Dancing with the Stars Finale: Everybody Wins

Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Julianne Hough, and Bruno Tonioli give this season of Dancing with the Stars a well deserved perfect score.
Dancing with the Stars (Photo: Adam Taylor / ABC)

Who will win the Dancing with the Stars Mirror Ball Trophy? We’re actually really excited about this…

Normally when I try to prognosticate what will happen on reality shows, I can be a bit of a sore loser when I’m wrong. Not to dwell on my previous predictions, but I did a terrible job of guessing how this season of Dancing with the Stars was going to play out. Fortunately, I could not be more happy with how this season actually played out.

Monday’s collection of performances was quite possibly the strongest and most deserving finale in the show’s nineteen seasons. Although I wasn’t an advocate for Bethany Mota this season, I thought her freestyle performance was phenomenal and showcased her talent without being in the shadow of Derek Hough. I would be curious to find out just how close she was to third place…or even first place.

Tuesday night we learn who wins this season’s Mirror Ball Trophy. Let’s take a look at the three finalists and how they have done on the show.

Could Win: Sadie Robertson / Mark Ballas

This was a fantastic pairing that somehow managed to avoid becoming insufferable as the competition progressed. I know my bias against Mark Ballas comes down to a personality clash, but I didn’t really have any issues with him this season. His choreography was not self-serving, and he rolled with the challenge of working with a minor of a conservative background.1 I was somewhat surprised that Sadie Robertson wasn’t asked to re-try her Halloween dance as I thought that was her weakest performance of the season, but the pair’s samba did bring in the Duck Dynasty folks. Their Mario Bros. freestyle was arguably the most memorable of the evening since it was the most unconventional of the set. Of the three contenders, Sadie would be my third choice to win, but if she does it would not be undeserved.

Should Win: Janel Parrish / Val Chmerkovskiy

I am having a difficult time coming up with a pair of dancers who have had as strong of a working relationship as Janel and Val. Janel has been completely fearless all season attacking Val’s choreography while Val has been extraordinarily creative in every single one of his routines. Throughout their freestyle performance you couldn’t help but marvel at each and every moment of the routine. As Tom and Erin went through the results last night, they mentioned that Janel and Val have had the most visits at the top of the leaderboard this season as well as the most perfect scores. My concern is that Janel’s fanbase may be the smallest of the three finalists, which may be enough to prevent her from winning the Mirror Ball Trophy.

Will Win: Alfonso Ribeiro / Witney Carson

Yes, Alfonso was the ringer of this season, but that should not take away from the phenomenal work he did every week. He never received a score lower than an 8 from any of the judges and has amassed the most points of any of the finalists so far. This includes the last few weeks where he had to deal with multiple injuries limiting his range of motion. His reprise of the jive from week one was one of the best jives I’ve seen on a TV dance competition, and the way he and Witney pulled out all the stops in their freestyle was pure showmanship. Alfonso’s likability, endorsements from Will Smith, and strategic use of the nostalgia card2 was the perfect combination to win Dancing with the Stars. Alfonso also has the most to gain from this season: I wouldn’t be surprised if ABC or ABC Family approaches him about a sitcom project for next season.

  1. Last season with Candace Cameron Bure may have been a significant contributor to working within those limitations.  
  2. his initial injury came from overdoing the Carlton  

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About Mike McComb 669 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv