Annie Barrett
May 23, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The ”Dancing With the Stars” finale: Guy power

Oh, yes! Apolo Anton Ohno won! Since this was basically a two-hour clip show, I’ll keep my (sniff) final TV Watch (sniff) of the season (sigh of relief) as short and sweet as a Dancing With the Stars skirt. If you were to wave this article under a giant disco ball, it’d be like it wasn’t even there. Also, it’s digital, so it never existed in a form that could be waved anyway. Do you like how I’ve already BS’ed my way through an entire paragraph? I’m as bad as Samantha Harris! Who should totally be replaced by John Ratzenberger next season. Come on, we were all thinking it. Tell me you didn’t guffaw when she assured Tom, ”No worries, I’m not letting you go!” That’s very generous, toots, but we’re letting you go.

For season 4’s grand finale, the final three couples performed a ”last dance, last chance” of their choice (and for love). ”Last chance” may have been pushing it, because we all knew the judges would leap at their last chance to award everyone a perfect 30. I expected nothing less and would like to take this opportunity to award Carrie Ann, Big Gob, and DANCMSTR a perfect 30 in the ”proving their total irrelevance once and for all” category. Chemistry, elegance, sophistication, entertaining, personality, showmanship, fantastic, fresh spin on things, incredible edible rawness, captivating, beautiful butterfly, lacked romance. Whew! I am so in the running to become judge number 4 next season. I already do a pretty fly Bruno impression. (Check it out, during the ”Blakedancing” section of this video.)

I could have done without the loooooong rehash of the past few seasons, but I did dig that little history segment on our beloved show’s British roots and 29 foreign spin-offs. It’s hilarious how similar all the sets appeared in those clips — Chile’s, especially, reminded me of the U.S. version, which I keep seeing in my head when I close my eyes at night. (I’ve made peace with this. It should fade soon.) And did anyone catch how skanky that group dance was in Poland? I could have sworn they’d mistakenly thrown in a clip of Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll on a particularly unimaginative wardrobe night.

Hey, you think in that hour and 55 minutes of filler, maybe there could have been more than one pro dance? That didn’t completely butcher a cute song at Björk’s expense? Maybe next time.

Laila took her seat as the third-place finisher about halfway through. Disappointing, but not exactly surprising. I loved when she informed Samantha that women can be strong and sexy after Sam asked if it was difficult balancing toughness with elegance. Gah! And I thought Laila and Maks’ mambo was the best rehashed performance of the night — Joey’s came close, but only because his daughter was über-adorable in a Princess Leia costume just like Kym’s, and I suppose that part shouldn’t really count. After losing her chance at the disco-ball trophy, Laila claimed she was ”pissed,” which was funny not only because it was accurate, but also because at that point she’d finally stopped trying to sound diplomatic and mature. She also informed everyone that the competition ”doesn’t mean anything, especially because I didn’t win.” Ha! She’s great.

Then, finally, the early-eliminated stars fell from the sky and into the fake ballroom. Paulina looked lovely and more serene than most if not all of the population. How does she do that? Shandi’s dancing had improved by miles — major props to her and Jonathan for practicing all that footwork. Leeza…oh, Leeza. And Clyde. Hey, at least he showed up. (But he didn’t bother participating in the standing Os. Did he think he was tall enough seated?)

The Jimmy Kimmel serial nightmare ended on a high note, even though there was something rotten in the state of Clay Aiken’s hair. Len saying, ”I’m British, you know,” was priceless. J-Rat and Laila’s ”testimonials” were especially choice — John acted outraged that he didn’t know about Jimmy’s helpful DVD, and Laila perfectly delivered a canned cue-card endorsement that reminded me of a Reno 911 PSA. Laila can be quite the ham. I hope she does sports commentary when she’s past her boxing prime, which may be, like, next year, after specialists conclude that Dancing With the Stars ruined her world-champion knees forever. Wait a minute. She should join The View! Screw boxing!

Heat 2 of the fallen stars. Aggghh — Heather’s green-fringed pantaloons! Get them out of here! (Love you, Jonathan.) I don’t think J-Rat and Edyta could do anything in the world (barring criminal behavior or a Springer-esque spray tan) that wouldn’t make me smile. Seriously — the running man, a sing-along, a slumber party at which everyone swaps leg warmers, anything. I’d be all for it. ABC, take note! Oh, surprise surprise, Billy Ray wanted his mullet back (again), though it was already on his head. Plot twist! And then there was Ian. I’ll say it: Ian was awesome. If only he’d been that relaxed when it counted.

In the end, after a painfully long ”duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh…” suspense period with Apolo-Julianne and Joey-Kym splitting the screen (check out Apolo and Kym’s ”Let’s get this over with” faces), birthday boy Apolo got to hoist the sparkly crown jewel of the competition and wave it semi-awkwardly toward different sections of the audience. It’s smaller than I remembered. But I think the fans got it right. Apolo and Julianne rocked the whole season — I always looked forward to their performances to see what kind of maddeningly quick choreo Julianne would come up with and how convincingly Apolo would play along. They were the most consistently great pair and more than deserved the win.

All in all, this was easily my favorite season yet. Thanks for sticking it out with me here at TV Watch for so many weeks. Let’s all shed a collective tear that the show’s over, then make the seamless transition to So You Think You Can Dance without so much as a minor wardrobe malfunction. See? No therapy required. We’re all gonna be okay.

Correction: This wasn’t short at all. It would have made a horrible costume. Whoops.

What do you think? Shouldn’t this episode have been one hour? Do you sometimes see the DWTS set flash before you as you’re falling asleep, too? And were you as satisfied with the results, and the season as a whole, as I was?

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