‘Dancing with the Stars’: Frankie Muniz’s freestyle took a risk by channeling ‘the prince of darkness’ [WATCH]

“I heard that you guys are doing something powerful and strong for your freestyle as opposed to something a little more lighthearted,” said a “Dancing with the Stars” producer on the phone with pro dancer Witney Carson regarding her choreography for Frankie Muniz‘s all-important freestyle during the finals. “Everybody loves the fun side of him. I just want to make sure that’s the right decision, that you both feel good about this.”

That phone call made Carson question herself, especially when the stakes are as high as they are during a “Dancing with the Stars” freestyle routine. Mirror Ball Trophies have been won and lost based on the quality of a freestyle. But Carson stuck to her guns and gave Muniz an emotionally powerful routine instead of a whimsical one. I think that was the right call given how well Muniz has performed his darker, more emotional dances in the past. Do you agree? Watch his routine above.

The judges were certainly fond of it. Guest judge Julianne Hough said, “One of my favorite things is what you said in the package: ‘I trust you, Witney.’ I think that is so important because at the end of the day you can’t do anything alone …  I think the old Frankie would have played it safe and done something fun and joyful and charming like we know of you … You decided to take a risk and do something out-of-the-box that was different for you. The competition doesn’t end for you here. That was more than the competition.”

Bruno Tonioli added, “What’s going on with you? All moody and menacing, you’re turning into the prince of darkness … This had a little bit of Janet Jackson ‘Rhythm Nation,’ a lot of tango, a lot of paso doble. It was very creative. It showed a different side of you. And I really, really liked it.” Carrie Ann Inaba said, “I’m really happy you made this choice because I feel that you of all have made the most emotional journey, finding your voice and telling your truth … You did lose a little steam. It’s a hard number to sustain that kind of intensity, but I applaud you for doing it.” And Len Goodman concluded, “I was expecting light and fluffy, but what I admire is you went right out of your comfort zone. You went for something that was full of drama, full of attack and spirit.”

It wasn’t quite perfect: Muniz received two 9s and two 10s from the judges for a total of 38 out of 40. That actually made it the lowest scoring freestyle, which is a testament to the level of competition in the finals. What did you think? Vote in our poll below to let us know.

Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs every Monday on ABC. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and eternal bragging rights. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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