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Entertainment Weekly

TV Recaps

Dancing With the Stars: Athletes finale recap: Who took home the Mirrorball trophy?

Byron Cohen/ABC

Posted on

Dancing With the Stars

3/21/11 - 1/1/70

TV Show
genre new
Tom Bergeron, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, Erin Andrews, Julianne Hough
In Season

What a short, strange trip it’s been. We can all agree that a four-week long season of Dancing With the Stars makes absolutely no sense, especially when we have such excellent competitors. Who knows what would’ve happened in a regular season! But let us not dwell on “what ifs.” Let’s talk about what we’ve got: Our finalists are Adam and Jenna, Tonya and Sasha, and Josh and Sharna. (Let’s not talk about the Mirai-shaped hole I have in my heart.) It’s definitely our glorious little bird Adam’s trophy to lose…and it seems like everyone involved is in agreement.

Still, we have one hour of dancing competition left. Each couple will have two routines to perform for judges’ points, and there’s some live voting shenanigans at the end. Exciting, right? Okay, so this one-hour finale lacks the anticipation (and filler!) of the finales we’ve come accustomed to, but at least we still get our beloved freestyle round!

For the fourth and final time: Let’s take it to the dance floor.

Tonya Harding and Sasha Farber
Viennese Waltz, “The Time of My Life” by David Cook
Let’s take a second to recognize what a great pro partner Sasha Farber is. Every season, he seems to really take care of his celeb. This season with Tonya is not different. They are a lovely little partnership. Their Viennese waltz is fluid and graceful and it contains some major armography, which is what we’re all here for if we’re honest with ourselves. Also, THE SPINS. The judges praise Tonya’s elegance and call out the excellent control she demonstrated. Carrie Ann tells her that every movement she makes has real meaning. She’s making it look easy.
Judges’ Score: 26/30

Josh Norman and Sharna Burgess
Foxtrot, “Conqueror” by Empire cast, featuring Estelle and Jussie Smollett
Sharna looked shocked to hear that she and Josh made it into the final, so they are looking to prove that they earned their spot. Doesn’t a celeb who embraces dancing with his shirt off so openly from week one deserve a real shot at the trophy? The couple puts forth a gorgeous foxtrot. Those baby blue outfits are pretty easy on the eyes, too. There’s nice partner work, a strong frame, and lots of style. Turns out, Josh didn’t need to go shirtless to do well in what is incredibly his first ballroom style of the season. There’s an ease and elegance to his performance that gives the judges all they need.
Judges’ Score: 27/30

Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson
Jazz, “Anything You Can Do” from Annie Get Your Gun (The new Broadway cast recording)
Aw, these two cuties in suities. Anyone else’s face hurt from smiling during this routine? This jazz celebrates the Adam and Jenna partnership in the best way. It’s both fun and funny. As they attempt to show each other up throughout the routine, you can tell they’re having a blast. The judges are, too. They applaud the choreography: There’s cheekiness to it, but also some real technical know-how. Bruno loves how theatrical it was and Carrie Ann calls them “the wonder twins of dance.” Between Jenna asking Adam to marry her and Adam making Jenna (and all of us) cry with thanks and praise for his dedicated teacher, my little heart just can’t take it anymore.
Judges’ Score: 30/30


Tonya Harding and Sasha Farber
“Hush Hush; Hush Hush” by The Pussycat Dolls
Just your lowly recapper here to let you know that I am currently LIVING for Sasha’s glitter pants. Are glitter pants the new blazer, no shirt? To be determined. Sasha is donning such amazing legwear because he and Tonya are throwing a disco party. Tonya comes down from the ceiling, drops some cartwheel fabulousness on us, and never looks back. Sasha wanted this routine to be a celebration and he accomplishes that. The judges are gushing. Carrie Ann even floats down from the judges’ panel to bestow a hug upon Tonya. They appreciated seeing a routine so full of joy. It’s a good way to go out.
Judges’ Score: 30/30

Josh Norman and Sharna Burgess
“Walk on Water” by Thirty Seconds to Mars
Sharna wants Josh to finally unleash the beast he is on the football field. Josh does that and more (he even does it in rehearsal when he accidentally lays out Artem, ouch). The routine begins in the locker room with Josh and two shirtless troupe members dancing out their aggression. Is this what happens in real football locker rooms? Should I be watching more football? What follows is a strong, powerful routine. That lift in which Sharna is completely over Josh’s head and then he tosses her up into the air is bananas. The judges are also very into this. Carrie Ann loves that it shows a new side of Josh on the dance floor. Bruno applauds how in command Josh was the entire time. Len is just here for the drama.
Judges’ Score: 30/30

Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson
“Scooby Doo Pa Pa” by DJ Kass
As Carrie Ann notes, Adam and Jenna’s freestyle is definitely “a choice.” It’s all wigs and quirk and high style, baby. The whole time I was watching I just kept wondering, “What is Len thinking?” (To be honest, I’m thinking that at least once a day). The freestyle is supposed to embody the celeb and the celeb-pro partnership, and this routine accomplishes that. It’s fun! It’s bold! It is very Adam and Jenna. Unfortunately, Carrie Ann and Len aren’t so hot on it, and yes, Carrie Ann is right — there were times when Adam and Jenna were not in sync. The bowl cut wig gets a perfect score, but the routine falls just a hair short.
Judges’ Score: 28/30

This is all happening so fast, I’m not ready! There’s no nostalgic look back at the journey of the final three awkwardly set to a live performance and we don’t even learn who is in third or second place.

There is only the winning couple: Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson take the Mirrorball trophy!

It feels right. It feels good. It feels like we should all go out and buy a bowl cut wig. Until the next dance, friends!