Dancing With the Stars finale recap: And the season 30 winner is…
Happy finale night of Dancing With the Stars, cha cha companions! I've got a glass of chardonnay at my side and a ribeye cooking in the air fryer because nothing says "gee, you've lost a lot of weight doing the foxtrot" than gorging on beef in celebration! Sympathies to Derek Hough, who had to miss the shenanigans due to the ongoing nightmare that is this pandemic. Welcome to the nightmare, buddy: We reporters-who-cover-sequins have been stuck at home all season, watching the east coast feed on our laptops and only imagining how Bruno Tonioli's burnt umber tan must look in person. Oh, how I've missed the ballroom and those shirtless performances by the pro men!
Two-time mirror ball champion (and former judge) Julianne Hough tagged in for her brother to help pick the winner for the 30th season. Will she get it right? Will you voters get it right?
Laretta Houston/ABC 'Dancing With the Stars' host Tyra Banks
Cody Rigsby and Cheryl Burke: It's been 200 years since Cheryl has been in the finals, so it's hard not to root for the ballroom veteran. That, and it was a LOT to ask of her to dance with her fitness partner via Zoom. It's hard enough to stay awake on those things during work meetings! But Cody's Peloton fanbase kept him in the competition, so his paso doble and cha cha fusion was all for them. "All I can think of is how far you have truly come," said Inaba. "You have proven yourself." Score: 36 out of 40
Amanda Kloots and Alan Bersten: When I talked to Alan in preparation for the final, he sounded both grateful to be in the finals and a tad doubtful that he and The Talk co-host would even make it to the final three. For their second to last dance of the season, he and Amanda fused their first Viennese waltz from week 4 with their paso doble from week 5. "Amanda, I have been following you not just on Dancing With the Stars, but who you are," said Hough. "What a way to open up the finale, by the way! You have been consistent. Consistency is your strength." "Every time you step in, I know we will get quality," said Inaba. "The accessibility of your emotions right now has made me so proud." Score: 38 out of 40
Iman Shumpert and Daniella Karagach: As the only NBA star to ever make it to the finale, Iman has already succeeded. But why should only the experienced hoofers win the mirror ball trophy every year? Iman represents what DWTS should truly be: a competition show that teaches inexperienced celebrities to dance well in front of a live audience. And boy, did he do that with his cha cha-foxtrot fusion. "Sometimes underdogs bite back, and that's what you have done tonight," said Goodman. "What I love about your dancing, you dance cool. There was no confusion in the fusion; it was really right on. Well done." Perfect score
Jojo Siwa and Jenna Johnson: The young performer says there was so much pressure when she first started the competition. But when did she ever let us see her sweat? She's been at the top of the scoreboard for most of the season, and not just because of her massive fanbase. The former star of Dance Moms knows how to move. She wrapped her 10 weeks with a tango and cha cha fusion to "I Don't Care." "You've just proved it doesn't matter if it's two girls dancing together or two guys. If the dancing's great, magic happens," said Goodman. Perfect score
Intermission! Mel C (who has gained 10 pounds in each bicep since she was booted from the ballroom) performed "Two Become One" while the obligatory montage of the season was projected behind her.
And now for the perfect score section of the finals!
Cody Rigsby and Cheryl Burke: Can you believe Cheryl has been on the show for 24 seasons? She's so good to all of her partners, but she definitely digs her Cody. She tried to show the love by putting her partner on the pole and letting him pop and lock through that otherwise loony freestyle number. "Let that freak flag fly!" exclaimed Hough. "In all seriousness, you give everybody permission to be their fully expressed selves. I feel more alive. I feel free! Thank you for giving your full self." Perfect score
Amanda Kloots and Alan Bersten: Amanda said she hasn't had another bond in her life like the one she had with Alan — but she also wasn't cooped up with anyone else for the last 10 weeks in a sweaty dance hall. But I'm splitting hairs! Her freestyle started sky high (they hung from ropes) before evolving into an effervescent celebration under the stars. "This show really is special," said Inaba. "I'm telling you my darling we have seen a star reborn in front of our eyes. My darling, keep that light alive. You are shining brighter than ever." Perfect score
JoJo Siwa and Jenna Johnson: After reminding us she is only 18, JoJo credited her pro partner for giving her confidence before going on to perform a high-powered freestyle to Gaga's "Born this Way." Gotta love the same-sex pro partners who served as her backup dancers, too! "I love the elements of samba, cha cha, and salsa all mixed in with great dancing," said Goodman. "For 11 weeks you have been a standout couple." Perfect score
Iman Shumpert and Daniella Karagach: Iman called Daniella "his dawg" before stating the obvious from the start of the season: "I thought you were short." He then realized she was even shorter when they started to dance. No matter! She became the coach who not only encouraged him to dunk but to "360 it." He then went on to perform Hough's favorite freestyle of all time. "You brought the house down," added Tonioli. "That was ah-maz-ing." Perfect score
Record number of votes were made for season 30! I won't say if I logged a few of my own. I won't!
Fourth place went to Amanda and Alan.
Third place went to Cody and Cheryl.
Second place: JoJo and Jenna.
First place went to Iman and Daniella!
Eric McCandless/abc 'Dancing With the Stars'
First-ever NBA winner and first win for the pro, who only joined the show last year! Happy holidays, indeed.