LOS ANGELES — Hannah Brown beamed as she clutched the Mirror Ball trophy at the end of the "Dancing With the Stars" finale Monday night.
Kel Mitchell performed a "Jump" dance called the best-ever freestyle routine in the reality show's history, and Lauren Alaina did country music proud with a line-dance version of her freestyle. Ally Brooke's "showstopper" freestyle even earned a comparison to Jennifer Lopez from judge Bruno Tonioli.
But there was so much more to the telecast Monday night that millions of viewers did not see. USA TODAY was front and center (well, slightly behind the judges' table) in the heat of the competition to give a full behind-the-scenes report.
Here's what went down:
Hannah Brown stuns a young fan backstage
About two hours before the evening kicked off, dancers and stars scurried by the backstage entrance, munching on snacks, scrolling on phones and getting into costume for the big show.
The former "Bachelorette" star, in black sandals, a robe and show-ready hair and make-up, calmly shuffled past waiting fans while eating out of a black, plastic bowl. A young girl in a pink scrunchie stepped out and froze upon seeing Brown in person.
The 25-year-old waved and flashed a big smile at the girl, who replied with a shy wave of her own before bolting back to her family in line.
At another entrance, Tonioli sauntered in a white hoodie and sneakers with fellow judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who had a black "Dancing With the Stars" jacket over the gold gown she wore on the show.
"Bruno, your shoe's untied," Inaba pointed out, as Tonioli shrugged and continued walking. Moments later, Tonioli reappeared in his glittery, turquoise show jacket ready for action.
Tom Bergeron loses it after live stage mishap
It wouldn't be live TV if everything went according to plan.
Viewers saw that moment when the pink flower arrangement decorating the judges' table became unhinged and fell right in front of host Tom Bergeron, as Alaina received feedback on her foxtrot to "Jolene" by Dolly Parton.
Alaina caught it and tried to hold it up before Bergeron stepped in. Though the host tried nonchalantly leaning against the piece to keep it upright, he eventually surrendered to the rebellious flower arrangement, shaking it as he announced what was coming after the commercial break.
After cameras cut, Bergeron and Tonioli looked at each other and shook their heads, laughing about the live mishap.
Bergeron chuckled his whole walk back to his seat behind the audience, before collapsing into his chair and letting out a big belly laugh. By the time he got there, the crew had already started transitioning the stage to the next set for Mitchell's jazz routine to "We're All in This Together" from "High School Musical."
There was no sign of the troublesome piece when the show returned.
Cher wasn't live, but the stage crew grabbed her applause
The beat went on Monday night, but without Cher there in person.
Though the pop icon was slated to perform her 1967 hit "The Beat Goes On" during the finale, the 73-year-old couldn't fit the live taping into her schedule, a crowd-warmer told the audience. As a result, Cher's "live" performance was actually recorded on the "DWTS" stage two weeks ago.
Nevertheless, the finale still required footage of cheering audience members. So on Monday night, as Cher's two-week old performance played on the back screen, audience members were instructed to gaze at the dance floor, cheer and pretend Cher was there.
What actually filled the floor were several stagehands working to remove the massive blue car and orange tires that littered the stage for Mitchell's freestyle performance to "Jump" by Kriss Kross. It seemed business as usual for the crew, who seemed unfazed by the crowd's reaction.
"Just fake it," the crowd-warmer told the audience, ahead of the pre-taped spectacle. "We're in L.A. We're all faking it."
Hannah Brown embraces Alan Bersten before 'Lover' waltz
Brown and her pro partner, Alan Bersten, got cozy in the moments leading up to one of their last dances.
Before taking the positions for their penultimate dance, the two grabbed and held on to each other in a tight hug. With their arms wrapped around each other, the duo swayed gently from side to side on the dance floor, before gearing up for their first dance of the night: a Viennese Waltz to "Lover" by Taylor Swift.
Brown took her place lying down on a raised platform of purple and pink roses for the number. Soft purple petals rained down on the reality TV star, who wore a purple gown with sparkling rhinestones at the top, matching Bersten's soft purple jacket and slacks.
Though many fans may want more from Brown's relationship with Bersten, the former "Bachelorette" said she and her pro partner are just close friends.
"We’ve been a great team," Brown told USA TODAY after one of her final rehearsals. "And then, after this, we’re going to be great friends. I’m really glad that Alan was my partner through all of this. We definitely have grown as individuals and as a team. I’m really blessed to have his support."
Sean Spicer gives out hugs after finale
Sean Spicer may not have been dancing Monday night, but he was loving his return.
The former White House press secretary, decked out in a white jacket with black streaks over his simple black button down and slacks, smiled as he mingled with his cast-mates on the dance floor after the Mirror Ball Trophy had been given out.
"Queer Eye" star Karamo Brown, who wore a sequined black cardigan over a white T-shirt that read "Black, Gay & Gifted," greeted Spicer with a big hug. The two men connected this season, which drew mixed reactions from fans.
Before Brown's pro partner, and fellow season victor, Bersten could make his exit, Spicer called out to him and also gave him a hug.
"It’s so great to see everyone back together, and so great to be part of it," Spicer told USA TODAY. "All without having the stress of having to perform."
After their hug, he and Bersten posed for a photo with the Mirror Ball trophy.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dancing With the Stars finale: Hannah Brown stuns fan, unseen moments