After 10 weeks, 11 eliminations, and too many sequins to count, the judges’ scores and viewer votes have been tallied, and we have a “
Season 18’s champs are … Meryl Davis and
And props to fellow finalists Amy Purdy and Derek Hough and Candace Cameron Bure and
Meryl continues to cap off a great year by adding a Mirrorball to her gold medal from the Sochi Winter Olympics.
And after 14 seasons and four trips to the Finals and coming up short, the very brawny, often bronzed, often bristly Maks finally has his coveted Mirrorball trophy. "There's a reason it didn't happen before," he said. "It was meant to happen with this one."
Even before the coveted Mirrorball trophy was awarded,
The winner was announced after the three finalists' danced their last routines, a 24-hour challenge dance fusion that was put together after Monday's program ended. Amy and Derek went first with their Argentine tango-cha cha, which Derek, of course, beautifully fused into a seamless blend of fancy and fringe and earned them a perfect 30 score. Candace looked the most relaxed she'd ever looked during her and Mark's 27-scoring quickstep-samba. Meryl and Maks continued their perfect run with a perfect 30 fox trot-cha cha for a perfect total of 90.
It's a bittersweet ending to a stellar season for many reasons -- not just because the idea of not seeing Dancemaster Len at the judges' table mucking about is like a Mirrorball without its sparkle. Season 18 also marks the last season for executive producer Conrad Green, who was arguably the mastermind that's made "DWTS" the glittery treat it is today. And to paraphrase what Maks said on Monday, 10 weeks is a long time, but I could go 100 more with him and Meryl. Here's hoping Meryl and Maks continue their special relationship long after this season, whether it be with children Oleg and Bruno and collectively nicknamed "Bear," or just as best friends forever.
Not that Amy and Derek weren't remarkable in their own right. It's unfortunate that "DWTS" ran out of time and the Paralympian bronze medalist and her five-time "DWTS" winning pro partner didn't have a chance to say their final words, but they capped off an amazing season by defying expectations and showing that anything was possible. "Your unbreakable spirit has been a lesson in life," Bruno said. "It's sad, but it's also amazing the amount of memories we made here," Amy said before their final dance.
Third place (finally) went to Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas, who couldn't have been more thrilled. "I feel like I already won," Candace said. "This is a huge accomplishment." "We've had our ups and downs but we've made it through," Mark said.
The crowning of the Season 18 champs came at the tail end of a celebratory two-hour extravaganza. All the past contestants were trotted out. (Diana Nyad and Sean Avery, we hardly knew ye. And because Sean considered pets like relationships and doesn't like talking about them, we know the former New York Ranger even less.)
The freestyle encore voted upon by Twitter users went to Monday night’s eliminated couple, James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd, by a landslide vote. James and Peta returned later in the program to perform a smooth criminal edition of their “Love Never Felt So Good” dance from
Iggy Azalea performed a prom-themed “Fancy” featuring Charli XCX, Val Chmerkovskiy and Artem Chigvintsev and a technical difficulty featuring her right ear. Season 17 champ
Returning to the “DWTS” stage was a grown-up
Drew Carey put on a tie with a bedazzled collar with Cheryl Burke and jived '50s doo-wop style with the guys. Erin Andrew's favorite, NeNe Leakes, put on her Glamazon outfit and fringe shoes and Afro-jazzed it out with the ladies. "That woman can move her real estate," Tom quipped.
Crowd favorite and adolescent swoon inducer Cody Simpson eschewed the ballroom dance at the start of his hit single "Surfboard," and then Witney Carson slinked by to whisk him off for a dance interlude before draping herself suggestively while he finished out his song.
Olympic ice dance champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White danced together! "We took away their ice and gave them some minor smoke inhalation," Tom observed. Why in the name of all things glittery and good did we only get a small slice of this marvel? I would much rather have seen the whole routine than, say, the "Livin' La Vida Loca" team dance.
Charlie came back with pro partner Sharna Burgess to reprise their slap-happy "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" routine. And the routine was a hoot and a half, even though Meryl's ice dancing partner laid waste to Sharna's umbrella, prompting Tom to call him the "cane killer."
But props to Charlie for holding on to his cane and performing like the champ that he is. And props to all for a season well done.