How do you go about upstaging the ritual presentation of the mirrorball trophy during the Dancing With the Stars‘ season finale? Try having Carson Kressley carried onto the stage by a chest-baring Chmerkovskiy brother to the tune of Madonna’s “Vogue,” then completing his performance with a self-booty-spank.
Then again, I’m not quite sure it was really possible to distract anyone from the announcement that’s been 10 weeks in the making. Here’s how it all played out:
The first major act of the night involved the final three couples — JR/Karina, Rob/Cheryl, and Ricki/Derek — reliving a “greatest hit” from earlier in the season. Rick and Derek wisely chose their thrilling “Psycho” tango, which had all of the prickly tension, inherent danger, and gasp-worthiness the second time around. J.R. and Karina, who were waaaaay underscored for their initial attempt at a “Jump Jive and Wail”/Newsies! Jive (in Week 2) decided to try it again, removing the Carrie Ann-offending lift (complete with a nifty, finger-wagging fakeout) and scaling back the emphasis on Lindy Hop that had Len reaching for the “7” paddle. The encore was so lively and quick
I knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick I couldn’t imagine why Len had just moments prior praised lumbering Rob for having perhaps the best footwork of any guy who’s been on DWTS. On that note, Rob and Cheryl’s “Fly Me to the Moon” Foxtrot was decent enough, but there’s still a paint-by-numbers quality to the young Kardashian’s approach that keeps him from fully conquering the art of dance. And with that, the leaderboard was updated (with the judges offering up a 30-28-26 total for first- through third-place):
Judges’ Leaderboard (Total for Monday Night + Scores for Tuesday Night’s Encore Dance)
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough: 54 + 30 = 84
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke: 57 + 26 = 83
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff: 54 + 28 = 82
Eliminated Before the Instant Dance Round and Finishing in Third Place
Ricki and Derek
“I’ve loved basically every minute of this,” said Ricki, adding that as a middle-aged mom, she hoped she’d made her kids proud. Derek, for his part, added that his celeb partner had “knocked it out of the ballpark the entire season. And with that, the couple took to the floor once more, where Derek lowered Ricki to the floor and twirled her in a fabulous, circular floor sweep. “Spin the star!” yelled Tom Bergeron. Yes, folks, that’s how you make an exit.
And then it was time for an “Instant Samba” round — to the tune of “Shake Your Bob-Bon” that had me wondering, “Will the judges use these scores to complete Rob’s boy-to-man journey and conveniently throw a consolation Ziploc baggie of glitter to J.R. and Karina to soothe their riled fan base?” Well, yes and no.
When it was all said and done, Carrie Ann, Len, and Bruno put tough critique aside and brought out the 10 paddles for both finalists, even though I didn’t see a single samba roll in Rob and Cheryl’s performance compared to a lengthy and difficult sequence of that signature move for J.R. and Karina. What’s more, while there were a few moments where J.R.’s overall energy seemed to lag, he still managed to bring genuine sexual heat to the routine, whereas Rob and Cheryl delivered all the chemistry of awkward cousins at a family reuinion. (Anyone else notice Rob’s mechanical hand extensions were almost identical in the Foxtrot and the Samba?) So yeah, J.R. got robbed a little, but at least the judges didn’t completely sabotage him, right?
Here’s how the leaderboard looked going into the final moments of the telecast:
Judges’ Leaderboard (Total for First Three Finale Dances + Carrie Ann, Len, and Bruno Scores for Instant Samba)
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke: 83 + 10, 10, 10: 30 = 113
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff: 82 + 10, 10, 10: 30 = 112
And then it came time to announce which couple had the highest overall total of judges’ scores and viewer votes.
Winner of Dancing With the Stars Season 13 and the Coveted Mirrorball Trophy!
J.R. and Karina (¡¡¡YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!)
J.R. promptly thanked the DWTS nation for voting him onto victory, then turned his gratitude toward Karina. “You are amazing,” he said. “And I’m so grateful I was able to be a part of your first mirrorball trophy.” (If I’m being honest, as much as J.R. has been my favorite celeb this season, I’ve been equally rooting just as vigorously for his earnest pro partner, who truly leaves everything out on the floor every time she performs.)
Naturally, Karina didn’t get to share her own feelings on the win — this never would’ve happened to Derek! — but the smile and the misty eyes kinda said it all. After that, it was Brooke stiltedly getting a few words out of Rob and Cheryl. “I’ve won in my book,” said Rob, who honestly seemed stoked to not have finished third.
And thus we came to the end, but not without one more wonderful ism from our robot cohost. Take it away, Lady of Steel and Circuitry! “I’m Brooke Burke Charvet, and I’m eating confetti.” Yes, she actually said that, and I have to admit, it was pretty/intentionally funny.
What did you think, DWTS watchers: Did the right couple win? Were you okay with the overall order of the Top 3? And what was your favorite dance of the telecast? Hit the comments and share your feelings! And for all my reality recaps and interviews, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!