Dancing With the Stars’ final four contestants—Jana Kramer, IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe, former NFL wide receiver Calvin Johnson Jr. and Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez—hit the ballroom floor for Part 1 of the season finale last night (Nov. 21) on ABC.
The contestants performed two dances last night: one selected by the judges and a freestyle of their own choosing. After the two dances, one couple would be eliminated while the remaining three finalists would advance to Tuesday night’s (Nov. 22) finale to decide the winner.
Jana and her partner, Gleb Savchenko, who came down with the flu, danced the tango—a dance the judges picked for the couple to show how far they’ve come throughout the season—to the song “Stay the Night” by Zedd featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore. This dance had plagued Jana during the season and this time she again received mixed reviews from the judges and a low score of 35 out of 40.
“I don’t know if it’s the curse of the tango,” judge Julianne Hough said. “I didn’t feel that kind of same spark that I was hoping for. But you guys still have the freestyle so come back and knock it out.”
“It sparked for me,” Bruno Tonioli rebutted. “I still think you’re hotter than hell. When these two dance, you can give night sweats to a saint. I think you have such a full-blooded passion, determination and drive. You really put everything you’ve got into the dance. You’re not a dancer and what you achieved is incredible. This time around it was slicker and cleaner than the first time.”
For their second dance, Jana and Gleb performed a freestyle dance to Sia’s “Unstoppable.” However, the couple was apparently stoppable as they stumbled with a few missteps during the dance, receiving a disappointing 36 out of 40 points from the judges.
“I thought it was a fascinating concept,” judge Len Goodman said to Jana after the dance. “I love the slowness of it, it was very exposing. When you dance that slow every little hiccup can be seen so clearly. Something happened when you went flying across the floor. But what a beautiful performance and a wonderful dance.”
“I have so much respect for you,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba began. “Ultimately to me, you are the underdog. You are this little precious being that has really developed. You are here because you clutched at everything and you pulled yourself up together. This partnership has been so passionate and so true and so honest and so vulnerable. Tonight, yeah there was a slide and I have to take off points because you know that’s what I do, but I want you to walk away feeling amazingly proud of yourself because that was stunning.”
At the show’s conclusion, Laurie Hernandez and Calvin Johnson Jr. advanced into the finals, while James Hinchcliffe and Jana Kramer were considered for elimination by the audience. When the announcement came, it was Jana who was sent home, ending her run on Dancing With the Stars with a fourth place finish.
It was a valiant effort on Jana’s part and we can say she certainly made the country music community proud. Congratulations to Jana and Gleb for their amazing accomplishment. Check out their freestyle dance below.
Photo by Eric McCandless / ABC