“Dancing with the Stars”- Finale Review

Story posted November 28, 2022 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Kaitlyn Murphy

After one of the most highly-competitive and entertaining seasons in history, the mirrorball trophy was finally claimed in the “Dancing with the Stars” finale last week.

The four couples battling it out all brought a unique flair to the dance competition show, and the judges dished out high praise to each of them throughout the night.

The mirrorball was honestly up for anyone’s taking, with TikTok star Charli D’Amelio being the obvious choice skill-wise, but Bachelorette star Gabby Windey riding right on her heels with the most impressive improvement across the ten weeks.

Drag queen Shangela breathed new life into “DWTS,” championing for acceptance and equality both in the ballroom and the world. Actor Wayne Brady proved what you can accomplish with hard work and dedication, as he showed up week after week while filming 3 shows at the same time.

It was hard to pick a favorite going into finale night, but it was clear all four were extremely deserving of the prize.

The two-hour finale not only showcased the finalists, but every competitor on Season 31 with small group dances in the order they were eliminated. It was fun to see the faces audiences haven’t seen in a while, including model and bodybuilder Joseph Baena and singer Jordin Sparks.

The finalists were faced with their most demanding week yet, with both the redemption dance (with assistance from one of the four judges) and a freestyle routine.

The judges were highly critical of every performance in an attempt to make sure the best dancer took home the mirrorball at the end of the night.

During the episode, an emotional goodbye package was shown for head judge Len Goodman, as he previously announced Season 31 would be his last on “DWTS.”

Many stars he judged in the past filmed messages of support and encouragement for his retirement, and his fellow judges also said tearful goodbyes.

Pro-dancer Cheryl Burke announced her departure from the show as well, and performed a final routine in the ballroom she spent years of her life dancing in.

After the redemption dance first round, Charli and Gabby were tied for first place with perfect 40/40, and Shangla and Wayne tied for second with 36/40.

It was clear the audience’s voting would have a large impact on deciding the winner with a competition this close.

The freestyle performances put on by the final four were certainly the highlight of the night.

Wayne and Witney went first with a Super Bowl-esque routine to Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic” that practically burned the ballroom down.

Charli and Mark chose a simpler, but effective approach to an instrumental piece reminiscent of the epilogue scene of “La La Land,” which received another perfect score from the judges.

Gabby and Val danced a sensual routine to “Cell Block Tango” from the musical “Chicago” that left the audience gasping for air, and made Tyra remark about how viewers were going to try and get themselves arrested just so they could see Gabby in the jailhouse.

Shangela and Gleb (or for this performance, “Natalie”) put on a dance and drag show mash-up extravaganza, where Gleb dressed up in full drag. It was a touching display of true allyship that the judges and ballroom adored.

And with that, it was time to crown the winner.

*Spoilers for the ending of the episode*

The placements were announced in ascending order, with Shangela and Gleb announced first as fourth place finishers.

Wayne and Witney received third place, leaving Gabby and Charli to fight it out for first.

After a season of showing perfect performances one after another, Charli D’Amelio and Mark Ballas were named the winners of “Dancing with the Stars” Season 31.

They were well-deserving of the honor since they were clearly the best on the show, but it was slightly predictable since Charli did have years of dance training under her belt (even if it wasn’t ballroom, she was still a dancer.)

Even so, the “DWTS” finale was a triumphant closing for a fantastic season of competition. Until next year!

Rating: 5/5

Kaitlyn Murphy is a first-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email kvm6255@psu.edu.