The Dancing with the Stars finale aired on May 23 on ABC. The final three contestants danced on the Tuesday night finale of Season 24 to find out who would ultimately take home the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy. The final three pairs were David Ross and Lindsay Arnold, Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy, and Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater. The competition was undoubtedly very tight — but there could only be one winner.
The winner of Season 24 of Dancing with the Stars after combining the judges’ scores and viewer votes (via phone and online polling) is Rashad Jennings. He and Emma Slater were overjoyed to hear their names called at the end of the two-and-a-half-hour finale. Slater joined the show as a troupe dancer in 2014 and became one of the female professional dancers three seasons later. She has never won a Mirror Ball Trophy prior to this season.
On Monday night, Ross and Arnold got things moving with a Viennese waltz, the first “redemption dance” of the evening. The two danced to “Let’s Hurt Tonight” by One Republic, and tried to improve on their original Viennese waltz scores from earlier in the season. The former Chicago Cubs star backstop received positive feedback from all three judges, though head judge Len Goodman said that he did not see too much of an improvement. Team Lady and the Gramp scored a 33 out of 40.
Kordei and Chmerkovskiy were up next for their quickstep to “Check It Out” by Oh the Larceny. The two appeared to nail the dance, but Kordei’s sexy catsuit was blamed for “lower” scores from Goodman and Julianne Hough. Both judges wanted to see more body contact and told Kordei that her not wearing a skirt made the lack of intimate contact obvious. Even still, she and Chmerkovskiy were able to earn two 10s, one from Carrie Ann Inaba and the other from Bruno Tonioli, giving them a total of 38 out of 40 on their redemption dance.
Next, Jennings and Slater took to the floor for a Viennese waltz that wowed just about everyone in the ballroom — including the four judges. The two danced to “Dark Times” by The Weeknd featuring Ed Sheeran and earned the first perfect score of the night.
Ross and Arnold were back up for their freestyle which was a dance for the fans. Ross made it abundantly clear that he wanted to do something really entertaining to give his fans what they want on the night before the show’s finale. He and his partner danced to a baseball-themed freestyle to “It Takes Two” by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” by Ronnie Neuman. The judges awarded Ross with his first perfect score of the season, 40/40.
Back to Kordei and Chmerkovskiy, who chose to slow things down in an emotional homage to Kordei’s journey on the show. The two earned a perfect score for their freestyle to “What the World Needs Now Is Love” by Andra Day. The judges really appreciated the dance overall and gave Kordei wonderful feedback. She was very happy with the dance — and it was clear to see that Val was very proud of her.
Last, but certainly not least, Jennings brought some serious A-game to the dance floor with his freestyle to “Let’s Go” by Drumline and “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson, featuring Bruno Mars. The highly entertaining routine was quite possibly the best of the night. Jennings and Slater earned 10s from all four judges — which was no surprise!
Were you surprised by who won Dancing with the Stars? Who did you want to win?
[Featured Image by Eric McCandless/ABC]