So, we are down to the final three. As much as I liked Ty Murray, the clock struck midnight for that Cinderella.
And the final three couples are the three couples that should be there: Giles-Cheryl, Shawn-Mark, and Melissa-Tony. It would have been nice to Lil Kim there, but it was not to be.
As far as who will win? If you go on track record, then it's going to be Giles Marini and Cheryl Burke. They seemed to have recovered from the lackluster scores of two weeks ago. However, in my opinion, I was just not thrilled with their dances. They were nice, they were clean. They left me feeling "ho-hum", especially with their Waltz. What is going in their favor is that Giles Marini is dancing well. He hits the steps that Cheryl lays out for him. Also, Cheryl has a track record of putting together great freestyles dances.
With Drew Lachey in season 2:
With Emmitt Smith in Season 3:
However, if you look to see who is hungrier, I think you have to say it is Tony. Right now, Tony has to be counting his lucky stars. Originally, he was slated to have partnered with Nancy O'Dell. Now, I am sure that Ms. O'Dell is nice and interesting, but I doubt she has the training and background that Melissa Rycroft has.
So, the stars smiled on Tony this season. He has a partner who should be able to dance. The question is how bad are her ribs? If they haven't been able to heal, then its going to be really hard for her to do a rigorous final routine, not to mention the Paso Doble.
Then, we have to look at Tony's record in the finals. Yes, he has been there before. He had a partner who could have handled almost anything, or so it appeared, in Stacy Keibler. They were flawless in the Jive and the Samba. Where they fell apart was in the freestyle. To wit:
He took a talented partner and turned in a bored, safe routine. For Melissa, Tony has to do something that is not safe, and not boring. The question is, has he learned his lesson?
Noticed that I haven't mentioned much about Shawn Johnson? That would be because I view her as the weak leg of this triad. This week, they are starting off with all three dancing the Paso Doble (at least that is what I have read is the plan right now.). The Paso is not a dance that plays to Shawn's strength. Yes, she did get a 29 for it in Week 9. But I'm not sure when she is stacked next to two other people that she is going to come off so well.
The problem for her is also one of the things that works for her: her youth. Her youth allows her to really do well in certain types of dances that call for energy and verve. However, Paso calls for some other skills. It also requires her to be comfortable in her own skin. That is where she has the most trouble. If she is going to succeed, this is not going to be a case of Mark setting a sufficiently wow-ing set of routines. Its going to be her having to be comfortable moving her body in ways that she may not be mentally/emotionally ready. In gymnastics, at least in the Olympics which I watched her through, she displayed precisions, power, and agility. All of these transfer over to the competition she is now. For her, the challenge is going to be showing off a softness as she channels all these attributes.
Bottom line: this is a fight between Giles and Melissa. Shawn, in my opinion, should be third place based on the way things are going. The fans, well they will do something weird I'm sure. To me, its Giles' competition to lose. He seems to be popular. He seems to be dancing well. Cheryl seems to be the right pro to guide him to mirror ball trophy. For Melissa to win, in addition to needing the fan's vote, she is going to need Tony put together a stellar freestyle routine for her.
For me, bet smart and take Giles. For me, betting with who I'd like to win, that would be Melissa. But we shall see who the fans choose. At least this time, all three would be good winners.