Finally got to watch the whole episode. I thought the first round of scores were very fair. I didn't think Derek was whining about the set issue - it was more of a clarification. And I'm sure it's frustrating to have something external like that completely throw off your partner.
Sadie did great - it was definitely one of her better dances. Janel improved a lot. I didn't feel like anyone this season got the samba completely right, but these were the best of the lot. And, as Julianne said, they probably could have given Alfonso and Witney 10s their first week and it was even better this time around.
That being said, I usually hate when they score the freestyles (and the last dances on the last night) with perfect scores across the board. But, with the exception of Sadie and Mark, who had some timing and synchronicity issues, this group of freestyles at least deserved the perfect scores. They were all dynamic and interesting in their own way.
Glad Bethany got to go out on a high note.
Mark's concept was pretty interesting, but, as others have said, he could have catered more to his star as the other pros did to theirs.
Janel's seemed like a semi-rehash of her contemporaary a few weeks ago, but it was really beautifully danced/choreographed without any mistakes. I did roll my eyes at the kiss though.
And I think everything has been said about Alfonso's freestyle. A true entertainer. I'm usually not one for ringer talk, but I can see where people can get upset about people with dance backgrounds when Alfonso started his solo tap section. Yes, ballroom and tap are different beasts but, beyond remembering steps and counting music, there is a musicality and finesse that comes from dancing that you can rarely teach or mimic in just 11 weeks. It's that quality that Sadie and Bethany miss in a lot of their dances (Janel seems to have a bit more polish). Alfonso, on the other hand, has had it since Week 1 and, while I personally don't have a problem with it because it gives us good dances, I can see his distinct advantage.
Agreed - he's probably just exhausted, as someone mentioned upthread. He's been in the finals pretty much non-stop for 4 years, minus the season he took off. Like I've said before, I've never been a huge Derek fan (I don't mind him, but I think the only partner he had that I really rooted for was Amber), but I think his and Bethany's partnership has been so sweet and refreshing. Even if he didn't care for himself, he had some really kind words for Bethany (and the show).
Also, in an interview with Access Hollywood earlier this week, Bethany was asked how badly she wanted to win and she basically just said, politely, that she felt like her journey up until this point was "already a win" for her and Derek chimed in that he felt like she definitely didn't want to win as badly as the others. I could see it in Janel's face when she was in jeopardy - you could tell she really wanted it. Bethany, on the other hand, had either already accepted it or didn't really care anyway. It was probably a good, mature attitude to have, especially for a 19 year old.