Another season of Dancing With the Stars came to an end last night, and the finale did not disappoint. At the top of the show, Tom Bergeron told us that only three points separated the finale scores of the couple in third place (Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd) and the couple in first place (Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas) for Season 22 of Dancing With the Stars. It was fun to see the couples who were previously eliminated again, and the musical performances by Aloe Blacc, Fleur East, Fifth Harmony, Pitbull, and Dan + Shay were outstanding. But it paled in comparison to the always-emotional moment when the Dancing With the Stars champion was announced, and the Mirror Ball trophy was awarded.
Some of the most memorable Dancing With the Stars performances of the year were re-created. Paige and Mark reprised their Week 3 Paso Doble. Nyle and Peta Cha-cha’d to “Cake by the Ocean.” Ginger and Val treated viewers to a repeat performance of their Argentine Tango. It was all as good the second time as it was the first time.
So who won Season 22 of Dancing With the Stars? Many thought it would be Nyle DiMarco. I mean, how can you compete with a man who has proven himself to be a great dancer in spite of the fact that he can’t hear a thing? But many weeks, including this week, the Dancing With the Stars judges have given higher scores to Paige VanZant or Ginger Zee, or both, than they did to Nyle. They were all strong contenders for the Dancing With the Stars Mirror Ball. Ginger earned a 27 out of 30, Nyle a 30 out of 30 for yet another emotional performance, and Paige also a perfect 30.
Ten minutes before the end of the Dancing With the Stars finale, we learned that the couple in third place was Ginger and Val. It was down to Nyle and Peta or Paige and Mark. And of course, they went to a commercial break — a five-minute commercial break. In the end, Nyle and Peta won it all.
It would be difficult for anyone to argue that this Dancing With the Stars accolade wasn’t well deserved. Besides his deafness, Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd consistently gave us performances that included both outstanding dancing and emotional power. During the final broadcast of Season 22 of Dancing With the Stars, judge Len Goodman praised Peta for her outstanding choreography this season. Carrie Ann Innaba used sign language to thank Nyle for sharing his beautiful heart with us through dance, and Nyle, Peta, and viewers cried.
Nyle touched Dancing With the Stars viewers by sharing a bit of his soundless world with us. The music was turned off for a few seconds of his Paso Doble so we could see what it’s like to dance without music. In what the judges said will go down as a Dancing With the Stars classic and what Carrie Ann said was her favorite performance yet of all the performances since Season 1, Nyle and Peta did a contemporary freestyle dance to “The Sound of Silence” and moved everyone watching.
Nyle DiMarco taught Dancing With the Stars viewers that being deaf isn’t a handicap. He said multiple times that he never wanted to hear. He showed us that dance is more than music. It’s connection through visual and tactile communication and through emotion and movement. Paige VanZant and Ginger Zee both commented in the final show that the Dancing With the Stars experience was more than they expected, that it changed them for the better.
Dancing With the Stars Season 23 will begin in September on ABC.
[Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images]