“It’s ladies’ night. You won that hands down,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba told Kristi Yamaguchi after the first round of the Dancing with the Stars finals Monday night, a group “cha-cha face-off.”
And the gold medalist’s perfect 10s proved it, immediately putting her and pro partner Mark Ballas ahead of Jason Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska, who would score a 24, and Cristian de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke, with 26.
Yamaguchi and Ballas held onto their lead as the three remaining Dancing couples took to the ballroom for their freestyle, the last competition before Tuesday night’s crowning of the season six champ.
“You made it look easy,” judge Bruno Tonioli told the pair, as all three judges praised their multiple lifts, flashy flair and hip-hop energy. Even Len Goodman, who in the past had criticized their hip-hop influenced Latin dances, said he “loved it.” And all three showed it with another round of perfect 10s, giving them a total of 60 for the night.
Following the high scorers were Taylor and Sliwinska, who playfully flirted with sassy South Beach style, dancing to Will Smith’s “Miami.”
“Who knew? Jason Taylor can get funky!” Inaba said before the judges awarded them with a 27, giving the pair a total of 51.
Finally, de la Fuente and Burke brought a whole lot of shaking to the ballroom, with a Latin-influenced number that landed them a 26, for a total of 52.
And though the judges took into consideration de la Fuente’s previous arm injury, Goodman said, “Some of the lifts weren’t quite up to the standard of the other two” dances.
So with Yamaguchi again at the top of the judges’ leader board, does this mean she’s a lock for the mirror-ball trophy? Tell us: Who will win? And who do you want to win? Discuss!Kelsey McNeal/ABC