If Freestyles win seasons, Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy just won Dancing With the Stars Season 18.

But Freestyles don't actually win seasons, a combination of scores and (especially) votes win DWTS. And it’s pretty clear voters want Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas to stick around, even if the judges are basically shrugging them off.

Candace and Mark have been on the bottom time and time again and survived. Tonight (May 19), they even took out the higher-scoring Jeta fans. Poor James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd. So close, and yet so far.

Candace and Mark had the lowest scores of part one of the two-night Finals, but if that hasn’t mattered before it may not matter now. Can you imagine if they win tomorrow night? That’s not meant to sound snarky or anything, it’s just wild — since so much of this season has felt like an inevitable showdown between Meryl and Maks vs. Amy Purdy and Derek Hough. What if Candace was the one to beat the whole time, Mark’s hurt shoulder and all?

Anyway, here’s our final three, in order of scores:

Meryl & Maks

Amy & Derek

Candace & Mark

Is that how it will play out tomorrow night, in that order from first to third? Should it happen that way, or did you disagree with the scores tonight?
 

LEADERBOARD

Here’s a quick rundown of where the couples stand after the first night of Week 10:

Meryl & Maks — 30 + 30 = 60

Amy & Derek — 30 + 29 = 59

James & Peta — 29 + 29 = 58 — Eliminated (based on last week's scores and votes)

Candace & Mark — 27 + 24 = 51

Read on for a full recap of Week 10 action:

INTRO: Mark arrives in a sling after his shoulder injury in rehearsals. Just three judges this week! It’s actually refreshing to just have the OGs back. Guest judges should be used sparingly. 
 

JUDGES’ PICK/SWITCH UP REDOS


1. James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd — Tango — James said he’d sign up for the local ballroom competition and pick Peta as his partner so they can stay together. Doing Tango with Peta is somewhat easier, he said, because he already did the Tango with Cheryl. Interesting Tango song — Miley’s “Adore,” but a dance remix. Of course they kiss in the routine. It’s all for you, Jeta fans. Very sharp and fast. They both look great. Peek of bare chest from James.

JUDGES: Len Goodman said it was sharp as a razor, clean as a whistle, tighter than a trumpeter’s cheeks. How long does Len work on these similes, do you think? James came out and gave his all. Bruno Tonioli said he was dominant, dangerous, passionate, and focused. Great kiss from Peta as well. (Crowd screams.) Bruno likes the kissing, although he thought James might kill her. Carrie Ann Inaba said it was sharp and intense and his butt was under, which is good, since it showed James listened to past criticism. She had to say, though, he’s a little too uptight tonight. He’s not breathing in his movements. (Boos.) Judges joke about liking it tight. Hello!

SCORES: 9, 10, 10 = 29 out of 30. Erin talks about the smooch with Peta. Peta said James didn’t feel uptight. Do we love Erin’s bright yellow dress?


2
. Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Argentine Tango — Meryl is an amazingly fast learner. Maks said he wants to look back and say he had nothing left to give. Maks talks about how he’s done this before and failed many times. Meryl said if they were to win she’d be most excited for Maks. Meryl, honey, be excited for you! You’ve earned it. They both look gorgeous in the routine. Meryl wins every costume award and Maks is Sex on a Stick for sure. Kind of like Dracula and Mina. Very sexy and sharp.

JUDGES: Bruno said that was scrumptiously seductive. What’s extraordinary is, in the past few weeks, their dances have been developing and linking into a storyline. It’s like a dance version of a concept album. Ever more beautiful, stunning, and surprising. Carrie Ann said last time she performed with Val it was magical, but with this chemistry it was beautiful and perfect. More perfection! Len said, last time, it was the dance of the night. Nothing has made him change his opinion tonight.

SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30. Meryl’s the cutest, talking about how she wouldn’t get him the win, it would be their partnership. 


3.
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas — Quickstep — They have a sweet partnership, bantering in rehearsals about how she’s picking up the routine, and it’s like night and day. She just needs time to get it. Uh oh. Candace cries, though, that she doesn’t like being pushed like that. He said she’s being so dramatic. Just saying - she’s lucky she didn’t get Maks. Mark isn’t exactly one of the tougher pros. During rehearsals, we see Mark fall to the ground, during camera blocking. He took off the sling tonight, though, and he was cleared by docs to dance. Her Quickstep outfit is interesting. Two umbrellas. Wild cover of Rihanna’s “Umbrella.”

JUDGES: Carrie Ann asked if Mark is OK. He said yes, ma’am. She was impressed. Carrie Ann said women can relate to Candace’s emotional journey. She gave her most lighthearted dance. She made it look like it was a walk in the park. Her shoulders were a little up, though. But well done. Len said Candace got the toughest dance after a heck of a week. She did good. Bruno said it was so much better than the last time, she was much more in control and moved very well. She portrayed it very well too.

SCORES: 9, 9, 9 = 27 out of 30. Yesterday was one of Candace’s hardest days outside of giving birth to her children. Emotions were on high. But she got to dance with Artem!


4.
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough — Salsa — Her back cracked and went into spasms in rehearsals. These DWTS fringe pants are the best. She’s Shawn Johnson-ish with the static upside down move. Fun song. Lots of lifts.

JUDGES: Len said it was bright, colorful, it was fabulous. “The more you see, the more you admire and love it.” Bruno said this girl is on fire. Flashing, exhilarating, flamboyant. They were so in tune with the rhythm, they were like part of the band. Carrie Ann said it was ridiculous. Every week she’s baffled by Amy. Tonight she’s improved like everybody else on the journey. She was crisper, her musicality was stronger.

SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30. 



FREESTYLE ROUND!
 

1. James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd — We see James’s journey, talking to his family members. His brother was in a serious motorcycle accident. He was in a coma and in the ICU for several months. His bro’s accident was a big turning point in James's life. He graduated early, moved to L.A. and started auditioning. They talk about his audition for Big Time Rush. They interview Victoria Justice and Miranda Cosgrove, among others. Sexy black leather and camo Freestyle. Lots of hip hop and lifts. Two other couples in the dance with them. This may not be Len’s cup of tea. James does some cool sword twirling, then bashes it.

JUDGES: Len said he liked the concept, the attack, the energy, the battle of the ballroom. He liked it. Bruno said they have a new post-apocalyptic action hero. He liked the Mad Max-Hunger Games street game feel. It’s so now, but when you get pro dancers next to you - he was right there with the male pros. Carrie Ann said James is a star. He’s the most versatile. He brought them something new. He killed it, he’s an action star.

SCORES: 10, 9, 10 = 29 = 58 for a total. James said he and Peta wanted to do something that hadn’t been done on DWTS before. 


2
. Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy — They talk to Meryl’s U.S. coach, who saw talent right away. She was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age. Tara Lipinski said Meryl is shy and quiet but she’s a perfectionist and dedicated. Evan Lysacek said the work ethic of Olympians can be applied to anything. Meryl and Charlie are like brother and sister but she has a different relationship with Maks, opening up with such passionate emotion. Meryl is more confident after working with Maks and the Freestyle is an homage to what they’ve gone through. They start with Maks shirtless holding her above his head. Already amazing after a couple of seconds. Sexy and passionate and emotional and raw. Just them. They almost kiss in the end. The song is Disclosure’s “Latch.” Wow!

JUDGES: Carrie Ann was sobbing. She wants Maks and Meryl to get married. She loves gimmicks and showstopping stuff, it’s fun, but they got real. This is what dance is about: a soulful expression of your true self. Stunning example of divinity in motion. Bruno said it keeps getting better. What they created is as close as it gets to a flawless work of art. Len said there were no gimmicks and gags. “There’s good, there’s great, and there’s Meryl.” Yes. Yes!

SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30. They wanted to give 11s. Maks would do another 100 weeks with Meryl. Who wouldn’t? She’s exquisite. 


3.
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas — Candace is a Valley Girl. They talk to Bob Saget, other Full House-ers. She was never the skinniest kid. Being “the chubby kid” can affect your confidence. Teen years are hard and teen years on TV can be even more difficult, Lori Loughlin said. She met her future husband Val at the end of Full House. She went right into the role of being a wife, and soon after a mom. Love her gold jumpsuit outfit. Very disco fun. They do the lifts that hurt him in rehearsals. Good for them. Not easy stuff, but they do their tricks. They bring in four other dancers. So many lifts!

JUDGES: Carrie Ann said she went for it. They didn’t hold anything back. They went for all the lifts. Candace didn’t seem to connect to the music. She still loves her for going for it, though. A shining moment. Len said he admires Candace and Mark’s tenacity. They came out and went flat-out. Bruno loves a disco diva and they went for it with gusto. She’s got to be on the beat, though, she can’t be a millisecond behind. That takes experience. But great job, great fun.

SCORES: 8, 8, 8 = 24 out of 30. Hmm. Not very kind. Mark didn’t want to keep talking about his injury, he wanted to focus on Candace. But the producers must’ve pushed Erin to ask about his injury. Puts her in an awkward spot.


4.
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough — Amy became an athlete when she discovered snowboarding. At 19, she thought she was coming down with flu. The next day she was on life support. All she thought about was getting back to snowboarding. They too just focus on each other in their own Contemporary-style routine. She swings around on a wire hanging from the ceiling. The crowd goes nuts. They love it.

JUDGES: Len didn’t think the rope was necessary but the loved the emotion, the lifts and the choreography. Bruno said she’s on orbit tonight. She was lyrical, ethereal, involved. She redefines what is possible. Carrie Ann said, at first, she thought there was too many lifts — Amy can dance — but when the emotional part kicked in, she was dancing with her soul.

SCORES: 10, 9, 10 = 29. Total of 59. 



WHO GOES HOME?

SAFE INTO THE FINALS: Meryl and Maks were announced safe first. Next to compete tomorrow night: Amy and Derek.

GOING HOME: James and Peta. Wowwwwwwww. Wow. So close. James said it’s all right, he’s really had an amazing experience. Peta said she’s been so blessed to have James as a partner.

VOTE! Don’t forget to vote for your favorite couple at www.ABC.com or http://apps.facebook.com/votedwts. And here are all the voting numbers, since you should also call to support your team!  

Did the right couple go home before the final three?