By Maggie Fremont
December 09, 2018 at 10:06 PM EST
Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Dancing With the Stars: Juniors has changed the trophy from the Mirrorball to the Mirrorstar? THIS IS PREPOSTEROUS. Sure, the evening is holiday-themed and we’re supposed to be feeling festive but I cannot get on board with this sparkly downgrade.

Since no one asked me, the competition continues despite this travesty. Our final four couples have two rounds of dance to go — one repeat dance featuring their mentor (finally!) and one holiday freestyle — before one adorable little couple is named the first-ever Dancing With the Stars: Juniors champions. On this final night of competition, couples will slay and also sleigh! Get it, because of the holidays? Sorry, not sorry.

Mackenzie Ziegler and Sage Rosen featuring mentor Gleb Savchenko
Cha Cha, “What If” by Johnny Orlando & Mackenzie Ziegler
Mackenzie starts talking about how much she loves her team and Gleb just starts crying. Our Gleb! The best part of the DWTS: Juniors has most definitely been seeing our DWTS pros take care of their tiny dancers. Melt my heart, why don’t you? Team Gleb selects their cha cha to Mackenzie’s song as their repeat dance and it’s definitely better the second time around. Mackenzie’s never looked sharper out there — and Mandy notes the improvement in her legs. Val thinks she shines and Adam tells her she’s a different dancer than the one they met at the beginning of the competition. That’s what we in the junior dancing biz call “exactly what you want to hear during your first dance during the finale.”
Judges’ Score: 28/30

Ariana Greenblatt and Artyon Celestine featuring mentor Brandon Armstrong
Jazz, “Rolex” by Ayo & Teo
As if there was any question which routine Ariana and Artyon would repeat for the finale. It’s just too fun for Brandon not to get in on. We all want that Rolex, okay? As Mandy points out, this team has been special from the beginning and they prove that once again dancing together tonight. Brandon says this has been the best experience for him as both a dancer and a person and honestly, is every mentor going to make me cry tonight? I did not sign up for this. Just kidding, of course I did. But I also signed up for fun, energetic routines full of attitude, and that’s exactly what Team Brandon gives us. Plus Artyon does that stage dive again and how can you not love that?
Judges’ Score: 30/30

Miles Brown and Rylee Arnold featuring mentor Lindsay Arnold
Salsa, “Who Let the Dogs Out” by Baha Men
As if we were going to get through this finale without the Arnold sisters crying. They love Miles so much! And guess what, Miles loves them too. This is a great team all around, what with Lindsay’s choreography, which suits Miles so well, and the insane partner chemistry between Miles and Rylee. This repeat salsa proves all of that ten times over. Mandy calls Miles electric and praises Lindsay’s teaching skills and Adam tells Miles that he has grown so much since week one. Aw, we’re going to miss this team so much. But this song choice? Not so much.
Judges’ Score: 28/30

Sky Brown and JT Church featuring mentor Alan Bersten
Salsa, “Light it Up” by Major Lazar featuring Nyla & Fuse ODG
Okay, but seriously with the mentors crying. This isn’t healthy for any of us! Still, Alan has had a blast on this journey with Motivational Speaker and Hype Woman For All Sky Brown. Seriously, her “work hard, be brave, have fun, and do it ’cause you love it” speech at the end of her dance? I needed that! There are some prop problems throughout this repeat of Sky and JT’s skater salsa (mainly, Alan can’t skateboard), but it is still charming as all hell. It’s no secret that the judges are big fans of Sky and they think she embodies this competition perfectly. Mandy says she’s “forever changed” because of Sky and while that is, like, A LOT to put on a 10-year-old, it is probably true. For all of us.
Judges’ Score: 30/30

(Next: Bring on those holiday freestyles)


Mackenzie Ziegler and Sage Rosen
Mentor: Gleb Savchenko
Freestyle, “Drummer Boy” by Justin Bieber featuring Busta Rhymes
Well guys, here we are: Dancing hip-hop to Little Drummer Boy. THIS IS WHAT WE’VE COME TO. I mean, it’s great hip-hop but it is very disorienting. Dancing hip-hop is all Mackenzie and Sage have wanted to do all season and you can tell they are loving every minute of it. The judges are, too. I mean, Adam just screams and asks “are you kidding me?” so you know he’s in. Val tells Mackenzie she was dancing at her absolute best, and if that isn’t a way to go out, I don’t know what is.
Judges’ Score: 30/30

Ariana Greenblatt and Artyon Celestine
Mentor: Brandon Armstrong
Freestyle, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by Lindsey Stirling featuring Sabrina Carpenter
For their final routine together, Ariana and Artyon perform a very Broadway-style freestyle. It lacks some of the energy of the bigger, faster dances, but Brandon’s choreography is cute and clever — perfect for this show. Mandy loves the storytelling, obviously, and Val praises Brandon for knowing how to best show off Ariana’s strengths. The whole thing makes me wish the rounds were flip-flopped, but I have no power here — I mean, remember the Mirrorstar debacle?
Judges’ Score: 28/30

Miles Brown and Rylee Arnold
Mentor: Lindsay Arnold
Freestyle, “Sleigh Ride” by District 78
Um, Miles spins on his head. Shouldn’t he automatically win for that? But seriously, as all the judges point out while the studio audience goes insane, Miles is a superstar. This is the first holiday freestyle that feels like it could easily be a regular freestyle, too — theme or no theme. The choreography shows off Miles so well, and even when flanked by Juniors pros, Miles is the leading man. It’s the perfect way for him to go out. Well, that and having both the Arnold sisters crying again. Traditions, you know?
Judges’ Score: 30/30

Sky Brown and JT Church
Mentor: Alan Bersten
Freestyle, “Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson
If you’d been wondering what was missing on this show, wonder no longer: It’s children almost falling off of surfboards while being carried around the dance floor. Aren’t you glad that mystery is solved? Alan gives Sky and JT’s holiday freestyle a beach theme since Sky is our resident surfer girl. It’s cute and kicky, just like Sky, but doesn’t leave as much of an impact as Miles or Mackenzie’s freestyles. The judges don’t really comment as much on Sky’s final routine as they do about her being a hero, which I guess at this point is totally fine. She is a hero! What’s even happening here?
Judges’ Score: 30/30

Before we let the holiday spirit get too out of hand, we have some major business to attend to. There is a strange new sparkly star trophy to hand out to some tiny humans. DWTS: Juniors skips over announcing how the final placements shake out and gets right down to who has won this whole thing. Congratulations…Sky and JT! Team Alan takes the first ever DWTS: Juniors title partly because of their infectiously joyous dancing and partly because Sky is so wise. That feels right!

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