The ballroom was full of champions tonight as Shawn Johnson had support from this summer's Olympic champion women's gymnastics team for tonight's Season 15 finale of Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars.
The Fierce Five -- Gabby Douglas, Jordan Wieber, Aly Raisman, Mckayla Maroney and Kyla Ross -- joined golden girl Johnson in her freestyle dance. Can the star power of the pint-sized Olympic medalists boost Johnson to the top of the dancing heap? Tune in to ABC Tuesday to see the competitors' last dance and the presentation of the mirror ball trophy.
Other celebrities in the first all-female Dancing With the Stars finals are reality star Melissa Rycroft and "General Hospital" actress Kelly Monaco.
Johnson, 20, of West Des Moines retired from gymnastics earlier this year following a knee injury. She won four medals, including a gold medal on the balance beam, in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Breaking the Rules
Johnson's first dance Monday night was a reprise of the quickstep that garnered some criticism earlier in the season from head judge Len Goodman for having too many gimmicks.
In the tape from rehearsal, Johnson told Hough she wanted to go for entertainment and wow the crowd rather than play it safe for the judges. All three judges wagged their score-keeping fingers at Johnson for the dance.
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba said, "It's a fantastic routine, but I'm sad that you didn't choose to follow the rules. I hope your risk pays off."
Johnson said the respects the judges and has lived by the rules "my whole life," but they wanted to perform their favorite dance.
Inaba's score for the risky quickstep was a 9.
Goodman said the routine had more dance moves than the first time, but the pair still broke the rules by breaking holds and doing lifts, which are not allowed. As a result, he gave them an 8.5.
"Our scores are bound by the rules, but it takes nothing away from your achievement," judge Bruno Tonioli told the pair.
His score was a 9.5. The point total of 27.5 -- below Rycroft's perfect 30 and Monaco's 29.5 -- puts them at risk. Hough told viewers, "It's up to you guys."
In rehearsal, Johnson told Hough that he had given her back her competitive spirit and identity, which was lost after her retirement. So they brought it in spades to her second dance of the night, with the Fierce Five serving as backup dancers who spun Johnson overhead as Hough slid through their legs.
"You are incredible, that was sensational," Inaba shouted. "We were waiting for this and you do not disappoint."
Goodman said the dance was a medley of the pair's greatest moves.
"Fierce, flawless, exciting, brilliant," hollered Tonioli.
"It meant the world to me, everything this guy's done for me," a somewhat emotional Johnson told host Brooke Burke-Charvet before the scores were announced.
The judges were wowed, doling out a perfect 30 for Johnson and her girls. But that still left her in last place heading into Tuesday's final episode.
The freestyles were spectacles, with Monaco's homage to the "Dirty Dancing" signature piece including a choir and earned her a 29.5 overall. Rycroft's contemporary dance incorporated dance troupe members twirling above the stage in frames; she received a perfect 30.
Aiming for a Trophy
Johnson “knows how to train, how to endure pain, how to compete and how to win,” USA Today reported as it said before tonight's show that her "sheer skill and talent" could win her another trophy.
And she wants it. “I’ve tried to hide it all season, that it doesn’t mean that much,” Johnson said on last week’s show. “But it does. I really want it.”
Johnson and her professional dance partner, Derek Hough, headed into the finals with a cumulative socre of 444.5, slightly behind Rycroft and her partner, Tony Dovolani.
“Melissa and Tony have scored the most cumulative points, and the show and its fans like to reward effort,” the newspaper reported. “Melissa just might be in the perfect position to take home the mirror ball.”
A reported romance between Kelly Monaco and her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, has captivated audience. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba proclaimed them “the couple to watch” after just three weeks.
Their cumulative score is 420.5.
Watch DWTS on WOI-TV channel 5 locally. The show begins at 7 p.m. tonight and 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Each couple will perform a freestyle and a favorite from the season. On Tuesday’s two-hour finale, they’ll perform one final instant dance and all they know going in is that it could be a jive, cha-cha or rumba -- so they needed to prepare for all three dances.
Johnson won the mirror ball trophy in Season 8, in 2009. She joined the All Stars version of "DWTS" after having to retire from gymnastics because of a knee injury.
Earlier DWTS Season 15 Coverage on Patch:
- Is Shawn Johnson Favored to Win Another ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Glitter Ball Trophy?
- 'Dancing With the Stars' Results Nov. 19: How Did Shawn Johnson's Slinky Tango Rate With Judges?
- 'Dancing With the Stars' Results: Any Missteps for Shawn Johnson on Salute to Veterans Night?
- Dancing with the Stars Results: Did West Des Moines Native Shawn Johnson Survive?
- Dancing With the Stars Results: Did Shawn Johnson Get the Boot on Country Night?
- Dancing With the Stars Results: Shawn Johnson Has Judges Squabbling
- Did Shawn Johnson Survive to Dance Another Week?
- Dancing with the Stars Results: Shawn Johnson Scores Three Perfect 10s
- Dancing With the Stars Results: Did Shawn Johnson’s Reunion with Mark Ballas Help or Hurt Her?
- Dancing with the Stars Results: Shawn Johnson Gets 'Best Dance Ever' Raves from Judges
- Dancing With the Stars Results Nov. 20: Did Shawn Johnson Make It to the Championship Round?