 100 meters.

Len shows up in the rehearsal studio to work with Jacoby on his footwork. Considering Len scored him lower than the other judges when they did the jive before, this is a good matchup of judge anddancer. Len demonstrates by dancing with Karina and it makes me want even more to see Len get a whole routine on a future show. Len even takes a stab at learning a Jacoby touchdown dance. He almoooost pulls it off. I mean, for a 69-year-old Englishman.

Bless Jacoby’s heart, but he still doesn’t have the feet turned out quite enough. He’s trying. He also looks tired, somehow; not as energetic as usual. I wonder if rehearsing for three dances tuckered him out. I swear their jive had more bounce when they did it in Week 5. (Although, then, they were dancing to Little Richard instead of what sounds like some generic boy band act.)

Len says there was improvement and the footwork was a bit better. He does point out that sometimes Jacoby got a little lost, but overall it was good. Bruno says there was an “unlimited supply of energy and power” – huh. Bruno goes off on a weird Lord of the Ringstangent before pointing out that Jacoby did miss the beat a few times and was flat-footedsometimes. Carrie Ann says he brought the swagger, but, yes, there were some issues. Then I don’t quite understand the exchange between Carrie Ann and Jacoby before Tom sends them to the sky box.

When Brooke asks Jacoby what it’s going to take for him, “the last man standing,” to beat the female finalists, he answers frankly, “The grace of God.” This is why we love him.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9, Len: 9, Bruno: 9

Alexandra Reisman & Mark Ballas

Bruno shows up in their rehearsal studio, wearing a very tight-fitting sleeveless undershirt. Bruno’s keeping up his workouts.  Aly explains that when they did the samba before, she missed a step and it threw her off the rest of the routine.

Bruno pleads with Mark to put in some samba rolls. Mark is reluctant, talking about how hard they are. How many female celebrities have we seen Derek get to successfully execute those? Man up, Ballas.

They too are dancing to a different song than they did the last time they did the samba. I think that’s wise – if you’re trying to improve, change your tune, literally.

Aly’s clearly got more confidence than she had when starting the season. But the samba roll is half-hearted at best and I swear I see her miss a step over in the corner about three-quarters of the way through the routine.

Bruno calls her “scrumptious” and said it was cleaner than before. Carrie Ann says she has the best parts of all three other finalists. Blech. She isn’t nearly as charismatic as Jacoby, her lines are nowhere as good as Kellie’s and Zendaya has more musicality in her little finger.  I mean, she’s a good dancer, but this smacks of producers trying to pump up a contestant.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9, Len: 9, Bruno: 10

Kellie Pickler & Derek Hough

Derek thinks it’s a close final and asks Kellie what they can do to stand out. They got a 29 on their first quickstep, so they want to get that one missing point.