Dancing with the Stars Finale Recap: Part 2

Dancing with the Stars finale recap: Part 2:

I am about to discuss the winner of Dancing with the Stars, so if you haven’t watched yet, or you’ve been dodging social media for the past twelve hours, you probably want to skip this post. This is your fair warning!

After 150-hours of blatant advertising for the Dancing with the Stars tour, coming to a venue near you, and fun walks down Memory Lane showcasing most of this season’s former contestants, we get down to business. The fusion dance is judged, the votes are counted, and season 24’s champion is revealed.

That champion is Rashad and his partner Emma.

For the second time in this season’s history, the ballroom erupted into a fit of boo’s as its audience members verbally displayed their disagreement with Normani’s third place announcement. That’s right — third place. No one was more surprised than Val.

Well, maybe David was more surprised. At this point, I think the catcher genuinely feels horrible that his lack of dance ability has at least landed him second-pace on the leaderboard. I detected a bit of relief when Rashad and Emma’s names were called over his and Lindsay’s.

Does this lineup surprise anyone? Yes and no. It’s a crap shoot, really. I think America could buy any of those three holding a mirrorball trophy at the end of the day. It just depends on where you come down on the voting spectrum.

As Tom made us sit in silence as the three finalists held their breath, waiting to hear who would be disappointed first as a third-place “winner,” I told my viewing buddies Stephanie and Lara that I thought Tom was going to call Normani’s name. And he did.

Did I guess correctly? Sure. I could have said any name in that moment. But I chose Normani for a reason. As I’ve mentioned before, these three finalists hit certain parts of the voting spectrum that the others do not. Let me break it down as I see it in my head:

Normani: Clearly the best dancer. She was hard-working for sure, but came across as quiet in most of her interview packages. I think she didn’t want to appear “surprised” by the judges’ compliments, because home girl knows she can dance. I believe she wanted the moves to speak for themselves — WHICH THEY DID. Val clearly thought she was the be all, end all.

David: He’s NOT the best dancer, and he reminded the audience that he had zero hallucinations that he could ever be the best dancer compared to Normani and Rashad. Everyone also talks about how old he is, which he accepts joyfully. David works hard, but he plays hard, too. He’s having the time of his life. PS: Cubs Nation is mighty and they support each other through thick and thin.

Rashad: Rashad is a good dancer. It’s evident by everything we learned about him that he is the definition of determination. He’s not cocky at all, but he says something that the others never say: “I want to win.” Additionally, he and Emma have a unique bond that radiates from the screen.

So there I was, mentally combing through all of that information. In my calculations (again, total luck) Normani winning because she was the best dancer was not enough. If you are going to dominate the Dancing with the Stars finale, you have to have added value. The judges said it all season: This show isn’t just about dancing. It’s also about entertaining and fan favorites.

Can Normani dance? Yes, she can. Does she entertain? Absolutely. Is she a fan favorite? For those who are voting based on how much they like a performance, of course. There’s no doubt. She has the Fifth Harmony fans and hard-core dance voters behind her. She deserved to win.

But are people judging based on how much they like a stellar dance performance? If we look at the dance background of those kicked off before these three finalists, my guess would be, “Not all the time.” Otherwise, Heather and Simone would be in the finals with Normani and Rashad.

Can David dance? Not as well as the others. Does he entertain? Absolutely. Is he a fan favorite? The judges practically gave him a crown for being the fan favorite. For those at home who are voting based on how much they like a contestant’s personality and drive to to the best they can in a situation that is unfamiliar to them, David is the winner. He also pads his column with Cubs Nation voters and the people who want “the old guy” to win.

I think Rashad is a mixture of both worlds. He’s a great example of what the show is typically supposed to be about. He’s not in his element, but he pulled off some pretty awesome dances during the season. Rashad endeared a ton of voters to him, thanks to his positive attitude, work mentality, and that incredible dance dedicated to his father.

Can Rashad dance? He can. Does he entertain? He does. Is he a fan favorite? For those voting on what this show is technically supposed to be about, then yes. What pushed him over the edge?

In my opinion, I think the deciding factor was Emma. She also uttered those four magic words, “I want to win.” Moreover, Emma has never won a mirrorball trophy before. In fact, she’s never been in the finals.

Some of you are saying to yourself right now, “Yeah, but Lindsay hasn’t won a trophy either. Why doesn’t that count in Emma’s algorithm and not hers?”

First, it’s cute that you think I have an algorithm for this process.

Second, Lindsay has been in the finals three of the last four seasons. Even if she technically hasn’t won the trophy, she’s been close enough, long enough, for people to perhaps assume she has won. We see Lindsay out front, all the time during Dancing with the Stars.

Speaking of wins, I honestly think some people didn’t choose Normani because Val would have back-to-back wins. He’s also been in the finals seven times. Voters may have wanted someone else to get a shot! Even though Val is my favorite male pro, the Chmerkovskiy brothers rub some people the wrong way. They have a tendency to place them into the arrogant category. Did that work against Normani? I can’t help but think that it might have.

FINALLY, after Rashad and Emma’s fusion dance, well before the end, Erin announced that he was going on the DWTS tour. Lara perked up and said, “Don’t the winners typically go on the tour?”

Why yes. Yes, they do.

For those of you who didn’t want to put in the time, I’ve made a list of the moments that stood out to me during the Dancing with the Stars finale. We’ll kick things off with Erin’s dress. WHAT IN THE WORLD?

  • Erin’s dress is horrific. It looks like something a Playboy model would wear to her wedding. Even if she had a beige slip under there, the garment projected the assumption that Erin wasn’t wearing panties on national television. No m’am.
  • Rashad put in 362 rehearsal hours in the ballroom. That’s 100 more than the next person behind him. Amazing.
  • The producers give Heather Morris not one, but two dances that showcase her incredible talent. I thought this was nice of them. There is a rain dance with all the pros (see below) and the awesome rumba she performed with Maks the week she was kicked off. In this instance, they perform with TLC (RIP Left-Eye) and I am mesmerized by both the dance and Chile’s phenomenal six-pack and unwillingness to age.

  • Hailee Steinfeld has an album? And she wears black lace and military uniforms? And she’s a big enough deal to sing twice? She must be related to someone. I also think that Alan totally got her number backstage.
  • There are two routines where the pros/JV boys danced shirtless. One is performed around Erin as she stands in a circle. Her dress may suck, but her job does not.
  • Remember how there was a carnival at the end of Grease? The exact same set is used on the Dancing with the Stars finale in the outdoor scenes, complete with Ferris wheel. It was weird. No one tells Tom they aren’t pregnant, so that’s good.
  • Simone and Sasha tumble during their “we’re back!” dance.
  • Sharna wears denim panties during her “we’re back!” dance with Bonner. To quote Stephanie, “Her belt buckle is bigger than her shorts.”
  • Nick has a man crush on Maks. They act like we didn’t already know this. Also, Vanessa is strangely missing from the finale. Could there be trouble in paradise? At the end of Nick’s dance with Peta (the one where Vanessa came onto the stage before), the audience throws a bunch of roses onto the stage. Erin asks Nick, “Are you sick of these rose jokes? Can you answer that?” Nick said “Yes” and “he doesn’t care.” We should hear a break-up announcement any day now…
  • The Magic Mike dance is revisited. No one needs to see it again, but there it was.
  • Charo is a virgin in her ear. Noted. She also plays a mean guitar (seriously) while Artem and Witney dance around. I had no idea she was that talented! I just thought she was an animated character actor on the Love Boat!
  • Bruno gets shirtless. His skin looks like a withered tangerine. Kudos to him for owning the moment.
  • Mr T. wears a mirrorball necklace. It was as amazing as you are envisioning now.
  • The kids from Dirty Dancing lip sync their way onto the dance floor to promote the TV performance. It’s going to be a HOT MESS, but don’t worry. I’ll cover all of the details for you tonight!
  • David and Lindsay fusion dance a foxtrot with a salsa. He wears purple suspenders and she is in a fabulous purple fringe number. The judges praise him for being a crowd pleaser. (That’s code for RATINGS.)
  • Normani and Val dance an Argentine tango with a foxtrot. It is flawless, of course.
  • Emma and Rashad dance a cha/cha tango fusion. He dons a red bedazzled blazer and does a wonderful job.
  • OneRepublic sings a song while a graduation video plays of the three finalists’ journey to find a mirrorball trophy.
  • Normani is the third-place winner and Val stops himself from punching something.
  • Rashad is the winner. Emma cries uncontrollably. Tom and Erin rush them off to a blindged out golf cart. Erin drives them three feet to the outdoor carnival as Tom interviews them in the back seat. They walk through the line of contestants and pros, like they are leaving for their honeymoon, and Sasha can barely contain himself because he’s so happy for Emma.
  • The show is abruptly cuts off and we sit through an agonizing commercial for Dirty Dancing. I can hardly wait!
Photo By: ABC.com

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Helen
Helen

Oh my oh my!!! Very hAppy with the result!! I believe Rashad deserved it most, though he was not the best dancer.

Agree Lincee, expecting break up announcement re Nick and Vanessa any day now. Was looking for her in audience Monday and Tuesday, nada!! That was a big heads up too when Chris Soules was on DWTS. After the requisite “most memorable year” week with Chris declaring his undying love
for Whitney, she was never shown cheering him on again. Once Nick was eliminated, you didnt see hide nor hair of Vanessa.

why is Erin’s dress so horrible EVERY FINALE???

Knox12
Knox12

Can we just label Sasha & Emma #CoupleGoals? His support for her is refreshing and beautiful. He has been one of my favorites on the show for awhile, but they are absolutely adorable. I don’t think anything would have changed even if him & Simone had been in the finales. He genuinely is so proud of everything she does. Everyone deserves a Sasha in their life!!!

Sharon
Sharon

Why didn’t Erica dance?

Shannon M
Shannon M

I didn’t even notice that until you pointed it out. LOL!!

Debbie
Debbie

I would have been equally happy with David or Rashad winning. The whole premise of DWTS was that you can take someone with no dance background, hook them up with a professional and get a dancer. That’s what these 2 epitomized. Normani clearly has polished performance if not dance in her background, so it is somewhat of an unfair advantage. Val had a lot to work with. Give him a 70 y/o woman next. Heck give him me. Let’s see if he can get rid of my 2 left feet. Anyway, I got sucked in this season. Happy that the two most likely made it to the end.

Kelli
Kelli

I’m okay with how it turned out. Clearly, Normani is a great dancer and I don’t think it mattered about the back to back wins–Julianne did it with Apolo Ohno and Hector whatshisname (the race care driver and I actually don’t think his name is Hector—maybe Helio?) I think Derek was also a back to back..

And I’m more than okay with David being second. He had THE best time and was a great rep of MLB.

Ross
Ross

Helio Castroneves

Kelli
Kelli

Oh and I’m glad that I wasn’t the only one who noticed Vanessa was missing. I thought I just might have missed it.

Sara P
Sara P

This was one of my favorite seasons because I really loved all three finalists. At the beginning of the show last night we were speculating about who was going to win and I said that it could be any one of them, for three completely different reasons. Lincee, I think your “algorithm” is exactly right – many of the most zealous voters are people who stick with the original premise of the show, which is to take someone who is very far out of their comfort zone and watch them turn into a great dancer. Maybe not the best dancer, but the one who has come the farthest and done the most with what they have. And as much as I loved to watch Normani dance, that was either David or Rashad, this season. And Rashad was the better dancer of the two and everyone loves Emma and so there you have it.

Mallory
Mallory

That rain dance gave me chills. I’m so happy for Rashad and Emma, and am a little afraid of what Val’s reaction was off-camera. Also, Keo and Witney danced to Charo, not Artem. And yeah, the end was just weird.

Alison
Alison

Normani endeared herself to a lot of people in this process, but at the end of the day, America doesn’t tend to pick someone with dance and performance background as the overall winner if there is another appealing choice, and Rashad and David both had huge fan appeal. Rashad’s talent, progress, dedication and attitude were everything fans love to vote for on this show, and then you add in what a great job Emma did, and how it was her first chance to have a partner that let her showcase her choreography and stick around long enough to really compete!! So, I was thrilled for them to win, and they wanted it really badly so it was fun to see them so excited. I think David would have been embarrassed to win, actually.

The Maks and Nick bit was surprisingly amusing, Maks was a good sport, tshirts and all! But yeah, clearly Vanessa’s contractual obligation to show up has expired and the breakup announcement will be coming any time now. Acting job complete!

Michele
Michele

I’m very pleased with the results, and pretty much agree with everyone else. Normani was a very accomplished dancer, but I never felt as much of a connection with her than the other two finalists. I agree that David would have been embarrassed to be named the winner, so I’m glad he didn’t win (but I’m delighted he went as far as he did because he was so entertaining and charming.) Another reason I’m glad he didn’t win is that I think there would have been some backlash against him (which he shouldn’t have to deal with). There would be haters who complained that he didn’t deserve it, or that the show was rigged–that kind of negative thinking. I think if he had won, it would be brought up over the years as kind of a crazy result. So I don’t want that to be a footnote about such a great guy. Rashad and Emma. I’m SO HAPPY for both of them. Emma is always so sweet to her partners, even when they are not the most promising contestant. She did a great job with Bill Engvall, even though he was not expected to do all that well. I’m so happy she got the win. And I believe that Rashad totally deserved to win. His dedication, level of effort, close relationship with Emma which enabled him to learn and improve his dancing all supports his win. He was a good dancer and a joy to watch. I couldn’t be happier with the results. (And happy not to see Vanessa with Nick, and hoping to never see Nick on TV again.)

zandi
zandi

I loved the old school Mr. T commercial!! I thought it was so cute (and nostalgic of the 80’s)!

Crystal
Crystal

That was my favorite part of the night!

DeeDee
DeeDee

Yeah, that Mr. T song was awesome! Haha Reminded me of some of his campy songs from the 80’s, like this gem, “Treat Your Mother Right.” Fun times. 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhZRqPPTNjE

Rosa
Rosa

According to IG Vanessa flew back to Canada on May 16. Hmmmm……

Shannon M
Shannon M

While I’m thrilled for Emma (she’s always been a favorite) and happy for Rashad, I’m disappointed. It’s not that I dislike Rashad nor have any reason to but I never ‘got’ him this season. And that’s okay. I don’t have to be gaga over the winner every season.

I do think that the announcement of the top two sent a message to the producers that the viewers want to see more stars like them. It was great to root for someone who had never danced before and had no rhythm whatsoever yet improved week to week. It’s easy, at least for me, to get behind someone like that each season. The biggest problem is wondering if people want an entire cast of that category of stars.

I had an interesting thought last night while watching Heather perform with the female pros. If I hadn’t know who she was(is), I would’ve thought she was a member of the troupe. No one should be that good and come on the show to compete.

Amber
Amber

I’m so shocked that you didn’t mention the (trademark pending) jump and straddle that Emma performed on Rashad when they found out they won!! Also, my bff and I think there’s a definite spark between Rashad and Emma… he spent 100 more hours rehearsing than the other contestants??? Was that because he’s dedicated OR was that because he and Emma couldn’t get enough of each other???!! All I’m saying is that if I were Sasha I would be a little nervous… ( ;