THE BLOG
12/26/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dancing With the Stars Finale: Audiences Value Good Solid Dance Skill Over Fame and Big Personality

So, what did you guys think? Happy with the results?

Personally, I love that Brooke Burke won. Overall she had by far the best technique of all of the contestants, yet she has no known movement background (either from musical / performance training or athletics), she was probably the least well-known coming into the show, and, of the remaining three, she was the least flamboyant. Meaning, America really voted for the best technical dancer. And meaning, America connects to great dancing, even over big personality.

Not that Brooke was always perfect. I'm probably one of the few, but I actually couldn't understand the judges' extreme praise of her Monday night freestyle: though the lifts were spectacular (and damn hard) and the dancing fast and energetic, some of the footwork was sloppy. And, she had that flubbed jive earlier. But week after week she impressed with her ability to catch on so miraculously quickly, to take on whatever she was given and do it to near perfection.

And not that the other two finalists were at all undeserving. Lance is a sweetheart with a truly endearing personality and he was definitely the most improved. Lacey stopped concentrating so hard on herself, making sure she looked good (which I think is due more to it being her first time on the show than to vanity), and concentrating on making him good. And she succeeded. His form still wasn't perfect (feet were still a little turned in at points and some lines were awkward) but it was so much better than earlier. His rhythm improved, he held back less, and he was really rocking out out there, having so much fun. Watching him kind of made you feel more courageous yourself. When he said the show has improved not only his self-confidence dance-wise but his self-esteem in general, yeah, it has the feel of a line written by the producers (which it probably was) but still, it's true. Sounds exceedingly corny I know, but learning to dance, striving for a goal you've made for yourself, and achieving it, does do that!

And Warren is a doll. Too much fun! Both he and Cody provided so much entertainment this season. Between the two of them I was practically in tears (of laughter) each week. Though Warren was often lacking in technical ability, he had an innate sense of rhythm and ease with movement and I think he surprised everyone that someone his size could do such fast, sharp, clean footwork. And he listened to the judges and to Kym and (perhaps in contrast to his demeanor at times) wasn't too proud to take advice. If a sports person wouldn't have won the trophy practically every season, I'd have been rooting for him.

Overall, though, I still think this season, even with all the crazy big personalities (Warren, Cody, Cloris) was more bland compared to prior ones. I think it's because of so much boring filler. I can't believe Monday night they spent the entire first third of the finale re-broadcasting footage of dances performed earlier in the season. And they did this every show, re-played a large portion of the dancing from the prior week. We already saw it, we don't need to see it again. And all the silly talking with Samantha before receiving scores, the often contrived or cliché-ridden rehearsal footage (didn't the characters in Dirty Dancing learn lifts in water?). Yes, some of that chatting is part of what endears audiences to the contestants, but cut it in half; we should come to like them mainly through the dancing. And the replays are sheer laziness. The producers should use that time to showcase more professional dancing - both by pro ballroom couples (and not only those on the show -- there are many, many more) and other kinds of dance. I think ballroom fans would love ballet as well; the aesthetics are similar. I mean, seeing as how audiences have made clear they value, above all, great dancing.