And with that, we have our finalists!
There's something in each one of these semi-finalists that you root for. With Melora Hardin, it's the pizzazz. The flair in Cody Rigsby. JoJo Siwa's perfectionism, Amanda Kloots' poise, Suni Lee's vulnerability, and Iman Shumpert's humility.
What that also means is that each of their best qualities are quantifiable from a dance point of view, which means it's easy to pick out which of them would thrive and which wouldn't as we head into the Dancing with the Stars season 30 grand finale.
WATCH: Dancing with the Stars season 30 trailer
Of course, leave it to me to get that ratio completely wrong, as my predictions for the cuts get worse and worse each week.
This show is really as unpredictable as it gets when it comes to the positions of these contestants, which makes it exciting, but also impossible to find someone to root for.
I started off the season betting on (as an objective viewer) Mel C, then switched to the Miz, and finally transferred my affections to Olivia Jade. All of them were strong performers before they got cut, so I was blindsided, like I'm sure several fans have been all throughout this season.
So it's with a sense of calm that we could walk out of this episode knowing that two very lovable and surprisingly adept performers emotionally went home, in true DWTS fashion.
There's nothing really wrong with this episode, it's just...unremarkable. Especially coming off of the high that was Janet Night, it felt like we were running through the motions this week.
Suni's contemporary was my favorite routine of hers this entire season
Seeing Melora and Suni go home was devastating not because they were the season's best (I'd give that honor to fellow bottom dweller Amanda). But they were the most enjoyable, the ones you felt yourself drawn to.
It's bonkers when you think about the fact that the two performers who went home were the ones the show invested so much narrative growth in, there were actual character arcs!
JoJo, for example, heads into the finale the big dog. But there hasn't been much there to be excited about beyond the fact that she's a phenomenal dancer. Even her one trip to the bottom felt like a minor blip.
And Cody, probably the biggest surprise as a finalist in my book, hasn't had much of an arc either. Yes, there was him and Cheryl Burke contracting COVID early on, but they've bounced back enough to have that not even be a factor anymore.
Shows like these thrive on performance, but also on story. You go on a journey with these people, but they need to be season long ones. I went on a journey with Suni as she bloomed over the past few weeks, and I went on one with Melora as she found herself in these performances.
How I'll miss that sense of humor
But going into the finale, I don't know who to emotionally root for. Do I go for JoJo, the frontrunner? Amanda, the consistent? Cody, the energetic? Or Iman, the wildcard? They all unquestionably deserve their spots, but it's just a gnawing feeling, I think.
Maybe I'll find a favorite when someone finally gets the mirrorball next week.
Episode highlight: Amanda's beautiful tribute to her late husband Nick Cordero, dry eyes what?
Episode lowlight: The fact that I actually noticed a lift in a tango and went "oh, Carrie Ann's not gonna like this," and manifested it into reality. Sorry Amanda!
Episode parting thought: When did the nickname "Papa Len" become a thing?!
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