Who Makes It Through to the 'DWTS' Finale?
I don't know about you, dance fans, but I really have only one thing to say: Whew! Totally excellent results. The "Dancing with the Stars" results are a huge surprise, but I'm fine with them. But let's talk a bit about the rest of the show first.

I'll be honest, most of this show feels like filler to me. The results shows often do, but I don't care much for most of the performances tonight. The "Almay Simply American Experience" routine has some fun choreography in it, but I do not like the singer's raspy, shouting voice at all. The VFX crew has way too much fun with the "Women of DWTS" routine, turning them all into robots and holographic images, but the dancing is mostly strutting and posing, drawing an extremely thin line between choreography and objectification. The "Teen Beach 2" number is very cute - and I have to confess, I loved the first" Teen Beach Movie" (is it really "one of the biggest cable movies of all time"?), but the dancing is a little lower in energy than the music, which feels incongruous. I do love Christopher Scott's choreography though.

Some of the video packages are interesting. I especially love the "time capsule" training log, which offers a glimpse behind the scenes at the making of the show, and gives a fun, insightful recap of the season while still treating us to new footage. I also enjoy hearing the pros sum up the remaining contestants. I'm so glad to see Sharna in the final four. I really admire her. The pros really work overtime tonight, especially the women.

I confess I don't really care for Emma and Sasha's dance tour through history, as much as I really admire both of these dancers. "DWTS" is clearly trying to compete with the awesome dance videos on YouTube, like this one, but they don't do it as well. And that is definitely not what the 1914 fox-trot looks like. The fox-trot, especially, is a fascinating dance because it's a completely different animal (get it?) in the 19-teens than it is in the 1930s. The teens version is usually in a slow-slow-quick-quick-quick-quick rhythm, which we barely see anymore, using very straight legged, percussive, bouncing steps that looked more like actually trotting. The smoothed out steps and varied rhythms we see now came along much later, in the '30s. Yes, I'm showing my historical dance background, but as a scholar, I take this stuff seriously.

The primary reason the show feels like filler, for me, is that they give the results of my favorite couple (I'm sure you know who that is) very early on. After that, I'm not nearly so concerned about the rest of the show. Though I definitely appreciate that they give Noah time to talk about that proposal, and I love that he asked Riker if it was ok.

Noah and Sharna are given their results first, right at the top of the show, and I'm afraid they'd be safe simply because they're first. But no, they're in jeopardy. Riker and Allison find out second that they're safe! Hooray! Then both of the remaining couples, Nastia & Derek and Rumer & Val, are in jeopardy, and ultimately-shockingly-Nastia goes home! I suspect that most people, myself included, thought either Riker or Noah would be eliminated, but it's Nastia. I suspect it's because of what the pros say in their analysis: Val says that Nastia's being so perfect makes her "a bit uninteresting," and Sharna says Nastia "needs a human moment." It's interesting to remember that she seemed like such a shoo-in at the beginning, and now she's done; an exquisite, if bittersweet, reminder that dancing is not just about perfect steps.

So, what about you, dance fans? Are you pleased with the results? Are you shocked that Nastia is out? Who do you think will take the Mirror Ball in next week's finale?