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Dancing With the Stars finale recap: A winner is crowned

Feast your eyes on one last glittery night of dancing as the new champion is named

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Adam Taylor/ABC

Dancing With the Stars

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Tom Bergeron, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, Erin Andrews, Julianne Hough
Current Status:
In Season

Hold me closer, tiny dancers: It’s season 22 finale night. In a two-hour celebration of the fabulous season that was, we saw routines from some of our favorite eliminated contestants, a look back at season highlights, and performances by musical acts that I most definitely had to Google. As reigning champion Bindi Irwin reminded us, tonight was all about having fun in all the sparkles. Well said, Bindi.

Oh! There also was some competitive dancing, as Nyle, Paige, and Ginger headed out onto the ballroom floor for one more round of judges’ scores in the always entertaining, usually useless 24-hour Fusion Dance Round. After last night’s final performance hour, in which Nyle and Peta danced a profound freestyle contemporary that broke tear ducts and also some other things happened, Paige and Mark sit atop the leader board. The best part of this season though, is that it’s still anyone’s mirror ball trophy to win. But before we crown our new Dancing With the Stars champion, let’s talk filler highlights.


Finalists and eliminated contestants-alike give us some reminders as to why season 22 was so memorable. Paige and Mark perform their paso doble homage to UFC fighting, once again proving that Mark’s choreography is always exciting and unpredictable. Nyle and Peta go all the way back to week one and re-do their cha cha — the dance that completely blew up our expectations for the pair. Ginger and Val dance their Argentine tango, which is their way of blessing us all with that lace blazer one last time.

Tonight’s not just about the finalists, though. It’s also about those contestants who should’ve been finalists: Wanyá and Lindsay dance an encore of their Charleston, but I took no notes during this performance because I was dancing along in my living room. Both performances we’re fabulous. Thankfully, Jodie and Keo reprise their killer jive, which though perfect, ended up being Jodie’s swan song. It is one of the best dances of the season even now. Sharna and Antonio perform their Aladdin routine from Disney Night, because, um… there wasn’t enough leftover glitter confetti for them to perform their Footloose routine? Or maybe Sharna wanted one last spin in those Jasmine pants. For that, I cannot blame her.


Our pros get after some group routines, mainly so that Erin can ogle the male pros for a little longer. The men of season 22 perform in suits, so I guess I’m ogling, too. The ladies dance to JLo’s “Ain’t Your Mama,” and it is all too short of a routine. All of our pros are pretty great, but the campaign to get Jenna and Shannon celeb partners next season still rages on.

Speaking of things that still rage on deep within me, Maks shows up to give us all a taste of his and Val’s summer tour. If this short number is any indication, their tour will be full of brotherly love, beautiful ladies being flung through the air, and men’s shirts popping open. Should we all meet there?

The most fun group routine is the full cast’s celebration of summer. What was better: Sasha’s return as The Crab or the shot of Tony riding by on a bicycle? Debate in the comments, show no mercy.

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As predicted, I have very little clue who these people are. It doesn’t mean these performances aren’t enjoyable. Kim and Sasha and the DWTS ladies dance a hot little number around, well, hot little number Fleur East. Fifth Harmony graces the ballroom with their presence, but they are not the Spice Girls and one of them has a giant crown on her head. Country duo Dan + Shay sing while Witney and Artem… get married? Things escalated quickly. Thankfully, there is one musical act I do recognize: Pitbull. Was that the saddest sentence ever written? Don’t answer that. One wouldn’t think that Pitbull would be such a big DWTS fan, but the dude can’t get enough. He’ll most likely… maybe… probably be back to judge next season. The pull of the ballroom is strong, Pitbull.

NEXT: Let’s dance, people