TIME

Bill Cosby’s Nephew Speaks Out on Comedian’s Sex-Assault Allegations

Braxton A. Cosby promotes his book "The Star-Crossed Saga Prostar" while his uncle Bill Cosby promotes "I Didn't Ask To Be Born: (But I'm Glad I Was)" at Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe on Jan. 18, 2012 in New York,.
Braxton Cosby promotes his book The Star-Crossed Saga Prostar while his uncle Bill Cosby promotes I Didn't Ask to Be Born (but I'm Glad I Was) in New York City on Jan. 18, 2012 Debra L Rothenberg—FilmMagic/Getty Images

A nephew of Bill Cosby is speaking out on behalf of the 77-year-old comedian, saying he “is innocent” in light of the “unjustified claims.”

Braxton Cosby, who heads up Cosby Media Productions, told FarrahGray.com that “unless the judicial system can prove otherwise, I stand behind him and his contributions.”

“I would be more inclined to compare it to the passage in the Bible where the people of the village were about to stone the woman caught in adultery and Jesus challenged them by saying that the person who is without sin should cast the first stone,” Braxton told the website, as confirmed by PEOPLE.

“The one difference in this case being that the woman was caught in the act and her accusers brought her forward. I want to remind everyone that we live in the greatest country in the entire world, one that prides itself on the moral law that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. That’s where we stand at this time with the allegations brought against my uncle.”

Interestingly, the production-company executive also seemed to suggest the “attacks” were an attempt to muzzle the kind of “uplifting” and “inspirational” content that Cosby Media produces. The company’s website says its mission is to develop content “that will entertain the mind and inspire the soul, from books, TV, film and music.”

“With my company, Cosby Media Productions, we will continue to push content that reflects the same positivity,” Braxton told FarrahGray.com. “I feel that the goal here was to destroy the attempts to instill that type of entertainment going into the next year. Thankfully, it will not succeed.”

In the meantime, two more venues in Washington and Connecticut reportedly announced they were canceling upcoming appearances featuring the comedian, amid accusations that he sexually assaulted several women. Cosby’s attorney has called some of the claims “fantastical.”

This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.com

TIME Television

Suze Orman to Leave CNBC After 14 Years

AOL's BUILD Speaker Series: In Conversation With Suze Orman
Suze Orman speaks during AOL's BUILD Speaker Series Jenny Anderson—WireImage

621 episodes of 'The Suze Orman Show' have aired to date

Personal finance expert Suze Orman is saying goodbye to CNBC after 14 years with the network.

The Suze Orman Show, which has been on the air for 621 episodes to date, aired only once a week, on Saturdays. Now, Variety reports, the anchor will head a show five nights a week, called Suze Orman’s Money Wars, through Warner Bros.’ Telepictures Productions. Its host network has not yet been announced.

“I want to personally thank Suze for her friendship and for her incredible contributions to CNBC,” channel president Mark Hoffman wrote in a staff note Tuesday.

The final episode of The Suze Orman Show will air March 28.

[Variety]

TIME

Cosby Philanthropy Shadowed by Sexual Allegations

(LOS ANGELES) — Bill Cosby’s record of big donations to colleges and other institutions has been a key part of his rosy public image. But even his generosity can’t stand apart from the rising tide of allegations made by women accusing him of sexual assault.

A North Carolina school, High Point University, removed the 77-year-old entertainer from its National Board of Advisors, a panel that includes retired Gen. Colin Powell. The university referred to Cosby as “one of the most influential performers of our time” when it announced his appointment last July.

The Berklee College of Music said in a statement Monday that it is “no longer awarding an online scholarship in Mr. Cosby’s name. The college has no further comment at this time.”

More telling would be a decision by an institution to publicly renounce any of the tens of millions of dollars that he and his wife, Camille, have given over the years, or rejection of a new donation. Neither has occurred.

“I don’t want to belittle the implications of the accusations, but nothing has been proven and he has not been charged,” said Michael Chatman, a philanthropy expert and founder of a speakers’ bureau on the field. Recipients of Cosby largesse are likely to adopt a wait-and-see attitude because of that, he said.

If there was to be a verdict in a criminal or civil case, “I think you would see a devastating effect in terms of his philanthropic and charitable legacy,” Chatman said. It’s unlikely an institution would return a donation, he said, but new recipients could be expected to carefully weigh the implications of accepting money.

There was no response from Cosby’s publicist to a request for comment. His attorney, Martin Singer, has called the growing number of sexual assault allegations “unsubstantiated” and “discredited” and accused the media of vilifying the actor and comedian once known as “America’s dad” for his role as a loving patriarch on the hit sitcom “The Cosby Show.”

Cosby’s legacy of giving is decades-old and extensive, topped by a $20 million gift to Spelman College in 1988 and including, among many other donations, $3 million to the Morehouse School of Medicine; $1 million in 2004 to the U.S. National Slavery Museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia; and $2 million from Cosby’s wife, Camille, to St. Frances Academy in Baltimore in 2005.

According to Internal Revenue Service filings, more than $800,000 in scholarship grants were given through the William and Camille Cosby Foundation from July 2000 to June 2013.

Earlier this month, the Cosbys loaned works from their extensive collection of African-American art to the Smithsonian Institution as part of a National Museum of African Art exhibit scheduled to remain on view through early 2016.

In a statement, the museum said it was aware of the controversy surrounding Cosby.

“Exhibiting this important collection does not imply any position on the serious allegations that have been made against Mr. Cosby. The exhibition is centrally about the artworks and the artists who created them,” the museum said.

There have been no discussions about any changes surrounding Cosby’s gift to Spelman, the woman’s college in Georgia, according to Audrey Arthur, spokeswoman for Spelman. At the time, it was the largest donation ever by a black donor to a historically black college, which later established an academic center named for Camille Cosby and an endowed professorship for visiting scholars in Bill Cosby’s name.

A recent report on donations to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where Cosby received his doctorate, indicates Bill and Camille Cosby have given the school between $250,000 and $499,999. Cosby also did a benefit performance in 2004 that raised $1.5 million for UMass-Amherst, and last year was named an honorary co-chair of the school’s $300 million fundraising campaign.

Cosby’s status with the campaign has not changed, the university said.

Temple University said Bill Cosby remains a trustee of the Philadelphia institution, a position he’s held since 1982. He’s considered its most famous alum and has often spoken at commencement, drawing huge cheers.

A Temple spokesman confirmed the campus has no buildings named for Cosby but does offer a $3,000 science scholarship named for Cosby and his wife. He declined further comment on Cosby’s philanthropy.

In 2006, Cosby settled a lawsuit filed by a former Temple employee who alleged he drugged and fondled her at his suburban Philadelphia mansion. Cosby was represented by Patrick O’Connor, chairman of Temple’s board of trustees.

___

AP Writer Kathy Matheson in Philadelphia and AP Television Writer David Bauder and AP researcher Judy Ausuebel in New York contributed to this report.

TIME Books

A TV Thanksgiving Dinner: Recipes Inspired by Your Favorite Shows

Channel your TV-watching into an original holiday meal with recipes based on Orange Is The New Black, Downton Abbey and other hit shows

If the stress of holiday cooking makes you want to curl up on the couch and binge watch old episodes of Portlandia, you can combine your fondness for addictive TV-watching with your desire to eat a decent holiday meal. Here’s a menu made up of recipes from new cookbooks based on some of your favorite shows. (After all, what soooort of rhymes with Kardashian? Tryptophan.)

 

 

  • FIRST COURSE

    Nick Briggs

    Cream of Watercress Soup

    From A Year in The Life of Downton Abbey, by Jessica Fellowes

    If you’re counting down the days until the January 4th season premiere, this photo-packed cookbook may help ease the wait. Nestled between hints about the upcoming season and behind-the-scenes shots are 24 classic British recipes, including one for this elegant soup.

    3 ½ tablespoons butter
    1 large onion, peeled and chopped
    1 large leek (white part only), washed and sliced
    1 large potato, peeled and chopped
    Salt and pepper
    3 cups hot chicken stock or water
    9 cups watercress, de-stalked and chopped (can substitute sorrel or spinach)
    Large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
    ⅔ cup light cream

    Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, then add the onion, leek and potato and stir to coat them in the butter. Season with salt and pepper, turn the heat to low and let the vegetables sweat with the lid on for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables are tender, add the hot stock or water. Bring back to the boil, then add the watercress and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Take the pan off the heat and liquidise the soup. Stir in the cream and pour into bowls to serve. Serves 4.

    Copyright © 2014, reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.

  • SECOND COURSE

    Shrimp Saganaki

    From The Portlandia Cookbook, by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein with Jonathan Krisel

    The show that lovingly parodies all things Portland has spawned an eclectic collection of recipes for foodies and freegans alike, such as this variation on sautéed shrimp.

    ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 large onion, thinly sliced
    Crushed red pepper flakes
    1½ pounds ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped with seeds
    1½ pounds cleaned and deveined medium shrimp
    ½ cup (about 3 ounces) pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
    Kosher salt
    ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
    6 ounces Greek feta, crumbled

    In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and red pepper flakes and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened, crushing with the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes longer. Add the shrimp and olives and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are curled and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in half the dill and half the feta and cook just until the cheese is heated through, about 1 minute. Transfer to plates, sprinkle with the remaining dill and feta, and serve with crusty bread. Serves 4 to 6.

  • THE MAIN EVENT

    HNA7366r1+OITNB_interior_7_24.indd
    finearts

    Pennsatucky’s Family Beer Can Bird from Orange Is the New Black Presents: The Cookbook, by Jenji Kohan and Tara Hermann

    Remember when Crazy Eyes went nuts in the cafeteria and hurled a piece of pie at Alex? Now you can make that same dessert and 50 other treats to remind you of the funniest/saddest/craziest moments at Litchfield prison—including the entree to your TV dinner.

    For the rub:
    2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
    2 teaspoons smoked paprika
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 teaspoons salt
    ½ teaspoon ground cayenne

    One 12- to 14-pound (5.5- to 6.25-kg) free-range turkey
    1 medium chunk of smoking wood, such as apple wood
    One 24- or 25-ounce (740-ml) can of beer

    Fire up a smoker or grill to 325F (160C) on one side. In a small bowl, combine all the rub ingredients. Remove and discard the neck and giblets from the turkey. Rinse the turkey under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the cavity with about 1 tablespoon of the rub. Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the meat underneath the breasts and around the thighs. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the rub under the breast and thighs. Open the beer can and pour yourself about one third of the beer. Make a few more openings in the can using a can opener and leave the rest of the beer in the can. Add about 1 tablespoon of the rub to the beer can. Sprinkle the remaining rub into the cavity of the turkey and all over the turkey, inserting it under the skin.

    When the grill comes up to temperature, add the wood chunk. When the wood ignites and starts to smoke, place the beer can on the grill over the unheated portion. Carefully lower the turkey onto the beer can, legs down. Adjust the legs so the bird is stable on the grill. (If it’s hard to get it to stay stable, you could place the bird, beer in butt, in a roasting pan before placing it on the grill.) Cover and smoke until an instant-read thermometer registers 160F (70C) in the thickest part of the breast, 2 to 3 hours. Remove the turkey from the smoker, place it on a carving board, and let it rest for about 20 minutes. Remove the beer can, carve, and serve.

  • SIDE DISH

    Herbed Garlic Bread from In the Kitchen With Kris, by Kris Jenner

    Even if you can’t afford a personal chef or Hermès china for your celebrity offspring, you can still get a taste of the Kardashian life. Here’s an amped-up garlic bread recipe to go with dinner:

    6 garlic gloves, minced
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
    2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 large, elongated crusty bread, such as ciabatta, cut in half horizontally

    Preheat over to 350°F. Heat the garlic and olive oil together in a small skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is tender but not browned, about 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl and let cool completely. In the same medium bowl, combine the Parmesan, parsley, oregano, and thyme. Using a rubber spatula, mash the mixture together until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide and spread the herb mixture on the cut sides of the bread. Wrap the loaf in a double thickness of aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Open up the foil and continue baking until the loaf is crisp, about 5 minutes, Cut into 1-inch wide slices and serve warm. Makes 8 to 12 servings.

  • DESSERT

    Blue Meth Crunch from Baking Bad, by Walter Wheat

    How did Walt get his bake so pure? You won’t learn Heisenberg’s secret recipe in this hilarious (and drug-free) parody cookbook inspired by Breaking Bad. But you will find novelties like Mr. White’s Tighty Whitey Bites, Ricin Krispie Squares and this blue rock candy:

    ½ cup (118ml) water
    ¾ cup (177ml) light corn syrup
    Do not use chili powder. It’s for amateurs
    14 ounces (350g) granulated sugar
    2 teaspoons (10ml) peppermint extract
    Blue gel food coloring
    You will need a candy thermometer

    Line a baking tray with aluminum foil, or use a heatproof glass tray. Spray with non-stick baking spray. Find yourself a decent accomplice. Underachieving ex-students are a good choice, though psychologically fragile. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup and sugar. Stir the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then turn up the heat to bring to a boil. Stop stirring and insert the thermometer and use a pastry brush dipped in water to wet the sides of the pan (this will prevent crystals forming). Cook the mixture until the temperature reaches 285F(140C). Immediately remove the pan from the heat and take out the thermometer. Let the mixture stand until all the bubbles have stopped forming on the surface.

    At some point you’re going to need a distributor. But don’t worry about that now. Add a few drops of peppermint flavoring and enough blue color to give the correct Blue Meth hue. Quickly pour the mixture onto the baking tray, lifting the tray from side to side to spread the mix. Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly smooth or has holes in it. Let the candy cool to room temperature. Once the candy has cooled, use a hammer to break it up. Put into little plastic baggies or serve as is, whichever your clients prefer.

    All recipes reprinted with permission.

TIME Music

Kurt Cobain Documentary Heading to HBO in 2015

Photo of Kurt COBAIN and NIRVANA
Kurt Cobain performs live onstage in Modena, Italy on Feb. 21, 1994. Raffaella Cavalieri—Redferns/Getty Images

Montage of Heck will be the first authorized documentary about the Nirvana frontman's life

Kurt Cobain has been the subject of many films, including a fictionalized version of himself in Gus Van Sant’s Last Days and a controversial 1988 documentary called Kurt & Courtney. Now, HBO is releasing the first fully-authorized documentary of the Nirvana frontman, executive-produced by his daughter, Frances Bean Cobain.

At the helm is Brett Morgen, who worked on HBO’s Rolling Stones documentary, Crossfire Hurricane, as well as The Kid Stays in the Picture, which told the story of the rise and fall of notorious Hollywood producer Roger Evans. According to a press release from HBO, Morgen started working on the project years ago with the family’s blessing, combing through Cobain’s archives, watching never-before-seen home movies, listening to recordings, and digging through Cobain’s artwork, photography, journals, and songbooks..

“I started work on this project eight years ago,” says Morgen in the press release. “Like most people, when I started, I figured there would be limited amounts of fresh material to unearth. However, once I stepped into Kurt’s archive, I discovered over 200 hours of unreleased music and audio, a vast array of art projects (oil paintings, sculptures), countless hours of never-before-seen home movies, and over 4000 pages of writings that together help paint an intimate portrait of an artist who rarely revealed himself to the media.”

The feature-length film, Montage of Heck, is slated for release in 2015.

TIME celebrity

Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow Curse Each Other Out on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

@#$*

There was a mini-Friends reunion on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night, but no one was very friendly.

Former Friends co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow were both guests on Kimmel’s show as Aniston was making the rounds to promote her new film Horrible Bosses 2 and Kudrow was celebrating her comeback on The Comeback.

However instead of a joyful reunion between former cast mates, Kimmel pitted them against each other in a vicious war of words called “Celebrity Curse Off.” Each actress was given five seconds to come up with a jaw-dropping vulgarity until one of the women failed to deliver a fittingly shocking return volley.

If you can read between the beeps — and Aniston went Greek at one point – it’s an X-rated foray into diabolical language, with Kudrow getting a boost thanks to her teenaged son’s vocabulary.

Read next: Watch Jennifer Aniston Prank a Reporter

TIME Television

Watch the Trailer for the Upcoming HBO Documentary Regarding Susan Sontag

“The writer was supposed to stand for something”

In Susan Sontag’s last published book, Regarding the Pain of Others, she wrote about how humans remember: “To remember is, more and more, not to recall a story, but to be able to call up a picture.” A new picture, in this case a moving picture, will premiere on HBO on Dec. 8, remembering the writer, activist and critic herself. Regarding Susan Sontag, titled in homage to her final work, will weave together interviews, footage and readings from Sontag’s prolific body of work.

Directed by Nancy Kates and honored with a Special Jury Mention at the Tribeca Film Festival, Regarding Susan Sontag explores the life of a woman often considered one of this country’s greatest public intellectuals, and — as a voice in the trailer asserts — “the most intelligent woman in America.” Sontag wrote because she saw it as “a way of paying attention to the world.” She visited war-torn regions because, in her words, “I think it’s my duty to be in as much contact with reality as I can be, and war is a tremendous reality in our world.”

Many have missed Sontag’s dissenting voice since her death in 2004. The frequency with which she visited topics like pain, human rights, war and violence suggest she’d have much to contribute to the conversations that whirl around us today and every day. Absent that, at least we have a documentary.

TIME Television

Watch Several Teasers for Billy Crystal’s Upcoming Sitcom The Comedians

Crystal and Josh Gad play an intergenerational comedy duo

Billy Crystal is set to return to the small screen next year in The Comedians, an FX sitcom co-starring Josh Gad of Book of Mormon fame. Crystal and Gad play an unlikely pair of comedians, one old and one young (an obvious fact, and one that bears pointing out only in its importance to the show’s premise), paired up on a late-night comedy sketch show.

Based on the teasers released so far, we can expect to see Crystal feeling cast off for his comparatively advanced age (up top).

But there’s also Crystal resenting his much younger partner:

Crystal resenting his much younger partner some more:

And a nice dose of bathroom humor:

The Comedians is based on the Swedish show Ulveson and Herngren, whose creators will co-produce along with Crystal. The show will run for 13 episodes in 2015, though a premiere date has not yet been announced.

TIME Media

Don’t Blame Social Media for Ferguson’s Troubles

The Internet is just one more way that, on nights like Monday night, the whole world is watching.

Before St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced that there was no grand-jury indictment against officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, he read his own list of charges–against the Internet and the media.

“The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation,” McCulloch said, “has been the 24 hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything, to talk about, following closely behind with the nonstop rumors on social media.” Some witnesses, McCulloch implied, were giving or changing their testimony to reflect what they’d heard or read in the news and social media rather than what they’d actually witnessed.

Obviously misinformation is a challenge for any criminal investigation, much less a racially charged one that becomes world news. That’s why you have a grand jury process–a lengthy and involved one in this case–to sift through the evidence.

And yes, social media can be where people go to repeat what they want to hear or are already inclined to believe, on all sides. Though McCulloch only cited cases of questionable testimony that were damaging to Wilson, we also earlier saw Wilson’s online defenders spread a report that Brown dealt him an “orbital-blowout eye socket fracture” in the confrontation, which photo evidence released from the grand jury proved false. “Social media,” like any media system, is really just a fancy description for a lot of people connected and communicating. It’s as good or bad as the people themselves are.

But we’re better off having social media, especially in situations like Ferguson’s. When the first round of protests broke out in August, it was through social media that reporters first got out the news of their arrests and tear-gassing by riot police, some of whom ordered the reporters–as well as protesters in the crowds–to “stop videotaping” with cameraphones. After the grand-jury announcement, voluminous records from the investigation went up online, for the hive mind of social media to begin poring over and analyzing.

Of course, one person’s “analyzing” is another person’s “second-guessing.” I suspect part of what’s behind the frustration of people like McCulloch is that social media makes everyone a critic. Thousands and thousands of people are watching over your shoulder to see if you slip up, checking what you missed, judging whether you were thorough enough, questioning your agenda. Good. Having everyone watch you do your job, or not do it, may be a pain, it may be stressful, but in an imperfect justice system, it’s not exactly a bad thing.

[It is also, by the way, not just those on the other side of the police line who can spread confusion in a situation like this. Monday night, a Twitter account for the Saint Louis County Police Department tweeted that police were using smoke, not tear gas, against protesters–even as we watched coughing, choking CNN reporters get hit with the gas on camera. Later the department tweeted that police were in fact using tear gas, though, the account said, they deployed smoke first.]

While McCulloch argued that social media made it harder to get to the truth in Ferguson, it was often social media that first got out the truth on the ground–and that raised questions that reporters on site were not always asking first. If prosecutors and police now have to deal with the public surveilling them on social media, so does that 24-hour news media that McCulloch described. (There was plenty of hostility toward TV on the ground in Ferguson too, with protesters yelling “Fuck CNN!” and “Fuck Fox!” on live air.)

The prying, judging eyes of social media may be a hassle for authorities–for lawyers, for law enforcement and for the media itself. But we’re all better off for it. Before social media, it was the last generation of electronic media that got blasted for showing people what authorities didn’t want them to see, like the attacks on protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which gave us a phrase–“The whole world is watching!”–that McCulloch himself echoed in his remarks. The citizens of Ferguson, he said, should be “mindful of the fact that the world is watching.”

As police and protesters again clashed brutally on Monday night, the whole world was still watching. And thanks to social media, the whole world is now also reading.

TIME Television

Dancing With Stars Watch: The Finale — Part 1

WITNEY CARSON, ALFONSO RIBEIRO, BETHANY MOTA, DEREK HOUGH, JANEL PARRISH, VAL CHMERKOVSKIY, SADIE ROBERTSON, MARK BALLAS
Adam Taylor—ABC

Plus, somebody got sent home

It’s finally the finale of Dancing With the Stars. But before we get to the dance-floor action, this post owes a debt of gratitude to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 for illustrating the proper punctuation for a two-part finale. May the odds be ever in grammar’s favor or something.

Tonight the finalists — YouTube star Bethany Mota, Pretty Little Liar Janel Parrish, Fresh Prince forever Alfonso Ribeiro and Duck Dynasty scion Sadie Robertson — perform two dances, one chosen by the judges and one freestyle. Tonight one couple goes home and tomorrow one of them will take home the Mirror Ball Trophy. It’s all very exciting, much like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, but with more backstabbing.

Here’s what happened on Dancing With the Stars: The Finale — Part 1:

Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: Bruno Tonioli wanted to see a repeat performance of Derek and Bethany’s jive to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” and while there’s undoubtedly some calculus to the judges’ decisions, it’s easiest to believe Bruno, like the rest of us, has had that song stuck in his head for the past three months. There were some technical difficulties (the fake bedroom didn’t move quickly enough!) that affected the dancing a bit (timing!), and the judges had no problem dinging the couple for those issues, which seems unfair, but also very finale-appropriate. Derek tried to make amends by complimenting everyone (except his sister) before they handed out scores. 36/40

Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas: Len Goodman opted to see Sadie and Mark’s Duck Dynasty–themed samba, because he was off judging the weirdly named Strictly Come Dancing when they performed it the first time. The real highlight came when Sadie had to barf in a bucket due to nerves. Just kidding! That wasn’t the highlight, it was when Liam Payne from One Direction showed up to rally votes for Sadie. (He’s a longtime supporter of the Robertson family, even tweeting his support when Robertson’s grandfather equated homosexuality with bestiality.) When she wins, you can either blame the Directioners or the fact that 25 of her family members are in the audience. Carrie Ann Inaba admitted that she didn’t think Sadie would be in the finale, but has learned to appreciate her skill. 38/40

Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy: Janel and Val have a disadvantage because Janel was too busy on the set of Pretty Little Liars, which [SPOILER ALERT] doesn’t make much sense as Mona was [SERIOUSLY, SPOILER ALERT] very dead at the end of last season. What the heck was she doing on set? Hurry up new season! [END SPOILER ALERT]. Anyway, they were three days behind in rehearsals for the samba that Julianne Hough assigned them. It was one of their lowest-scoring dances during the season, and Janel was excited to redeem herself. However she injured her rib during rehearsal and had to samba through the pain. She still managed to get a 10 from Len, which is all she wanted for Christmas. 37/40

Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson: While Janel had a rib injury and Sadie puked in a trash can, Alfonso still reigns supreme when it comes to body ails. The man was crying from pain on camera last week, after all, so he holds on to that crown. Regardless of his pain, Carrie Ann assigned him a repeat performance of the fast-paced jive. His routine was solid weeks ago, and it was downright dazzling in the finals, despite his physical decrepitude. Carrie Ann almost whacked Len on the head in her enthusiasm and Len compared Alfonso to Frank Sinatra, which is not exactly true but an impressive hyperbole nonetheless. 40/40, and Alfonso thanked all his doctors.

Bethany and Derek, freestyle: Bethany went Mad Max in her final routine (if Mad Max wore sparkles), but held her own in the Thunderdome against the troupe members who helped round out the routine. It was dramatic, dynamic and the perfect ending to the season for the YouTube star. 40/40, for a total of 76/80

Sadie and Mark, freestyle: For some reason Mark decided that their final routine should be Super Mario Bros.–themed, because why not? It is Dancing With the Stars after all, so you may as well slap on some mustaches, bedazzle Mario and Luigi, find yourself a full-size ’shroom and send them all out onto the dance floor to completely entertain your fans and bewilder Len. Julianne dubbed it “the cutest thing she had ever seen.” Bruno said it was “original and refreshing.” Even Len thought it was memorable. 40/40, for a total of 78/80

Janel and Val, freestyle: Janel said they wanted to keep their final routine “just Val and Janel,” which meant a slow, smoke-filled, sensual routine to the theme from Friends. (Val is such a Joey, amirite?) Bruno dubbed it “hypnotically beautiful.” Carrie Ann said the routine “went inside” and “changed them” (she’s such a Phoebe). 40/40, for a total of 77/80

Alfonso and Witney, freestyle: Alfonso and Witney’s routine started out as an old-timey jazz number that was reminiscent of their jive, but this time they were wearing black and white instead of taupe, and Alfonso stopped and did a tap routine in the middle of the performance. It was tight and impressive, and Alfonso didn’t seem to aggravate his groin or feel the need to say the word groin even once. 40/40, for a perfect 80/80

Who went home: At this point, everyone deserves to win, everyone has incredible talent, everyone should be very proud of themselves yada yada yada. Bethany went home. Why? Who knows! She deserved to win, has incredible talent and should be very proud of herself.

Best reason to come back tomorrow: Somebody gets to try and fit the Mirror Ball Trophy in their Uber!

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