The season 18 winner is crowned, but not before we experience a little 24-hour fusion

By Samantha Highfill
May 21, 2014 at 04:04 AM EDT
Kelsey McNeal/ABC
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Victory is ours! Or rather, it’s Maks and Meryl’s! After a season full of sexual tension, amazing dances, and lots of fan fiction — written mostly by me — Maks and Meryl took home the coveted MirrorBall Trophy. Can I just say how adorable it was the way she was just watching him as they awaited results. It was evident how badly she wanted this for him.

OK guys, let’s do this recap thing before I start writing more fan fiction.

Our final evening spent with Tom, Erin, and the gang was going to feature the 24-hour fusion, which Erin later pointed out sounded like a deodorant challenge. (In case you all were keeping up, I’m officially on Team Erin.) After last night’s show, the contestants were given two styles of dance to use in a routine that they had roughly 24 hours to learn. The judges’ scores for that number would then complete their final score and be counted with your votes to determine a winner.

But first we have to discuss about the footage from last night. And you all know exactly what I’m talking about: Maks crying after his freestyle with Meryl. Just stop it, everyone. Stop what you’re doing and soak this in. And if you get a second, can someone bring me a glass of wine?

Meryl held her man partner and told him it was an honor to do his last freestyle with him. As for Maks? Their partnership was “everything I never thought it would be.” And brief pause while I re-watch that almost-kiss from last night.

Meanwhile, the show was continuing without us. James and Peta were stomping around the floor again — sorry about that flip there, buddy — before Team Loca took the floor for the one routine we never got to see live. Remember during Latin Night when Amy’s injury meant judges had to use rehearsal footage? Well, it was time to make up for that! And considering Maks fell at the end, I’d say all is forgiven.

Intermixed with commentary, video packages, and dancing were musical performances, the first of which was Iggy Azalea, and that went south real fast. Iggy owes Val a huge thank you considering she was ready to stop the performance because something was wrong with her ear before the Russian escorted her down the stairs anyway. Thankfully, she found her footing. Why she was dressed like she was in Grease is another story entirely, but I’m just glad Val kept her moving, because I was already cringing. I don’t do good with live-TV awkwardness, you guys. Trust me, you never want to sit next to me during Oscar acceptance speeches.

Back from commercial break, reigning champ Amber Riley was on stage singing “Colorblind” while Tony and Karina spooned on the floor. And as Tom so delicately pointed out, Tony and Karina are not available for download. But are his dance lessons, because I’m still holding out hope that I’ll be able to dance like Tony one day? And no, that does not just mean shirtless (though that is part of it).

Also back for the night, Drew Carey performed a jive. For this one, I’ll quote my roommate: “There’s not one drop of him that’s sexy; it’s just absolute nerd.” And yes, she said that lovingly. You go, Drew!

Important note: When are we going to get to watch the R-rated version of DWTS, a.k.a. the dress rehearsal. Because let me tell you guys, I liked Erin 100 times more after watching that rehearsal footage. I’m seriously petitioning for that to be next season. Forget the glam! I want the cuss words!

After another commercial break, I was left feeling a little cheated when I caught up halfway through Charlie and Meryl’s dance. But I at least got the gist: They’re adorable and very different from her partnership with Maks.

Then NeNe stomped around the floor performing a routine that was 90 percent attitude and 10 percent dance, as it probably should’ve been. And then tack on Cody Simpson taking the stage to do a little sing-dance mash-up. Yeah, looking back, he probably left when he should’ve, right?

Newsflash: Charlie still sucks at props. This time, he broke an umbrella during his Mary Poppins routine. Honestly Sharna, stop doing this to us!

Also, Drew Carey knows what this show is all about: He’s in it “for the spray tans and the glitter.” Aren’t we all? Well, the spray tans, the glitter, and the Ariana Grande performance.

OK, let’s get down to business. In their final video packages together, we learned that Candace and Mark have the relationship of 14-year-old and his grandmother, while Derek plans to keep Amy’s steel legs if they get divorced. Also, Meryl can’t talk about any romance happening post-show with Maks, but Maks can!

And I quote: “I want to ravage her and have ice-skating, big, Russian, mean babies.” This is the point at which my roommate starts screaming, “He said he wants to ravage her! And they left it on air!” Yep, and that’s exactly why ABC is putting on a new summer series titled The Blushing Russian. Good one, Tom! Also, I’d seriously watch that.

NEXT: Who gets the MirrorBall guy?

Now to the dance floor …

Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: 30/30 Combining an Argetine tango and a cha cha, Amy and Derek’s final routine was potentially one of my favorites they’ve ever done. I’m a sucker for both of those dance styles, so there was almost no way to anger me with this one. Plus it’s Derek, so you knew the choreography would be great.

I took almost zero notes on this one because I was just enjoying the moment. Len thought Amy was a fantastic dancer, and Bruno thought her dancing was up there with some of the best. Carrie Ann wanted to write a “Dear Amy” novel, but after Tom told her there was no time for that, she called the routine “uplifting.”

[Insert “unscripted” farewell to DWTS showrunner Conrad Green.]

Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: 27/30 Mark and Candace combined the samba and quickstep in a routine that was fine. At this point, I was done watching Candace do that little crab dance/fast foot shuffle in every dance because it was one of the moves she could handle. The upside? Candace was just as done with dancing as I was with watching her, if not more so.

Honestly, somebody stick a fork in her, because she was DONE. I half expected her to say adios and march right off the floor forever after her routine, which I have to admit, would’ve been highly entertaining.

Bruno and Carrie Ann both called her adorable, and Len avoided actual criticism by talking about how much the fans love her.

OK, what was Candace’s comment about Mark being the best partner ever? My only thought: “I’m sure her husband appreciates that.” OK, I know she was talking about dance, but still, you know her husband had the thought.

Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 30/30 With the fox trot and cha cha, Meryl and her proud teacher rocked the dance floor one last time. But first, I have to mention how nervous he looked just before the routine started. He so didn’t want to mess things up right at the finish line, and in that moment, he was so very human and lovable.

Look, this routine had sexy moments, it had stripping, and more than anything, it had fun. The two of them let loose and had a blast out there, smiling their way through their final dance, somehow still nailing every step. Could they be any cuter? Brandy didn’t think so. Girl, you’ve got to stop crying at some point.

Carrie Ann stated that the “best part of season was you two” and their artistry and passion. Len then took the moment to announce that this might be his last season! It clearly caught Tom off-guard, which I found a little hilarious — look at Len stealing the show! But at least he did say that he couldn’t wish for better dance to finish up with. And Bruno, well, he thought “watching you two is like when you discover the passion and the excitement of your first love: dance.”

And this is where my roommate once again, during a commercial break, said, “I can’t believe he said he wanted to ravage her and they left it in!”

Going into the final results, here were the dancers’ total scores:

Meryl: 90

Amy: 89

Candace: 78

And combined with votes, those scores put Candace in third. Well done, America!

Waiting to hear the final news, Maks had tears in his eyes. Tears! Good thing he won! Maks and Meryl are taking home the MirrorBall Trophy — hopefully together to their home that will soon be filled with children and happiness! As Maks put it, “It’s just plastic, but it means so much.” And as to why he didn’t win before season 18? Because it was supposed to happen with Meryl, obviously. Much like the rest of his life is supposed to happen with Meryl. My only question is: Can we watch it? (But also, not really, because I don’t want reality television to tear them apart like it did Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson. I care about them way too much. I’ll stop now.)

I was so happy with these results, I can’t even handle myself right now. Plus, did you hear Maks say “ravage”?!

What did you think of the finale? And now that we know who gets the MirrorBall trophy, who gets the MirrorBall guy?

In all seriousness, thank you all for taking this journey with me. I appreciate you guys accepting me and all my craziness, and I look forward to more dance-filled nights together. Until then!

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