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'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Final four scored; Bill Engvall exits

November 26, 2013|By Allyssa Lee
  • Bill Engvall and Emma Slater take their final bow on "Dancing With the Stars."
Bill Engvall and Emma Slater take their final bow on "Dancing With… (Adam Taylor / ABC )

So much more sparkle! “Dancing With the Stars” is turning it up to 11 -- Week 11, that is.

The first night of Season 17's two-part finale extravaganza saw the final four perform three dances: A judges’ choice, a samba relay danced to a live performance of “No Scrubs” by TLC (featuring Lil Mama), and the always unpredictable, ever entertaining freestyle routine.

It also bid adieu to one of the final four couples. Although he held on for longer than anyone (including himself) thought he would, comedian Bill Engvall and his pro partner, Emma Slater, ultimately got their walking papers.

“It just goes to prove to me that there is a God, because I don’t think I can make one more dance,” the injured comedian joked.

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At least Bill went out on a memorable high note. He got to dance with Derek during the samba relay transition. His freestyle routine not only earned him his first 9 score ever, but he took his shirt off and seared the image of his bare torso into the eyes of an unsuspecting public, changing a nation forever.

And he had a good time doing it. “I’ve had so much fun,” he said during rehearsals. “I have a new best friend and a fake daughter. ... It’s been one hell of an experience.”

The three remaining finalists now have 24 hours to put together another dance to fuse two styles. Amber and Derek are doing the samba/quickstep, Corbin and Karina the cha-cha/foxtrot, and Jack and Cheryl will do a paso doble/salsa.

Amber Riley and Derek Hough retained their lead going into the Tuesday results show with three near-perfect performances. The judges gave the couple their Week 3 Charleston to do over. Carrie Ann Inaba told them the only way the high-scoring Amber was going to make an impact in the finals was to show growth.

Last time, their Baz Luhrmann “Great Gatsby” flapper number was out of sync and not precise. But this time, Amber shined up those edges to a sharp and gleaming point.

Carrie Ann preened like a proud mama. “You completely outdid yourself,” she said. Len said the dance was the most improved. Birthday boy Bruno said the footwork needed work the first time around, but “it was as sharp as a razor blade tonight.”

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Amber was on the Swiss-timing precision train and she wasn’t about to get off for the freestyle. The “Glee” actress showed Derek some of her stepping moves back in Week 3, and Derek incorporated most of it into a high-stepping, insanely entertaining Wild West stepping routine.

Amber sauntered into the saloon doors at high noon with spurs kicking and attitude ablaze, and took the whole place down one finger gun at a time.

“You’re there with 6 pro guys -- I only watched you,” said Len. “You’re class, fast, and built to last.” “Nobody could ever take their eyes off of you,” Bruno agreed. “Bewitchingly awesome.” Carrie Ann said Amber never lost control and “never lost the beat. ... You’re like a diva dancing James Brown!”

Amber and Derek received a perfect 30 for their Charleston do-over, four points for their second-place samba, and another perfect score for their freestyle. Total: 64 out of 65.

The judges selected the old Hollywood time-y quickstep for Corbin Bleu's and Karina Smirnoff’s do-over dance. Len found the routine too frantic the first time around, and came to rehearsals to try to get the “High School Musical” star to add some moments of stillness alongside the speed during this second take.

Len said he saw improvement, and the routine had calmed down a bit, but the left arm was a bit wonky. “If you did that on the highway you would have gotten a speeding ticket,” Bruno declared. “But you went out of sync.” Carrie Ann, frankly, was disappointed. “Truth is, I didn’t see an improvement,” she said bluntly.” Get your mojo back!”

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And get it back he did with his freestyle, inspired by Corbin’s musical hero, Michael Jackson, and set to “Smooth Criminal.” Corbin even traveled to Las Vegas to get tips and trick ideas from the King of Pop’s choreographer, Travis Payne. Karina hoped the routine would be epic with gangster moves and an acrobatic assist from Tony, Gleb, Sasha, and Henry.

Carrie Ann said it made her miss Michael. Len gave them a standing ovation. Bruno said Corbin was a “merciless assassin” who “killed it.” “You managed to combine some iconic Michael Jackson moves with amazing ballroom touches in a packaging that was pure Las Vegas magic.”

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