It all comes down to this. Rashad, Normani, and David all want to win Dancing with the Stars season 24, but only one will take home the Mirror Ball Trophy after a special two-and-a-half-hour finale. That’s right., 150 minutes of recaps, special performances, bloopers, the 24-hour fusion challenge, and results.
It’s been a weird season, from the positive attitude and truly awful dancing of Mr. T to Mak’s injury that let the world see how much Alan Bersten deserves to be a pro to a bunch of extremely talented women getting eliminated while likable/attractive men thrived.
LIVE…from Hollywood…this is the finale of Dancing with the Stars!
The show starts outside at a carnival with a look back at the journeys of the Final 3. David is all about family and became a second dad to Lindsay. Their journey is about their special relationship. For Rashad, he had a solid but unremarkable career in the NFL, but this has been his chance to be a true star. Their journey is about hard work, with 362 hours of rehearsal time, over 100 more than anyone else in the finale.
Normani’s goal was to become a completely different person through this experience. They talk about their powerful Contemporary routine that helped her become a confident woman. Val claims she’s one of the best female stars the show has ever seen.
The Pros: Heather Morris dances with the female professional dancers because she basically is one. Later the male pros dance and they’re basically doing their best boy band impression, filled with pelvic thrusts, bare chests, and Erin’s drool.
The Winners: Past winners like Emmitt, Donny, Bindi, and Alfonso discuss the Final 3. The most telling comment is about how Normani is in her element on this show. Of course, because she’s the only one who regularly performs, dances, and does choreography for her career.
After the first half-hour, a big group number gets us into the ballroom with all the stars, then a recap of last night. Naturally, Erika Jayne is sitting on a giant unicorn.
Bonner and Sharna: They’re back for a sexy cowboy routine, which explains why he made it so far.
Nancy and Artem: They reprise their Vegas Night Samba, aka the bon-bon shaking routine that I put on my list of the season’s best dances. I feel like, five years ago, she absolutely would’ve won the Mirror Ball.
Nick’s Man Crush: We get a whole segment dedicated to Nick Viall’s extreme man-crush on Maks. It’s pretty hilarious with lots of great editing, like Maks doing a wolf whistle over video of a shirtless Nick. Then they redo their Bachelor-inspired Rumba. Already I feel like this finale has a much higher ratio of hot shirtless guys than normal.
David and Lindsay: They reprise their Magic Mike dance. Seriously, why does this show even waste a budget on shirts for men?
Bloopers: The two best moments include Charo saying that she’s still an ear virgin and Gleb asking Erika “Can plastic surgeons do something to make you dance better?” SNAP!
Charo and Keo: Instead of dancing, she plays the flamenco guitar while Keo dances with Witney. Smart move, because playing the guitar is something she’s great at.
Rashad and Emma: They reprise their first dance, which is pure 24-karat magic.
Heather and Maks: They reprise their perfect-scoring Rumba, aka my second-favorite dance of the season. I’m still mad she left so early.
Normani and Val: They reprise their construction-themed Salsa. At least it’s allegedly a Salsa and not a Hip-Hop routine. And Bruno Tonioli is a part of the dance, taking off his shirt. One of the best things about this finale is that I won’t have to watch Normani do any more high kicks. I get it, she can high kick, but does she have to do it in every single routine?
Simone and Sasha: They redo their Moana dance, another one of my favorites. I truly can’t wait for Sasha to make it to a finale so we can see him do a Freestyle.
Mr. T: The show recreates an ’80s PSA about being nice. Then he raps about how fun it is to dance, even if you don’t win. It is extraordinary and something you need to watch.
Dirty Dancing: We get a preview of ABC’s new adaptation of this film, starring Nicole Scherzinger, airing Wednesday, May 24 at 8/7.
24-Hour Fusion Challenge
After more than 100 minutes of fun and filler, it’s time to finish up the actual competition with this annoyingly pointless challenge.
David Ross and Lindsay Arnold’s Foxtrot/Salsa:
He does a decent enough job, but the Salsa part isn’t very good. The judges feel happy watching him and his pure heart.
Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9+9=36
Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy’s Argentine Tango/Foxtrot:
It’s a very strong finish for these two, and yes, there’s a high kick. The Argentine Tango is a perfect routine for these two. Carrie Ann Inaba says she was born to win.
Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10+10=40
Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater’s Cha-Cha-Cha/Tango:
It’s a fun fusion with swagger and clearly recognizable aspects of both styles. Carrie Ann says he has earned the win. Len Goodman has the audacity to claim that this isn’t a 10-fest. No, that was last night for the Freestyles. Also, Rashad is joining the tour this summer.
Judges’ Scores: 10+9+10+10=39
THE FINAL LEADERBOARD
196: Rashad Jennings
194: Normani Kordei
179: David Ross
THE FINAL RESULTS
Now that all of the points and votes are in, it’s time to see who comes in third. Based on my math, David is about 2.5 percent behind Normani, who is about half a percent behind Rashad.
The couple in THIRD PLACE is…Normani and Val!
WOW! They had the most perfect scores and had the best scores for the entire season, but still came up short. In the history of the show, Stacy Keibler and Ricki Lake are the only other stars with the best scores who failed to make it into the Top 2. And only two stars with the most perfect scores failed to reach the Top 2: Stacy Keibler and William Levy. And sorry to Val, for getting his fourth third-place finish, more than any other pro.
In a season with the most talented female stars ever, it comes down to two men.
THE WINNERS of Dancing with the Stars Season 24 are…Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater!
Whew. They were great all season and I’m so happy for him. His story of never winning anything was a good one. It’s definitely a feel-good story and I’m thrilled that Emma has a Mirror Ball. Now her future husband Sasha needs one to match.
And good to David for somehow getting second (and giving Lindsay her best finish ever). Despite the fact that Normani, Rashad, Simone, Heather, and Nancy all had better scores, making it to second is a massive, historic, unparalleled accomplishment.
Dancing with the Stars returns in the Fall for season 25.
(Image courtesy of ABC)