Always got to up things for the Finale, so this season the opening includes not only a bit at the neighboring Grove Hotel, but also one on the adjoining roofs!
Other normal elements of the finale are also present, such as the return of all the eliminated celebrities, and Erin getting herself onto the floor and surrounded by hot guys. But another new thing: longtime show choreographer Mandy Moore (not to be confused with the late 90s teen pop star of the same name), makes an on camera appearance!
Let’s go bulletpoint style!
We also have a recap of last night, and then come recaps of the rest of the season, reprises of dances by the three finalists and eliminated couples, and all the other filler before we get the final three competitive dances of the season, including:
- British star Fleur East making her American debut performing at the Grove, with Kim Fields & Sasha Farber come out to dance to her and with her.
- Kenny Maine does cranky interviews with the three football players, and they do a short dance together.
- Tom goes into the control room and to the longtime director who’s been with the show since the beginning, who we learn is leaving after this season!
- Dress rehearsal outtakes! Probably the highlight of the first hour.
- Fifth Harmony perform their new single, which has a carnival theme & carnival dancers, though they’re only of the background variety.
- The female pros do a group number at the Grove.
- Dan & Shay also perform at the Grove, with sweet wedding-themed accompaniment from Witney & Artem; this was pretty much the best filler number tonight.
- The male pros group number in the ballroom gets crashed by Antonio & Von.
- Pitbull at the Grove, accompanied by the female pros, making Erin feel left out; she also tries to get him to announce he’ll make a judging return, but he dodges.
- All the eliminated couples return to the ballroom to do a summer-themed number. Sasha steals it in the lobster costume.
- And after comments from judges and the other pros on the finalists, it’s time for the final dances: the fusions they spent the last 24 hours preparing:
Ginger Zee & Val Chmerkovskiy: Argentine Tango/Foxtrot; “Just Like Fire” Pink Much of this dance is what we expect for her; well done moves and a big grin. Except for the bit where she makes a huge error in missing a grab and getting separated from Val and stranded in the middle of the floor; so she promptly exhorts the audience and makes it look like part of the routine as best she can. All dancers make that mistake sometimes, says Len, and Bruno says similar, though Carrie Ann laments that she ended on that note. They give her straight Nines; with a final 27 her score of the two weeks is 141.
Nyle DiMarco & Peta Murgatroyd: Cha Cha Cha/Tango; “Summer” Calvin Harris They start pulling the heartstrings hard in the fluff, and then in the dance when they open it signing to each other. They do the two styles separately, but that just builds the energy of the routine, giving him the chance to show how good he is at ballroom and Latin both, until by the end it feels downright triumphant. “Glorious in every way,” says Bruno, and Carrie Ann signs a thanks to him for the season in general. Out come the straight Tens, and they got up to 144.
Paige VanZant & Mark Ballas: Jive/Salsa; “Little Bitty Pretty One” Thurston and the Sharps They mix the two styles together in a routine that feels more like salsa than jive, although that might simply be so she can have as many opportunities as possible to display hip action; tonight the quality and quantity of it is undisputable, and they also bring back their cartwheeling from their previous jive. They also have everything else that makes them great. That’s good enough that Len declares, “if this was judged purely on dance, you’d be the one to beat,” and when all three judges raise their Tens, Len yells “Twenty” and Bruno tops him by yelling “Thirty!” So they retain their lead with 148.
The final singing star, Aloe Blacc, happens to have a new single, “Let the Games Begin” from the soundtrack of some movie called Race, which is absolutely perfect for a final montage before the announcement of the winners, so he performs it.
We see the clips throughout the season, and then it’s time to learn who’s in third. At this point, you figure that’s probably going to be Ginger & Val, and indeed it is. With a little creative help from Tom, she thanks the show for turning her into a “quickstepping scientist.”
So now we’re down to the final two, as everyone scurries out to the Grove for the final presentation. It’s as Len just said: Paige & Mark were the ones who triumphed in terms of dancing, and they’ve got that four point advantage. But Nyle & Peta were the ones who inspired and moved us, and they’ll certainly be the ones we remember, and in all probability the ones getting more votes. The question is, did they get enough?
THEY DID! Nyle & Peta are crowned the winners, and promptly get hugged the heck out of by everyone on hand, although Erin manages to pull Paige & Mark aside who do general gracious runner up remarks. Eventually Tom also manages to disentangle the winners to present them with the trophy, and a tearful Nyle raises it in a whirl of confetti. He’ll be the winner everyone talks about for a while.