The judges' choice is a routine that each of the finalists has performed already during the course of the season. The couples are allowed to use new music and incorporate different choreography, with the purpose of showing the judges and viewers at home how much they've improved over the course of the season.
William thinks that the cha cha will be the perfect opportunity to show the judges how much progress he's made since the first time he stepped onto the dancefloor. Bruno pays him a visit to advise him on his posture, quipping: "I knew you had a nice butt, but keep it under you!"
The judges are generally positive. "Loud and proud - and that's just your shirt," Len says. "I'll tell you, William, that was as good as I've ever seen in 14 seasons of judging this show." He gives the couple a 10. "Your hip action makes me green with envy!" Bruno proclaims, also awarding William and Cheryl a 10.
Carrie Ann completes the set, awarding a perfect score. She recalls the "magic" that she saw the first time William performed this routine. "I'll tell you, the magic is still there, but what's now there is sophistication. The movements were clean sharp and defined... you have grown miles," she says.
Len stops by rehearsals and advises Katherine to focus on "big strong shapes" throughout her routine. He also notes that the judging panel felt her first attempt in rock week had too much aggression over finesse.
Katherine is also scored perfectly by all three judges, attracting her first 10 of the season from Len. Bruno praises her "technical brilliance", while Carrie Ann thinks her routine was "like watching a prima ballerina - every movement [was] perfectly executed". She goes on to brand Katherine as the "prima diva" of the competition.
"If Donald wants to appeal to the tastes of Mr Len Goodman, we want to see more dynamic movements and I think he can improve on that," Carrie Ann says during the pre-taped rehearsals segment, while Donald explains that he is eager to peak at the right time in the competition - the finals, of course.
"I loved it the first time, and I love it again," Carrie Ann begins, awarding the couple a 10. Len is generally positive, saying: "I felt it was far more content, I liked the setup... [it was] an improvement over the last time." However, he still holds out on his score, scoring Donald and Peta with a 9, which receives boos from the studio audiences as the other judges bat at him with their scoring paddles. ("Len, I don't know what I need to do, baby, but I promise on this next one, you will give me a ten," Donald adds during an interview with Brooke Burke Charvet in the Skybox afterwards).
"Actually, Donald, I think you've been very clever again," says Bruno. "You went the other way - for the subtle and intimate." Scoring the couple with a 10, Bruno adds that it was "very very effective... I liked it very very much".
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As the name suggests, anything goes in the freestyle. There are no rules - well, apart from that they have to perform some sort of dance routine instead of just standing there, one presumes - and all three couples take very different approaches to the brief.
Cheryl warns William that the freestyle will either "make you win it or lose [the competition]", as the pair attempt a series of difficult lifts. The pair elect for a fast-paced routine with elements of salsa to show off William's strengths as a dancer. He reckons he's nailed it, pumping his fists and shouting "Yeah! Yeah!" towards the audience at the end of the dance.
"The first thing I'd like to say... I liked it, I liked the lifts, I liked the changes of rhythm from tango into salsa," says Len. There's clearly a "But..." on its way. "But for me, it was too predictable. All you do is shake your butt and get the women screaming. I'm fed up with it. I wanted more... I didn't want a salsa with lifts," he adds, scoring the couple with a 9.
Carrie Ann is not happy. "Everybody else did!" she says, gesturing to the audience. She awards the couple a 10 and says that their routine was "exactly what a freestyle should be, breaking new ground". "Old ground!" Len shouts, and the pair begin to remonstrate loudly as Bruno suddenly takes a great deal of interest in the contents of his notebook. For the record, Bruno stands up and started gesticulating - clearly the first sign that he likes something, as regular Dancing with the Stars and Strictly Come Dancing viewers well know - and compares William and Cheryl to "two devils unleashed". He gives them a 10.
Katherine and Mark are going all out with a fast-paced routine containing elements of the jive, the quickstep, Lindy hop and tap dancing. "There really is no time to think!" she claims, adding that she's going to do "whatever it takes to get a perfect score". Katherine wants to show off everything she's learned, as well as her skills as a performer. She even finds time to drop in a burst of big band standard 'Sing Sing Sing' at the start of her Jazz Age-inspired routine, and there's a nod to a catchphrase coined earlier in the series at the end of the dance via a rather distracting flashy neon sign bearing the words "The Welsh Wiggler".
Bruno describes the routine as a "flamboyant tour de force through all the ages of swing". He adds: "I have never seen so much content - so fast, so well executed. You were on the money all the way through."
"You're such a fabulous performer," Carrie Ann says, commenting that she can do anything whether she's upside down, facing backwards or even "inside out" (Eh?) "That was the dance of a champion, you are a champion!" she gushes. "If I'm asleep, don't wake me up. This is a freestyle!" Len proclaims, and it's straight 10s for the pair again from all three judges.
"I'm from Texas, I don't just wanna ballroom dance, I don't just Latin dance... I can country dance," says Donald. Whoah, now. This could be risky. But interesting. Donald promises that the couple are "gonna bring out all the tricks" on their freestyle, and poor Peta even winds up with a bloodied lip during rehearsals, saying she would have liked more time to get ready.
Well, they've got a live singing/rapping cowboy (Cowboy Troy, apparently) providing the backing to their routine. That's surely a Dancing with the Stars first, no? There's some very impressive lifts from the pair, and they don't seem to wedded to one particular style of dance, unlike the other routines.
"Oh my god!" Carrie Ann literally shrieks. "This is my favourite final, and this is by far my favourite dance tonight," she adds, leaning dramatically over the judges' desk to make her point. Len says that the routine was "fantastic" and seems impressed that the pair took a risk. Bruno is sitting down, oddly, but still dubs the routine "a triumph". The couple are awarded a perfect score from all three judges and Donald shouts "Len, I love you baby, I love you!"
The judges' leaderboard...
1. Katherine and Mark: 60 out of 60 (30+30)
2= William and Cheryl: 59 out of 60 (30+29)
2= Donald and Peta: 59 out of 60 (29+30)
The three couples will have a night to prepare their final routine - receiving the music from the judges after the show - and dance for the title on the Dancing with the Stars grand final tomorrow night (Tuesday, May 22) at 8/7c on ABC.