It’s been another wild season of Dancing with the Stars with Geraldo Rivera as Donald Trump, Doug Flutie’s Bollywood routine, Len Goodman’s weird island fantasy, and more. Now it’s time to crown a winner as season 22 hands out the Mirror Ball Trophy to Paige VanZant, Nyle DiMarco, or Ginger Zee. But first, we’ll get two hours of filler, which will include about 15 minutes of actual competition.

'Dancing with the Stars' Season 22 Finale Recap: Who Wins the Mirror Ball?

I’m predicting that Paige and Mark will win, giving him his third Mirror Ball, though readers favor Nyle’s chances of victory. Our BuddyTV poll has Nyle at 47 percent with Paige at 41 percent, and Ginger is a distant third at 12 percent. And that’s with over 2,500 votes, so at least 1,000 people who voted are gonna be wrong. It really is a coin-flip with two equally deserving winners, which is preferable to last season’s inevitable and anticlimactic win for Bindi Irwin.

LIVE…from Hollywood…this is the finale of Dancing with the Stars!

Opening: The show starts on the roof with the Final 3 and the big opening number includes all of the couples from the season, even Geraldo! Even choreographer Mandy Moore gets a bow.

Kim Fields and Sasha Farber: They dance to some British girl group called Fleur East. She’s fun and I hope we don’t go another four seasons without Sasha as a pro.

Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas: We get an encore of their steel cage Paso Doble from week 3, aka one of my 22 favorite routines of the season. It’s still so damn cool, as a Contemporary routine.

Kenny Mayne and the NFL Players: Kenny “interviews” the trio of NFL players and it’s not very funny, but Kenny’s dry delivery definitely is.

Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd: They redo their week 1 Cha-Cha-Cha, another one of my favorites. Damn, he’s sexy and so good.

Bloopers: The best part of every finale might be the rehearsal bloopers. Erin Andrews throwing shade at Keo for always being the first one to go home makes me almost like her. Why isn’t she always that snarky?

Fifth Harmony: They perform a new song. Snack time!

Female Pros: They start doing household chores like vacuuming and ironing before stripping down and sexing it up.

Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovskiy: They redo their Argentine Tango that so did not deserve a perfect score the first time around. But I actually think she’s improved a bit with the passion and intensity.

Antonio Brown and Sharna Burgess: They reprise their overscored Aladdin dance. With four Top 5 finishes in the last five seasons, Sharna is definitely the pro that male stars should most want to have as a partner.

Maks and Val: They preview their live dance tour coming this summer. Being a Chmerkovskiy brother looks like a lot of fun. I wouldn’t be mad if Maks ever decided to come back as a pro. Ha, Erin actually asks Maks if he’s rooting for his brother or his fiancee (Peta). He doesn’t answer, but he does brag about how amazing their family is.

Jodie Sweetin and Keo Motsepe: They reprise their church Jive from her final week. If that Jodie showed up earlier, she could be in the finale. If they ever do another All-Stars, she should definitely be on it.

Von Miller’s Game Show: He hosts a game show where he asks Witney Carson and Lindsay Arnold basic trivia questions. It’s absolute genius because they’re both so delightfully dumb. Lindsay thinks the vice president is John Boner and a jockstrap is called a g-string. I could watch this all day.

Dan and Shay: This country duo performs while Witney and Artem perform a wedding dance. Snore.

Wanya Morris and Lindsay Arnold: They do an encore of their superb Charleston, aka his last dance. If he was in the finale instead of Ginger, this would be a three-way race. He might even be the favorite to win.

Male Pros: Damn, the men far outnumber the women on this show thanks to the troupe. There are so many of them in suits and they wait way too long to rip them open.

Pitbull: Mr. Worldwide, Mr. 305 performs and I realize we’re still more than 50 minutes away from revealing a winner. Erin asks him to come back next season as a guest judge and he gives a non-answer.

Summer Dance: The season’s cast unites for a big summer-themed dance. Geraldo is the lifeguard and his jacket is unzipped. More importantly, the dancing crab is back! THE DANCING CRAB IS BACK!!! Sasha is the best.

24-Hour Fusion Challenge

It’s finally time to finish the leaderboard with the last round of competition.

Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovskiy: Argentine Tango/Foxtrot

It’s fine, but she loses it partway through and just stops, but then gets back into it. I’ve never understood the point of this part of the season. Len Goodman praises her growth after giving her 7s for the first three weeks. For the whole season, her average score is actually lower than Wanya’s.

Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9=27

Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd: Cha-Cha-Cha/Tango

She tears up talking about him. Seriously, how is he THIS good in just 24 hours? It’s amazing and the judges love it. Carrie Ann Inaba thanks him for sharing his beautiful heart in sign language.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas: Jive/Salsa

She was scared of lifts at the start, now she’s begging for it. Oh, and today is Mark’s 30th birthday. It’s an OK dance, but definitely not refined or polished, but what do you expect in 24 hours? Len declares her the one to beat if it was based solely on dance.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30


I’d be fine with this leaderboard reflecting the results. For the entire season, Paige has the best average scores with Nyle in second and Ginger in fourth (behind Wanya).

148: Paige VanZant
144: Nyle DiMarco
141: Ginger Zee

Aloe Blacc: He performs the farewell song of the season as the show reflects on the Final 3’s journeys.


With two weeks of voting and five rounds of dancing combined, it’s time to reveal who finished in third place.

The couple in THIRD PLACE is…Ginger and Val!

No real surprise, given that final leaderboard. It’s better than I expected from her when it all began. And it’s the third time Val has finished in third place, something that only Mark Ballas and Cheryl Burke have done before.


It’s down to Paige and Nyle, the two highest-scoring stars and the two best. It’s anyone’s game as the leaderboard only translates to a difference of less than 1 percent.


Wow. Not what I predicted, but I’m incredibly happy for them. Nyle was definitely an inspiration and an amazing story. He was also a great dancer and Peta’s connection with him was touching and beautiful.

Surprisingly, he’s actually the second-youngest male star to ever win, with only 25-year-old Apolo Anton Ohno being younger. And it’s nice to know male stars can win too since six of the last eight winners were female stars with male pros. This is now the ninth time in 22 seasons that the couple with the best average scores did NOT win.

And special kudos to Peta for now having more Mirror Balls than her fiancee Maks. Derek Hough is way ahead with six, but now Peta is tied with Mark Ballas, Cheryl Burke, Julianne Hough, and Kym Johnson with two wins.

Well, that’s it for now. See you again in the Fall (or if you’re a fan of Big Brother on CBS, you can follow my nonstop coverage all summer long starting in three weeks).

(Image courtesy of ABC)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.