08:17 PM EDT 05/01/2015
Originally posted 11/23/2010 02:00PM
On every season of Dancing with the Stars, the world discovers another unheralded star (or sometimes several). But what makes the show special is that the performers themselves are engaged in an exhausting yet illuminating process of self-discovery – of finding hidden reserves of strength and talent they never knew they had.
So it is this season with finalists Bristol Palin, Kyle Massey and Jennifer Grey, each of whom spoke to PEOPLE after Monday's performances about the joys and pain of the grueling 10-week journey, which culminates Tuesday night when one of them will go home a winner.
"It has been a long journey," says Palin, 20, who was almost considered a novelty contestant at the outset. "I think I've come a long way in the last 10 weeks, and have learned how to dance, learned how to perform. And this has just been the time of my life."
Originally posted 11/23/2010 12:00PM
The mirror ball trophy is within reach!
Following Monday's outstanding performances, any of the season 11 finalists on Dancing with the Stars – Jennifer Grey, Bristol Palin and Kyle Massey – could take home the championship title, according to Carrie Ann Inaba.
"If ever there was a season that's hard to predict I think it's this one," the judge tells PEOPLE.
Originally posted 11/23/2010 07:00AM
In the weeks, days and hours leading up to the season 11 finale, the big debate among Dancing with the Stars fans was how did Bristol Palin outlast contestants like Brandy and Audrina Patridge, whose ballroom skills were superior? But in the minutes that followed Monday night's performance show, it was clear inside the ballroom that Palin was just as deserving as Jennifer Grey and Kyle Massey of a shot at the mirror ball trophy.
So who will win? It's anybody's guess, judge Carrie Ann Inaba told PEOPLE backstage after the broadcast.
"If ever there was a season that's hard to predict I think it's this one," Inaba said, acknowledging that it isn't the first one in which fan votes are influencing who advances in the competition. "I wish the judges' scores carried more weight. But America always gets it right."
Originally posted 11/22/2010 09:30PM
All season long Jennifer Grey has dazzled Dancing With the Stars fans and judges with incredible routines. And on Monday night, the season's final performance show, Grey and partner Derek Hough achieved perfection for the second week in a row.
They received 30 out of 30 points for both of their dances – a paso doble that had the audience and the judges on their feet and a freestyle that had Bruno Tonioli raving about "two dances at the opposite end of the spectrum and both equally brilliant!"
Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer didn't disappoint with a suave foxtrot that earned a solid 27 out of 30 points and had judge Len Goodman gushing that the actor had gone from "Messy Massey to marvelous."
Originally posted 11/22/2010 06:00PM
Yes, Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey has had the time of her life competing on Dancing with the Stars this season. But that doesn't mean she'll perform a certain move made famous by the film.
"I won't be doing the lift in the finals," Grey tells PEOPLE, referring to the iconic scene from the 1987 movie when costar Patrick Swayze hoisted her over his head in a flying position.
"Everyone should not expect that," says Grey, whose doctor recommended against such a risk after she underwent the first of three neck surgeries a year ago. But Grey, who turned 50 in March, is still flying high as she readies with partner Derek Hough for Dancing's two-night season 11 finale.
Originally posted 11/22/2010 11:30AM
There's no way to two-step around the fact that season 11 of Dancing with the Stars has arguably been the most controversial in the show's history, right down to the two-night finale, which kicks off Monday night.
Actress Jennifer Grey, actor Kyle Massey and teen activist Bristol Palin will go toe-to-toe in their final quest for the mirror ball trophy. But will the best dancer win?
"Jennifer is the best dancer," DWTS pro Anna Trebunskaya says.
"But," fellow pro Karina Smirnoff adds, "this season has proven it is not a dance competition only. With Jennifer we have the strongest dancer, with Kyle we have the strongest personality and then with Bristol we have the best journey. She literally drove five days in her own car to get here and learn how to dance. Fans develop a relationship with these people each week. You never know who they are going to like."
Originally posted 11/16/2010 03:45PM
Although she earned her first perfect score on Dancing With the Stars Monday night, the semi-finals episode wasn't an all-happy occasion for Brandy.
During the broadcast, the singer opened up about her involvement in a fatal car accident as part of a video presentation about the contestants' most difficult times.
"I was trying to hold back tears, of course, because I was onstage while they were playing [the footage]," Brandy told PEOPLE after Monday's show. "But I thought that it was put together well, and I got my story across."
The video showed Brandy, her family and friends like singers Monica, Whitney Houston and Kelly Rowland discussing the difficulty the singer faced after a four-car accident on a Los Angeles freeway in 2006 left another female driver dead.
Originally posted 11/16/2010 12:00PM
They're getting closer!
The final four contestants on Dancing with the Stars – Bristol Palin, Brandy, Jennifer Grey and Kyle Massey – are a week away from season 11's big announcement. And although they still have to face an elimination Tuesday night, when one of them will go home, and another week of intense rehearsals, all they can think about is winning.
PEOPLE caught up with each of the contestants and their pro partners following Monday's performance show, where they all shined on the parquet and had visions of mirror ball trophies dancing in their heads.
Originally posted 11/16/2010 08:30AM
The final four contestants shimmied – and shined! – Monday night at the Dancing With the Stars semi-finals, where each couple danced two routines. The stars were in the spotlight during their first number, in which each performed a brief solo. And Jennifer Grey took a giant step closer to the mirror ball trophy when she picked up perfect scores for both routines and earned a combined total of 60 points.
The judges dished out straight tens for the Dirty Dancing star's cha cha to Duffy's "Mercy" with partner Derek Hough. Bruno Tonioli gushed that their "execution was flawless," while Len Goodman praised the duo for their mastery of both technique and performance.
During the second half of the show, the judges once again awarded all tens for Jennifer and Derek's waltz, which Bruno called "a gem of a performance."
Originally posted 11/09/2010 08:05AM
There was double the trouble in the ballroom on Dancing with the Stars, when the contestants faced off in two challenges, including an instant-dance. After trading top spots on the leader board over the course of the season, Brandy and Jennifer Grey tied for first place Monday with almost perfect scores.
And, once again, Bristol Palin found herself at the bottom of the leader board. Could this be the young mom's last dance? Her Argentine tango with Mark Ballas earned all eights but lacked intensity, according to Len Goodman. But the studio audience disagreed, erupting in boos following the judge's critique.
During their instant-dance challenge, which allowed each couple mere minutes to finalize a routine to a song randomly selected earlier in the show, Carrie Ann Inaba said Bristol wasn't "musically connected" to her samba. Mark claimed responsibility for the mistakes, and the duo earned the two eights and a seven, bringing them to a total of 47 points out of a possible 60.
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