Dancing With the Stars finale recap: The season 29 winner is...
Tyra Banks wanted us to talk about it, right? You don't make an entrance in a cumulus cloud like that and not think that people will want a word. My immediate thought was that she cleaned out her local Bath & Body Works of all its exfoliating sponges, while my favorite DWTS publicist thought Tyra was wearing a grownup version of those crocheted toilet paper dresses that your gramma used to display on her commode.** The freshman host must have known we'd be all pick-a-little talk-a-little after that reveal, so she (blissfully) changed her look during the first commercial. And into a starry halo, no less! God bless you, Tyra. You made it through the COVID-19 addition of Dancing With the Stars! Let's see who's going to win it now.
Nelly and Daniella Karagach: Time has flown by for Daniella; Nelly thought he'd be booted from the show on day one. "I love doing things a lot of people think I can't do," he admitted. Like dancing under a giant, bedazzled boom box in the final? We didn't think you could do it, either. But here you are, revisiting your super samba while planning to donate your Nike dance shoes to a worthwhile charity. "What you have, you have such a spontaneity, you are so engaging to watch," said Bruno Tonioli. "Watching you is great, it's fun." "You're a moment maker, brother. You fill this room with such joy and you make people feel good," added Derek Hough. Score: 27 out of 30
Justina Machado and Sasha Farber: The One Day at a Time may have flown in on a lucky star, but her cha cha and infectious pride about being a hot, 48-year-old Latina reminded everyone that she wears her fringe and Danskins well. "You are exploding with charisma," said Hough. "It was so good. So well done." "You know how to shake those tail feathers," added Tonioli. "You were almost too hot to trot tonight." Score: Perfect 30
Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson: The Catfish guy used to worry that people would only see him as that Catfish guy. But then he found his inner Hugh Jackman, and now winning is so important that he freakin' shaved his chest for the finale! Who does his earnestness remind me of? Oh, I know. Has anyone seen James Van Der Beek's Instagram of late? He seems to suggest that he moved his family out of California because he didn't win the Mirrorball last year. You already lost your pec fluff, Nev. Don't give up home and hearth if you don't take the top prize! Score: Perfect 30.
Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev: It's been a life-changing journey for the bachelorette. And to think she was afraid that she wouldn’t be good enough. But let's get real for a moment: did Kaitlyn, with all of her childhood training, honestly think she wasn't going to make it to the finals? I surely did. So of course she’s here, doing a final Argentine tango that takes Bruno's breath away. "It was so intensely sensuous," he added. "The detail was even better this time around ... absolutely stunning." Continued Carrie Ann Inaba, "I'm so glad you chose to do this dance again, you went from being an amazing dancer to an unbelievable, exquisite...I can't find the words anymore." Score: Perfect 30
Programming break! Let's hear it for Derek Hough, shall we? How can you not appreciate the place he's carved himself in the DWTS universe? First a winning pro, now a judge who occasionally reminds us that we no longer have to wonder who replaced Gene Kelly in the 21st Century. (Sorry, Tyra: he's too sexy and athletic to be the modern version of Fred Astaire). More of these masterful solos in season 30, please!
Nelly and Daniella Karagach: Oh Nelly, you aren't losing your Nike dancing shoes. You are gaining a sister! I hope she asked to keep her brother's gigantic diamond studs after dancing that wicked freestyle. "Nelly! The king of swag and the king of bling! We are in the presence of hip hop royalty," said Tonioli. "Freestyle, Nelly style." "You guys together has been outstanding. This dance gives me hope," added Inaba. Score: Perfect 30
Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev: Artem is right; he couldn't have asked for a better partner. As if I haven't reminded you a gazillion times before, Artem hasn't won a trophy in the nine seasons he's been on the DWTS. It's definitely time — and that freestyle sure helped. "What I love about it, you really captured the feel and style of Baz Luhrmann extravaganza," said Tonioli. "Dazzling." Score: Perfect 30
Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson: The duo made for an excellent partnership. Nev appreciated their bond and judges certainly liked her choreography. But does she have to call him Neevy? Then again, I'm sure he really didn't care since she gave him the best number of the season. They literally danced in the rain! "You can't pull off Gene Kelly or 'Singing in the Rain' unless you are a leading man," said Hough. "You are a leading man." "It was showstopping!" added Tonioli. "I wasn't expecting that." Score: Perfect 30
Justina Machado and Sasha Farber: Justina is right; it’s hard teaching a middle-aged woman with no experience. But I feel pretty confident he had a ball. And they’re in the finals! So let’s get loud, already. “The freestyle is all about strategy. You used this moment to send out a powerful message about you,” said Inaba. “I couldn’t think of a better freestyle to finish this entire season. That was so good! The intro was such fire.” Score: Perfect: 30
The time has come. No judges to save you now, dancers!
Fourth place went to Justina and Sasha.
Third place went to Nelly and Daniella.
Second place went to Nev and Jenna.
And the winner is... Kaitlyn and Artem! They're so excited.
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