Dancing With the Stars Recap: Did the Right Couple Win? Plus: Top 5 Moments and Season 19 Finale Pics!

After another wild and wacky season of tangos and tears, salsas and cheers – not to mention one of the most closely contested finales in Dancing With the Stars history – Season 19’s momentous, Mirrorball-crowning moment of truth is upon us.

Would the ballroom’s most consistently excellent performer, Alfonso Ribeiro, maintain his form long enough to hold off two fiercely formidable female challengers — Sadie Robertson and Janel Parrish? Would it all come down to Tuesday’s last dance, the mega-challenging 24-hour Fusion Challenge? (Um, it might’ve… had all three routines not garnered 10s across the board from the judges!)

The ballroom crackled with anticipation throughout the two-hour live show, which was predictably jam-packed with feel-good filler – you really did want to see old faves like Betsey Johnson, Randy Couture and Michael Waltrip do encore dances, right? – plus high-wattage musical performances by Meghan Trainor, Nick Jonas, Jennifer Hudson and Gorgon City.

Before we get to the really, really, really big announcement — and a bevy of fun photos at the bottom of this post — let’s talk about…

THE TOP 5 MOMENTS OF THE DWTS SEASON 19 FINALE (in no particular order)

DANCE OF THE NIGHT | In a night of insanely high-quality, downright perfect performances, is it possible to give out such an honor? Um, of course it is! Dancing a hyper-dramatic Fox trot/Paso fusion – to one of the greatest songs ever, Kiesza’s “Hideaway” – Janel and Val’s sizzling chemistry and ballroom synchronicity went “nuclear” according to Bruno Tonioli, while Len Goodman aptly noted “you combine the ‘how’ of the technique with the ‘wow’ of the performance.” The duo got no Mirrorball love, but it was also the dance of the finale. Why aren’t there ’11’ paddles for occasions like this?

PERFECT PADDLE MANIA! | Has there ever been a finale of across-the-board 10s? Sadie and Mark’s Samba/Quickstep fusion kicked off the domino of perfect paddles (this dance prompted Len to gush, “Yours is the Cinderella story … and you’re leaving a dancing princess”), and soon followed by Alfonso’s equally electrifying Cha Cha/Argentine Tango, which prompted Bruno to marvel, “you’re a legend man!” while Carrie Ann likened him to a “glitter ball” and Julianne called it “super tight and super clean.” Not a peep of criticism all night — and for once, it seemed utterly appropriate!

DIRTY ‘DANCING’ OUTTAKES | As co-host Erin Andrews pondered in the segment intro, this utterly real, hilarious and oh-so-naughty behind-the-scenes, dress-rehearsal footage should be a stand-alone special (pay-per-view style)! “My abs and ass will never look like that,” joked Andrews as she intro’d the DWTS female pros, while the sight of Tom Bergeron in jeans (and no tie!) musing, “One couple will be eliminated, and the rest of us will start drinking,” brought little jabs of joy to my heart. And the LOL-worthy glimpses of Tommy Chong, Betsey Johnson, and a panel of stand-in judges (who knew?) was wildly entertaining. More, more, more please!

IT’S A CAST REUNION! | All former snark about feeble-footed celebs aside, wasn’t it kinda great to see all 13 of the Season 19 celebs back on the ballroom one more time? And who didn’t want one last look at Betsey’s epic boa disaster?

BRUNO’S BIRTHDAY CAKE | OK, it was super brief and a total aside to the night’s bigger festivities (like the overkill of Season 19 repeat dances throughout the night), but seeing Bruno’s typically over-the-top personality suddenly transform into that of a charming, slightly embarrassed, but delighted little boy gave us another glimpse of off-script authenticity that really makes DWTS come to life. Happy birthday, mister!

And now for the real news: The Mirrorball goes to…

Janel Parrish and pro Val Chmerkovskiy

Sadie Robertson and pro Mark Ballas

Alfonso Ribeiro and pro Witney Carson

“I cannot believe this, I’ve wanted it forever!” said Alfonso, amidst wild cheers from the ballroom and his own tears.

“He deserves this so much,” added Witney, “he’s one of the most hardworking people I’ve ever met.”

And with that, it’s your turn. What did you think of the Season 19 finale? Did the right couple win? Are you already excited for the 10th Anniversary of DWTS coming next spring? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Cameron says:

    Sadie didn’t deserve 2nd. She was coddle every week. The same things that past contestants were criticized for she was applauded for. She messes up and gets 10s. Unreal.

  2. Lore says:

    I do not watch this show, but i follow the site, and it was bound to happen, the Carlton is unique

  3. Alfonso was the right winner. Happy for him and Witney. I would have preferred Janel in 2nd and Bethany in 3rd though.

    • Steven says:

      Are you surprised that a professional dancer won, esp promoted by Will Smith? I didn’t even watch this season and said he’d win. Swts has a couple pros every season that make the competition unfair so I don’t waste my time

      • Lena says:

        Bitter much? Alphonso is not a professional dancer. He doesn’t dance for a living. He joined this show out of shape and older and still pushed through injuries to win this competition. Sorry, your favorite didn’t win. Get over it.

        • annie says:

          I thought it was most improved…it was a joke. We watched a beautiful young girl become a woman comfortable in her own skin, so rare. And a seasoned well trained individual regain a second bit of fame. I love Carlton….wrong competition he’s no novice.

          • Lena says:

            He doesn’t have ballroom experience. He went in there and worked hard like everyone else. It was well deserved. I also thought Sadie did a fantastic job as well. I loved both of them this season.

        • shari says:

          He is a professional Dancer he taps and hip hop Jaz he might not know fox trot or some of those but he is musical with dance. That is one big part and knows how to move with music. So he does have a big step up on a lot of them. The closes one to win next to him should have won because she had no experience at all she was pure in that area. That would be real fair. Yes I’m a professional dance .

        • mrliza says:

          I like the winner but not happy about the second place winner who don’t deserve it…Janelle should have been second..

        • Gweezy says:

          I guess that depends on your definition of a professional dancer… He starred in the title role of the Broadway musical The Tap Dance Kid, and appeared as a dancer in a Pepsi commercial with Michael Jackson. Not to mention that he authored called “Alfonso’s Breakin’ & Poppin’ dance instruction book…. Yup, I call that a professional

        • beegee says:

          You’re absolutely correct, Alfonso is not a professional dancer! He was the best dancer, hands down. Janel and Bethany should’ve come in next, respectively.

        • Erika Shorter says:

          Alfonso is a dancer. he performed (and starred) in “The Tap Dance Kid” on Broadway in the early 80’s. He also danced alongside Michael Jackson in a Pepsi commercial. I can assure you that he’s had training!

      • delfiteblu says:

        Then you missed a lot by NOT watching, mostly the facts. I wouldn’t be so eager to criticize what I hadn’t seen.

      • Lisa says:

        Let me put it this way. I’ve seen some of the people with so called dancing background come on the show, and NOT win. So, the argument is irrelevant.

    • Lena says:

      Bitter much? Alphonso is not a professional dancer. He doesn’t dance for a living. He joined this show out of shape and older and still pushed through injuries to win this competition. Sorry, your favorite didn’t win. Get over it.

  4. Tran says:

    It’s time for the Carlton victory dance. Hope I can danced to that Tom Jones’ track It’s Not Unusual.

  5. Jobless says:

    Justice prevails! So happy that Janel and Val didn’t “showmance” their way to a win.

  6. MattArmando says:

    Would have preferred Janel & Val… Janel has to be one of the most dedicated, focused, fun stars to dance on the show. Her and Val, together, were phenomenal.
    However, still extremely happy for Alfonso… especially Witney. A man hasn’t won in many, many seasons!


    Janel and VAL were robbed! They had the.most 10 rated dances. Their Paso Doble is STUNNING! Ribeiro was a ringer pro dancer backed by idiot Dan Quayle. His injuries were fake.one week.pain. next week no pain. When Derek was cut over Sadie the FIX was in. Bimbo religious nut Sadie and ringer Ribeiro. Is DWTS filling racial quotas. Religious Sadie and African Ribeiro. VAL deserves to win season 20 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Lisa says:

      I’m sure you can read just about any intention into it if your favorite loses. Personally, I would have liked to see Janel and Val win also. I went into it rooting for Alphonso, and found myself liking Janel also. I think she was the one that showed the most growth. Additionally, as you know, the show is not just based on how many 10 rated dances they receive. It’s also voted on by viewers. So, you can’t always expect the result to be that the best dancer wins. That is by no means a blow to Alphonso. He did fantastic, and I’m just as happy that he won. I’m just saying, fan base plays in.

    • Coal. says:

      So what you are basically saying is that DWTS should only be for caucasian atheists ?

    • Jo says:

      Alfonso would not have won without his fan base Will begging fans on facebook. Sadie had the “quack pack” which really kept her in the running. Janel and Val did get robbed.

    • jack says:

      must really be hard for you to keep track of all that hate, no need to bash people. Janel and Val was great, i liked them and they should have 2nd place in my opinion, Sadie was good also, she had so much joy in her, it was a tight race. I am happy that Alfonso won, him and Whitney deserved it. PS: Alfonso was and is not a professional dancer

  8. Gary Lloyd says:

    Sadie and Mark should have won.Alphonso is a professional dancer.

    • meliza says:

      Then u must be delusional…Janel should’ve won if not Alfonso….even Bethany was better than dip -in-her-mouth-talking Sadie…

      • kay says:

        Thats crule. She doesn’t deserve a rude comments like that. She cant help the way she talks. It isnt “dip” at all smart one. No need to bash anyone.

  9. delfiteblu says:

    Janel and Val’s dancing was so beautiful; Alfonso’s was amazing but didn’t touch your heart the same way. I was torn, and I’m glad he won but I’m a little torn that Janel and Val didn’t.

  10. Ann Lynn says:

    So happy Alphonso won, he truly deserved it!

  11. jesstm says:

    I think the final four and final three were different and good in their own ways and gonna be a close call who would win but yeah i figured Alfonso probably would, but I voted for janel and val they were very good, and if anything they should of got 2nd place but anyways can’t wait for the spring (10 year anniversary DWTS)

  12. Gloria Gean Bennett says:

    Alfonso should not have won since he has been dancing as a professional and he is not an amateur. Think the amateurs were robbed on this season. Hope they do not let anyone else compete that has danced professionally before so that it is fair for everyone. Can’t believe that he was allowed to win this.

  13. katie says:

    It was so great to see Sadie in the finals without using sex appeal!!!!!

    Mad props to Alfonso for winning and the right couple was 3rd! Sex doesn’t always have to win!

  14. Janelle says:

    Congrats to Alfonso and Witney! Fantastic glitter ball champs. I loved Witney’s choreography all season. She brought out the best in Alfonso and he made her shine.

  15. RK Fare says:

    Sadie improved the most over the season, from not having any real dancing skills to come as far as she did. Was an obvious crowd pleaser and just fun to watch. Also proved that dances don’t need to be overtly sexual to be entertaining.

    • melixa says:

      This is a male female partnered dance….Sadie did a booty shake on the second episode and it definitely wasn’t sexy…so if u r against dance that requires sexiness then watch another show…

  16. Linda says:

    I loved watching Alfonso. BUT, didn’t he have prior professional dancing experience and an advantage? Who was the most improved? Sadie, she was amazing! Janel was awesome as well, most improved? No. Did the right person win?? I feel the public has too much say, it has become a popularity contest and not a dance contest. Let the judges do their jobs, let the public watch.

  17. Tiffany Young says:

    Alfonso made this Season the best ever! I hope a producer or director sees how talented he is and puts him on another TV series or film!

  18. Ange says:

    I don’t watch the show but really, how many people honestly thought Alfonso Ribeiro would not win?

  19. Karen says:

    Finally, DWTS got it right! Alfonso was an awesome dancer each week.

  20. lerine says:

    As they say you cannot stop a Trinidadian. I think his parents though him well. Good job Alfonso.

  21. Sadie did deserve to get 2nd place and was glad to see it………I wanted her to get second place and I knew Alfonso would win……………

  22. shari says:

    I just think Sadie should of won being the closes because she was pure no dance experience like Alfonso. So that’s my gripe.

    • Jbh says:

      I don’t know why people keep saying Sadie had no dance experience. She herself admitted in an interview when duck dynasty began that she took dance as a kid and she was also a cheerleader for her school. The truth is most people who end up on the show have had some type of experience. Just because Alfonso was in one broadway show doesn’t make him a pro. He hasn’t spent his life training as a dancer therefor he is not a pro.

  23. Chuck Coutts says:

    I don’t follow the show anymore, judges, the old ones, are biased. Get rid of them, they’ve been on too long, give somebody younger a chance. If you’re going to let the guys go on topless, so let the girls.

  24. Teri says:

    Thanks for the best season ever. So many emotions and hard work. You complete my Monday’s , and some Tuesday’s.
    One more thing, thanks for a good cry here and there. Love, love, love you all.
    Erin Andrews rocks

  25. b says:

    Results were sooooo disappointing. Val and Janel definitely got robbed. Everyone knows they should have won. Her dancing was absolutely amazing. It was more truly ballroom than anything any of the others did. When Bergeron kept name-dropping Will Smith’s name last night I think everyone knew what the outcome would be. So sad that the winner wasn’t about truly the best dancer/performer, but just a glorified popularity contest — as usual. I was stupid for letting myself get sucked into another season. Not again.

  26. kim says:

    Get rid of Erin. She is terrible. Bring leah back ir Julianne as a Co host not a judge. Alphonso made the show watchable.

    • Terri says:

      I agree in bringing Leah back as the co-host. But Erin is better than the last co-host (forgot her name). I wish Janell would’ve won or at best 2nd, but Alfonso did a great job as well.

  27. angelene says:

    Sounds like y’all just mad another couple wasn’t picked! Alfonso was only one consistent with good dancing!

  28. anamaria says:

    So happy he totally deserved it!!

  29. meliza says:

    Sadie and Mark don’t deserve as second place!!!! The Robertson’s probably threatened people if they didn’t vote for their girl who talks like she’s got dip in her mouth.

  30. Pat says:

    The votes truly did not reflect the best dancer. Janel is a much better dancer than Sadie and should never have come in third in my opinion.

  31. Skittles says:

    Who gives a $ hit?

  32. Callie says:

    Sadie should have went home a long time ago😒

  33. Rose says:

    So happy Alfonso won,he deserved it it!

  34. Why was Alfonso on Dancing with the Stars. When he know dancing, I thought you were not allowed to be able to dance. So he was a step ahead of everybody else. I think Sadie did a super job she kept it clean. Val and his partner did a lot of sexy dancing. Maybe be every once in awhile doesn’t need to be every week.

  35. cbass says:

    Congratulations Alfonso, you deserve it !

  36. I.R.E. says:

    Well done. Witney Carson can take a break and it is time for Lindsay Arnold to return to takeover!

  37. Pam trav says:

    Val and Janelle should have one. But it’s a popularity contest in the end.

  38. Rachel Solis says:

    Congratulations!!! Hoping you would be the next one, you work so hard!!!

  39. Arlene McGuire says:

    Would have liked a three way tie!!!!!

  40. Kim R says:

    What a great finale! All 3 couples were strong contenders & I don’t think I could say anyone was robbed no matter who won. Loved the outtakes! I could have watched more of those. :) Very happy for Alfonso. It was clear that it was something he had wanted for a long time. Can’t wait for the next season to see what these talented pros give us. Artists, all.

  41. Nick says:

    There should be some sort of law about researching comments before you post them. Alfonso is not a professional. He was trained BY the “Tap Dance Kid” people because of his acting ability, and had no previous dance experience. Being someone who naturally has rhythm and musical inclination does not make you a ringer in DWTS. He can move to music, you know who else in this season was naturally musical? Janel. She’s also been on Broadway. She sings, so she’s just as naturally inclined to dancing as Alfonso, if not more so. Tommy and Lea (more dance training, for longer in her life) were also musically inclined, but that doesn’t mean anything in this competition because it’s about execution.

    Janel should’ve won? Really? I can’t remember a single thing she did that wasn’t in Val’s arms. Her footwork was pretty good, and she moved pretty well, but she didn’t stand out. The only reason she had a chance is because WAY too many people watch Pretty Little Liars. BUT, more people watch Duck Dynasty. Sadie was great. I’m not sure she was entirely better than Janel, but she deserved runner up for sure. She was fun to watch. She stood out. And she isn’t her grandfather, so she’s said and done nothing to deserve the hatred spewed about her.

    Of course, Alfonso is the man. I was rooting for him from the beginning, and he didn’t disappoint. Was he the best from the beginning? Probably, but this competition was especially stiff. He shouldn’t be penalized because people loved the Fresh Prince, or because his career was jumpstarted by dance-related jobs about 30 years ago.So you didn’t like him or wanted someone else to win? I’m sorry, really. But Alfonso was NOT a professional dancer.

  42. kathie johnson says:

    I think Sadie should have won. With no dance experience she was awesome. I love her dimple.

  43. Luis says:

    Any other result would have been an injustice. Well done Alfonso!

  44. GUSTAVO ALCALA says:

    Janel.and VAL were robbed!!!!!!!!!! If Hollywood Will Smith /Michael Jackson friendship/ politician Dan Quayle did not back Ribeiro then Janel and VAL are Champions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. Lennell says:

    I am so glad he won, he really deserved the ball, he worked hard for it. Not sure why the other girl Sadie kept getting 10″s for what she wasn’t good at all. Give her a few more try’s and she might be ready then. I think it was wrong for that only couple to get kick off they was good and the couple that was a running up they was good too. But We did pick the right one to win enjoy your moment.

  46. Debbie says:


  47. delfiteblu says:

    I’ve been watching DWTS since the first season and have seen a lot of changes. I have to say that this was the best/most interesting finale of all of them. Usually I skip the finale and the hour leading up to it and just check in to see who won, but there was good stuff in this finale. Mainly there weren’t a whole bunch of people promoting their newest whatever….??? There was the one girl singing that I’ve never heard of; other than that, it was all DWTS. I enjoyed the backstories and there really WAS a big question about who would win. I wanted Janel and Val but wasn’t unhappy about Alfonso and Witney. The thing about Alfonso and Sadie was that they had huge online followings; Janel not so much and I think that’s why Sadie came in second. It was a good finale after a season that irritated me many times because they’ve strayed so much from the original dances. I DO wonder why they didn’t say goodbye to Cheryl Burke since she’s leaving the show.

  48. Sandy says:

    That is why I quit watching the show a few years ago. The person that should win doesn’t! Sadie should have won. The show should be the best dancer NOT who you are!!!

  49. Kicks says:

    Glad Alfonso won, and Sadie and Mark came in as runners up. The right two couples stood up there and the right person won.

  50. Ana says:

    Love every minute. Well deserved triumph. …..