Dancing with the Stars 5 finale starts tonight

Dancing with the Stars 5 ends its run over the next two nights. Tonight, the three remaining couples–Melanie Brown and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough, and Marie Osmond and Jonathan Roberts–dance at 8 p.m. ET for an hour. On Tuesday, the show concludes with a two-hour finale at 9, and it’s sure to be full of filler up until its final seconds, when the winners receive a crappy trophy.

Although all of the men except Helio Castroneves have been eliminated, some consider him the favorite to win. But he’s just surprised to still be in the competition. “I’m very shocked. It’s totally out of my territory. Racing, that’s what I’ve been doing all of my life. Performing, acting, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it,” he told the New York Daily News.

With American Idol off the air, Dancing with the Stars is not just the most popular reality show in the United States, but it’s also the most popular television show in the country. “What prompts millions to watch the waltzing?” The Washington Post asks. Judge Bruno Tonioli tells the paper that “It’s a combination of a great sporting event and beautiful, glamorous, all-time family entertainment. Every dance number has the same warm, embracing feeling of those classic Hollywood movies, and people love that.”

But others think it’s because the show “is as much popularity contest as dance competition,” as The Boston Herald’s Mark A. Perigard writes. Sabrina Bryan’s elimination seems to prove that. There is also plenty of non-dancing-related drama, from Marie Osmond fainting live to the deaths of two contestants’ mothers.

Clearly, it’s a combination of all of the above, from the dancing to the drama, all topped with the frosting and sprinkles that are Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris.

Helio Castroneves on track to win ‘Dancing With the Stars’ [New York Daily News]
Keeping the Stars on Their Toes [Washington Post]
Can’t stop ‘Dancing’ [Boston Herald]