"Dancing with the Stars" is only one step away from getting the winner of season 18. Mark Ballas gave Candace Cameron Bure and their fans a scare when he got injured during rehearsal ahead of the finale, but he was able to dance on Monday night, May 19. In the first part of the final week, each team danced twice: one was the dance that the celebrities did during the Switch-Up Challenge, and the second was a Freestyle.
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd danced first, kissing in the middle of their sensual tango. Len Goodman called it "sharp" and "clean," and Bruno Tonioli said James was like a "guided laser... dangerous, passionate, focused." Carrie Ann Inaba also liked it, but warned him, "You have to be careful you are a bit uptight, you have to breath." He earned 29 out of 30.
James earned the same score for his freestyle. The Big Time Rush singer went shirtless during the hip-hop routine and showed some karate moves, doing a backflip off a wall. Len liked the concept and the energy, Bruno described it as "Mad Max" meets "The Hunger Games", and Carrie Ann dubbed James a "star."
Dancing in the second order was Meryl Davis and her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. They were very determined to win and gave it all in their fiery Argentine tango. Bruno said, "That was scrumptiously seductive," Carrie Ann praised their chemistry, and Len called it dance of the night. She earned a perfect score of 30.
Meryl once again presented a flawless performance with her freestyle, which "was an homage" to their journey on the show. They went barefoot for the steamy contemporary number. Carrie Ann said it was "stunning," while Bruno and Len agreed that the dance was perfect. She got another 30 for a total of 60 points.
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas performed a cheery quickstep after an intense and dramatic weekend. The judges were being nice, apparently because of Mark's injury and their tough dance. Carrie Ann and Len said it was "well done," and Bruno thought it was "much improved." Candace earned 27 points.
Their freestyle which had a nightclub feel was not better. Carrie Ann said, "I don't feel like you quite hit it," but added, "You went for it." Len said it was good, and Bruno said, "You have to be on the beat." Candace earned earned additional 24 points.
The fourth couple, Amy Purdy and Derek Hough, danced a salsa first. There were lots of lifts and the audience went wild every time he held her. "This girl is on fire," Bruno exclaimed. Carrie Ann said that Amy blew her mind like always, and Len said it was "fantastic." Amy earned 30 points.
Their freestyle, a contemporary, was almost perfect. Len gave her a 9 as he criticized the unnecessary part where she's swinging on a giant rope above the crowd. Bruno said she was "orbit tonight," and Carrie Ann called it "profound." The other two judges gave her 10s for a total of 59 points.
After all four pairs performed, it was time for elimination. Meryl & Maks were deemed safe first, followed by Amy & Derek and Candace and Mark. This meant James and Peta were sent packing, which was another shocker after Charlie White's elimination last week.
"I've really had an amazing experience on the show," James said, seemingly in disbelief. "I've made some amazing friends and I'm just grateful for the opportunity."
The winner will be revealed in the two-hour finale on Tuesday.