After 10 weeks of grueling practice and competition and one final round of competition, Rumer Willis was declared the winner of season 20 of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” Tuesday, beating out Noah Galloway and Riker Lynch.
The scores for the fusion challenge, the dance assignment the competitors received after Monday's show and performed on the finale, were added to the scores they received from that show, where Willis and Lynch had been tied for first place with Galloway in second.
The judges' scores were combined with viewers' votes, with the winner being the dancer with the highest combined scores.
When co-host Tom Bergeron called her name, Willis screamed and her pro partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, jumped into the air and then hugged her. They were quickly surrounded by the rest of the cast, which offered congratulations.
Lynch, who finished in second place, said his time on the show was a fun experience that he’ll never forget.
“The whole experience has been unbelievable. The friend that I’ve made in [pro partner] Allison Holker, I mean, it’s so unbelievable,” he said.
Galloway, who finished in third place, said he was inspired by the support of everyone on the show, adding that he received constant encouragement that helped him push through when he was having a bad day.
“You know ... I thought, three weeks at the most I’d be here,” he said, standing next to pro partner Sharna Burgess. “I made it to third place and I’m so happy with that and it’s because of all the support.”
The two-hour grand finale featured performances from the other members of the cast, including musician RedFoo, actress Suzanne Somers, singer Patti LaBelle and “Shark Tank” star Robert Herjavec.
Pop star Jason Derulo sang, Lynch also reprised his judge-pleasing freestyle during the show, and Bergeron announced that the season 19 champion, Alfonso Ribeiro, would take over from him as the new host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
This is the 10th year and the 20th season of “Dancing With the Stars.” Twelve celebrities -- Willis, Lynch, Galloway, Somers, RedFoo, LaBelle, Herjavec, actress Willow Shields, “Bachelor” star Chris Soules, football player Michael Sam, Olympian Nastia Liukin and model Charlotte McKinnney – competed this season for a chance at the mirror ball trophy.
Willis, 26, emerged an early favorite when she took the lead with in the season premiere with an impressive foxtrot with partner Val Chmerkovskiy, and she continued to impress judges, scoring at or near the top of the leaderboard consistently. Lynch, 23, too, consistently scored at the or near the top of the leaderboard, pleasing judges with his showmanship and increasing technical ability on the dance floor. Galloway, who lost one arm and a leg in a bombing in Iraq, has scored mostly in the middle or bottom of the pack throughout the season but the 33-year-old’s adaptability and determination won him fans and favor with the judges and propelled him to the top three.
See the three finalists tomorrow live on “Good Morning America.”
The Fusion Challenge
The scores from Tuesday’s fusion challenge were added to the scores from each finalist’s total from Monday, for one overall total for the two-night grand finale.
Noah Galloway: His fusion of cha-cha and Argentine tango styles earned his praise from the judges. “Noah, you’re not always the judges’ favorite, but constantly and consistently you’ve been the viewers’ favorite,” said head judge Len Goodman, who also commended Galloway’s pro partner, Sharna Burgess. Julianne Hough told Galloway he had been “the heart of this competition,” and Bruno Tonioli called Galloway “one of the most inspiring people” with whom he’d had the honor to share a stage. Carrie Ann Inaba said she was sad that this was the last time she’d see Galloway dance, saying: “You’ve done more than dance, you’ve changed peoples' lives forever.” They awarded Galloway four 9s, for a night’s total of 36 and a two-night grand total of 108.
Riker Lynch: Hough said she couldn’t believe Lynch had only 24 hours for his salsa/quickstep fusion dance. “I mean it was sharp, it was clean,” she said, adding that it had everything someone would want to see in a dance for which they’d had a week to practice. Tonioli called Lynch “a unique and outstanding talent” with incredible range, and Inaba said Lynch was a superstar. “Every time you get out there I cheer,” she said. Goodman admitted that he didn’t always like Lynch’s style of dance “because it’s a little bit wild and wacky,” but he acknowledged: “I just love watching you.” Lynch earned four 10s for a perfect score of 40 and a perfect score of 120 points for his two-night total.
Rumer Willis: Willis’ fusion earned her rave reviews from the judges, with Goodman telling the actress that she was as good as anyone who has ever been on the show. Inaba called her “the real deal,” while Hough said Willis’ performance was brilliant. Tonioli added high praise, saying: “This girl is on top of her game. It’s amazing to see how dance has transformed you. You really have become and utterly irresistible, shining, big star.” Willis earned a perfect 40, and a perfect 120 for her two-night grand total.
Total Scores (Tuesday’s Fusion challenge + Monday’s first routine, second routine. Grand Total)
Rumer Willis and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 40; 40; 40. Total: 120 (Willis won.)
Riker Lynch and Allison Holker: 40; 40; 40. Grand total: 120
Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess: 36; 32; 40. Grand total: 108