Dancing With the Stars Season 17 Finale Recap: And the Winner Is...

CHERYL BURKE, JACK OSBOURNE, KARINA SMIRNOFF, CORBIN BLEU, AMBER RILEY, DEREK HOUGH, EMMA SLATER, BILL ENGVALLAfter all the sensational sambas, terrific tangos, relentless injuries and shocking eliminations, we’ve finally reached the end of Season 17 of Dancing With The Stars.

With the Mirrorball Trophy tantalizingly close to their grips, Amber Riley and Corbin Blue entered the finale as co-favorites, with the inspiring, surprising Jack Osbourne taking the dark horse role. And fittingly, the ballroom crackled with an “anything can happen” atmosphere.

With just one remaining dance each (a challenging “fusion” round) for our trio of celebs, Tuesday night’s two-hour show was packed with more filler than Joan Rivers’ face (oh hush, I love Joan, too!), which included performances by Enrique Iglesias; Norwegian duo Ylvis (featuring a welcome reprise of the season-highlight team dance – including, ahem, all three of tonight’s finalists — to their infectious hit “What Does the Fox Say?”); requisite highlight clips from the last few months; and the happy ballroom return of all the celebs (Valerie Harper looking so resplendent was a total joy).

Preliminaries aside, let’s high-kick right to the highlights:

DANCE OF THE NIGHT: Amber Riley & Derek Hough: Performing the very last dance of the night and the season, the erstwhile Glee star seemed to hold her Mirrorball destiny in her hands. And boy did girlfriend deliver! Hey joyful, high-energy Samba-Quickstep fusion universally wowed the judges. Carrie Ann Inaba noted Amber’s skill in “seamlessly and effortlessly going back and forth” between the two styles, while Len (who affectionately called Amber “my little sausage” – oops!) gushed, “You are absolutely bedazzling and that dazzle lights up this ballroom.” On the technical side, Bruno Tonioli also found the performance faultless, noting “I counted every beat, you did not put a foot wrong.” Was anyone surprised with the trio of perfect paddles? Advantage, Amber!

But now for the moment of truth, tonight’s results. And the Mirrorball trophy goes to:

3rd PLACE
Jack Osbourne & Cheryl Burke

FINAL TWO COUPLES IN CONTENTION FOR THE MIRRORBALL
Amber Riley & Derek Hough
Corbin Bleu & Karina Smirnoff

SEASON 17 MIRRORBALL CHAMPIONS
Amber Riley & Derek Hough

“I did this competition because I didn’t know if I could do it, and anything that scares me I want to do,” said an ecstatic Riley, who saved her best for the very last. “I want to let women of all sizes out there know, you can do whatever you put your mind to. It doesn’t matter what size you are, what color you are, you can do whatever, whatever, whatever, whatever you put your mind to!”

Now it’s your turn. Did the right couple win the Mirrorball trophy? What was your favorite moment from Season 17? What changes would you like to see for Season 18 of DWTS? Sound off in the comments!