Welcome to the Dancing With the Stars Season 18 Finale! ABC served up two hours of red-hot filler en route to a satisfying conclusion. So reading this recap won’t take that long, we’re breaking it down and hitting the highlights!
Hands up if you remembered that Diana Nyad or Sean Avery were even on this season. LIARS! I mean, it’s hard to forget that Billy Dee Williams once limped around the ballroom this spring, but those other two people could have been anyone and no one would have questioned it. Diana and Billy Dee never got back on the dance floor after their intros but at least they stuck around. Sean clearly fulfilled his contractual obligation to commit his image to film but then high-tailed it outta there seconds later. No one missed him.
BEHIND THE SCENES TIDBITS & MONTAGES
After Brandy straight up sobbed at Meryl & Maks’ freestyle, Maks was an absolute mess backstage. Meryl says she was honored to have danced his last freestyle with him, which I guess means he’s officially done with the show?
At least two montages showed us how much pressure Maks puts on himself, how spiritual Candace is and how inspirational Amy is.
We always love the journey back to ten weeks earlier so we can recall when we were all so much younger.
The Erin snark montage and its talk of R-rated dress rehearsals sound like they’d be the most fun thing to attend ever.
Remember The Switch Up, when Julianne dissed Maks? And how Peta got to dress up as Elsa from Frozen for Disney Night? Ugh, and the term “stanky pimp face” from party anthem night?
Maks dissed Abby Lee Miller, and a nation rejoiced, but we were sad when Danica and Val were eliminated. Charlie somehow lost out to Candace, which means the power of Full House (and perhaps The Lord) is significant.
Mark reminds Candace of her 14 year old son and she reminds him of his grandma.
Maks wants to ravage Meryl (!) and then have “ice skating, big, Russian, mean babies” called Boris and Oleg, who will both be nicknamed “Bear”. And he’ll be proposing tomorrow, evidently…
“Fancy”, rapped by Australian female Iggy Azalea (and some other woman named Charli XCX), is so incongruent to the demographic makeup of this show, it’s ridiculous. Right after a break, we came back already in the midst of Amber Riley performing a song called “Colorblind” and looking lovely while Karina and Tony danced in front of her. Who’s directing this show? Lancelot Link?
Cody Simpson sang “Surfboard” and danced with Witney for a few bars. Otherwise, he was blessedly sidelined.
Ariana Grande, the tiniest girl with the biggest voice, sang “Problem” and somehow danced and walked in 5 inch heels. It was as impressive as the song was repetitive.
Amber Riley sang again and sort of danced in a number that was sponsored by Walgreens. Her pipes far exceeded her dancing this time out and the wardrobe people clearly hate her, putting her in what amounted to a gold sausage casing.
Christina Perri played the piano and sang her hit song “Human” while the three finalist had to stand on a platform while we watched their season’s worth of highlights play on a giant screen behind them. Maks looked ready to go get drunk or something by this point in the evening.
James and Peta won the freestyle encore twitter vote, which shows that the people who tweet and the people who vote are clearly not aligned. The Team Dance that wasn’t performed live on Latin Night by Team Loco saw the light of day, and you’ll recall that all three finalists plus Danica and Val were in this group. Meryl and Maks quite clearly kicked the crap out all the other couples. It wasn’t even close, really.
Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke danced a jive with an assist from Tony and some of the other troupe guys. It was cute and fun.
After the snafu with Amber’s first song, we came back from another break in the middle of Charlie and Meryl dancing. Was this only happening on my TV, or was everyone getting these weird goofs? Talking monkeys, I swear.
Of course, we got the full number from NeNe, which I could have gone my whole life without seeing. What’s up with dissing Tony, by the way, and dancing with all the lady pros?
Danica and Val reprised their Beauty and the Beast Quickstep and it was a delight.
Diana and Billy Dee danced along with Drew Carey and some person with a box on his head (not joking, and no idea which poor soul this was).
Charlie and Sharna reprised their Mary Poppins routine, which Tom confirmed that even Dick Van Dyke himself enjoyed. Charlie dropped the parasol this time instead of the cane, and apparently not on purpose!
James and Peta’s MJ tribute was as charming as last week, and the song itself is still hella catchy.
FUSION CHALLENGE AND RESULTS
According to the sometimes witty Erin Andrews, the 24 hour fusion challenge sounds like a deodorant. But would these last minute mash ups have any actual impact on the scores? Of course not, sillies!
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough (30; 89/90)–Argentine Tango and Cha Cha Fusion It’s predictably smooth and strong and the styles switch off effortlessly. Everyone gushes about Amy’s inspiration and uplift.
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas (27; 78/90)–Quickstep and Samba Fusion These styles are much weirder to combine and the transitions aren’t as seamless. Candace’s pancake hands on some of the moves are sort of glaring, but she troops on through. Everyone compliments Candace on making it through despite the ups and downs.
Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy (30; 90/90)–Foxtrot and Cha Cha Fusion They chose to split their routine down the middle, doing a foxtrot portion first and then whipping off Meryl’s long skirt to transition to cha cha. Maks seemed so nervous and serious that I was nervous for him. Len alluded to this possibly being his last season while both Carrie Ann and Bruno gushed about how faboo this couple is when they dance. Erin thanks Meryl on behalf of all Maks’ partners for doing him justice.
Third Place goes to Candace and Mark, and everyone thinks that’s about right. She feels like she already won. An extra victory? She made Mark seem somewhat less douchey this season.
Winner: I was actually nervous, like with a knot in my stomach, and I will admit that I clapped like a baby seal when Maks and Meryl’s names were announced. Maks: “It’s just plastic, but it means so much. There’s a reason it didn’t happen before, because it was meant to happen with this one.” Awwwww! Frankly, I’m surprised it took so many people to lift Meryl. Erin thanked everyone on behalf of Mel B., Kirstie Alley and herself, which was a funny way to end this wacky season. Congrats to the winners and the finalists and EJ and me for getting through another ten weeks of glitter and spray tan. See you in the fall!