DWTS Season 23 Finale

Dancing With the Stars Finale Recap: Did the Right Couple Win Season 23?

Not to go all Hunger Games on you, but ever since Dancing With the Stars kicked off its 23rd season, the odds have been in one contestant’s favor.

When we compiled our initial predictions for how this cycle would play out, Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez was our pick to win the Mirrorball. And 11 weeks later, on the eve of the season finale, 72 percent of you said Laurie would win (while 54 percent said she should triumph over James Hinchcliffe and Calvin Johnson).

But before we could find out if the gold medalist fulfilled her DWTS destiny, Tuesday’s finale was a two-hour-long nostalgia trip, filled with reprises of memorable routines and montages of Tom Bergeron swearing. (Oh, and if you need me, I’ll be here, rewatching that all-male “24K Magic” performance, AKA my happy place.)

The three finalists were also scored one last time, by way of their 24-hour fusion performances, the results of which are denoted below:

* James Hinchcliffe and pro Sharna Burgess — Foxtrot/Viennese Waltz — 40/40
* Calvin Johnson and pro Lindsay Arnold — Quickstep/Jive — 40/40
* Laurie Hernandez and pro Val Chmerkovskiy — Foxtrot/Argentine Tango — 40/40

(It was also announced, after Laurie’s performance, that she’ll be part of this winter’s Dancing With the Stars tour — and she hitched a ride to The Grove in Santa’s sleigh! I’m not saying the DWTS producers are hardcore Laurie fans, but I’m also not not saying that.)

In the end, Laurie and Val did nab first place, while James and Sharna took second and Calvin and Lindsay placed third.

“My goal is just to inspire others as I go on with my journey,” the gymnast (and newly-crowned Mirrorball champ) said, adding with a grin, “Thanks for being there for me!”

That’s a wrap, Dancing fans! Do you agree with the finale results? If not, who would you have liked to see win? Hit the comments with all of your thoughts on Season 23!

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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41 Comments
  1. Elisabeth says:

    I know that everyone assumed that this would be Laurie’s to win (me included), but I don’t think she actually won it in the end. James was the most amazing and delightful surprise to come out of this group, and I truly thought he deserved to win it all! He astonished me week after week, and I hope he’s proud of all he’s accomplished! But congratulations, Laurie…that talent is undeniable!

    • ncmacasl says:

      I agree!

    • Iakovos says:

      I concur. James is the winner in that he surprised and grew. Laurie is a genuine talent and delight but I felt she had this sewn up the moment the season started. A good run for the show this fall. Really!

    • Faye McDonald says:

      I found myself pulling for James as he stood by Laurie as the final two. But I am not unhappy that Laurie won. She was definitely deserving and proved it from day one. James earned his place from tenacity and growth. Congrats to both.

    • Skip says:

      I would like to have seen James the winner.

  2. Yea Laurie!!! OLD BRIDGE PRIDE!!!

  3. GraceM says:

    I’m not surprised Laurie and Val won. I’m happy Val finally got a trophy. Maks and his ego have probably made a point of lording over Val about his trophy a few years ago.

    • Gena says:

      This is actually Val’s second win, one more than Maks so he’s got some bragging rights! Lol was hoping Sharna would finally nab this one. It seemed very obvious from the beginning that this would be Laurie’s season and James was such a fabulous surprise. Any other season and he would have bagged the mirror ball, no problem.

    • Wow – Maks and Val clearly love each other and support each other immensely. Their support of each other is evident every week. I am not sure how you how you got “Maks lording” from how those two interact, but sure, you can find a way to bring personal grievances into this win…

    • That was one fantastic finale. There were many deserving dancers this year… so many, that they all could have made the finales in other seasons. And for that reason, this season was a blast. And when you get to a finales and don’t know who will win – that is a fun competition. Someone had to win, and any of them could. Calvin was clearly the most improved of the 3 and his journey clearly showed him falling for dance; as the tall built guy, he got all the cool tricks (that Lindsey likes to choreograph) and pulled it all off. Hitch was a surprise out of the gate, the surprised himself, and he just got better and better. The chemistry with Sharna was so electric, and his ballroom moves were swoon-worthy. And Laurie – she was a ball of infectious energy in Rio and carried it to DWTS. Every time she was on the floor, she made me smile. She is joy, happiness, love, appreciation, enthusiasm and more all rolled up into a 16 year old. Val’s best dances with her captured her essence and spunk and laid it out to bare! It was hers to lose, and she did not falter. Can’t imagine what her gymnastic floor routine will look like after this experience. I, for one, am happy for that Jersey Girl win! WOOHOO! But any one could have taken that trophy home.

  4. Was hoping James and Sharna would win. but not surprised that it was Laurie and Val.

  5. Angela says:

    Yay Laurie! So happy she won :). And very cool that she’s going to be part of the DWTS tour.
    .
    James and Calvin were awesome, too, and yay for them making it as far as they did.

  6. DreamRose311 says:

    This was my top three, so I was happy no matter who won, but I was hoping James would win it most of all. But they were all so deserving.

    But best parts of the night… Fikshun! & Robert Roldan!!!

  7. AngelWasHere says:

    I agree with everyone. I knew Laurie was going win, but James was such a pleasant surprise. I would have loved to seen him win.

  8. Peggy says:

    James and Sharma should have worn, it takes a lot more to be the male dancer as he is the lead. Consideration should be given by the judges when scoring. James is definitely a beautiful dancer and totally deserves to take the mirrorball.

    • Ehh says:

      Consideration should be taken? Of course it had. He got perfect scores. You forget that the fan votes get tallied in and Laurie had the most solid season. Being an Olympic gold medalist also helped with being a fan fave.

  9. nickp91 says:

    The good news is Hinchtown and hopefully IndyCar gained some fans from this!

  10. Lisa says:

    I wanted James and Sharna to win. He did not have dance experience and he got better every week. Laurie was good but she has dance experience which she uses as a gymnast. Plus past gymnast have one so this was so predictable. I wish future shows would have celeberties with no dance experience and get better so it will not be so predictable.

  11. Lindsay Rynda says:

    Not surprised Laurie won…I was hoping James would win. This whole thing is rigged.

    • noelle says:

      It was certainly rigged against Marilu & Derek who were consistently underscored and their “packages” were edited to make them look like they hated each other. From the very first show, it was obvious Laurie was going to win, and she did. She’s a cute, talented kid, but in all fairness, James deserved the trophy. He and his partner were sensational.

  12. Beverley Languay says:

    Really hoped James and Sharma would win,,,they were awesome!

  13. Rafael says:

    I take it back on Laurie, she deserves to win. I’m glad james didn’t win because his partner Sharna got injured and was out for 2 weeks. I wish Calvin would win because he’s improving and his pro partner desperately needs a win. Although he might be too tall and a little bit too mature than both laurie and Val to make it to the top 2. But at least he’s obeying his partner well enough than Laurie’s and Val’s along the way without injuries, illnesses, withdrawals and substitutions.

    • SoFla says:

      Your logic on James not deserving to win because his partner was injured is flawed. If anything he deserves it more because he had to go cold with a new partner and got straight 10s that week, showing it was him dancing well and he could do it with his normal partner or even a replacement partner, thus making him the better dancer because he didn’t have weeks of experience with her so he would know how she danced and her timing, only days and yet he still did exceptional.

    • MMD says:

      Plus do you realize that James nearly died a year ago with such massive injuries he is lucky to be alive let alone dancing the way he did all season. He was incredible!!

  14. Glad she won. She did very well

  15. Tina Webster says:

    even before season started I knew she would win! But Calvin and James killed it. 3 athletes, tough choice. My votes were always split between James and Laurie but ecstatic Laurie won .
    Right choice

  16. Diane Collins says:

    Do not believe it is rigged. It is all done by who calls in

  17. Bob Deits says:

    Laurie was by far the most accomplished dancer. She compared favoably with the women pros. Why not? To have the skills & experience of winning a solo gymnastics event at Olympics really showed.

  18. Dax says:

    I only watched once, not fan of the show, but Laurie was not at all graceful or accomplished. Just like other shows, it’S a popularity contest, not a talent show.

  19. SoFla says:

    If you mean biased towards one dancer since day 1 then you are correct. Nothing like telling the girl to say she was going to Disneyland to show ABC wanted her to win. But there is always how they added her to the traveling show as another bias. Plus how she is a gymnast which also means dance trained, should never have been allowed to participate. Just like the ice dancers Meryl Davis, Apolo Ohno and Kristy Yamaguchi or the other gymnast Shawn Johnson or the dancer/singer/performer Nicole Scherzinger, or ABCs bachelorette Melissa Rycroft, who I include as more ABC bias. Sad, should be an even playing field but they stack the deck. I came back to watch this season for the one who deserved the win, earned it actually, but won’t br back watching again.

  20. pickles says:

    I was rooting for James and Sharna. I’m happy for Laurie and Val.

  21. Rafael says:

    I take it back on Laurie winning, she deserves it. If James’ partner, Sharna, didn’t get injured, then James would have won, IMO.

  22. Joe says:

    I honestly thought James did the best job, coming in with no dancing experience, and turning out to be fantastic.

    I did not like how it was announced during the show that Laurie was joining the 2 month touring show….doesn’t she have to go to school? She’s 16, right? And I thought it was the worst foreshadowing that she’d actually win the whole thing, which she did. What she did was less than amazing, since she’s an acrobat and a gymnast, her performance was no surprise. But James doing well was an unbelievable achievement!! Coming back from a horrific car crash and dancing so well, with 2 different partners, proves he was the better of the 2.

    • MMD says:

      Couldn’t have said it better myself Joe. Truly miraculous and not a single complaint out of him. Not to mention that I was thrilled to have a Canuck in the competition, and that I was probably still living in Oakville when he was.

  23. Cathy Carpenter says:

    Thought Calvin really improved just loved watching him and Lindsey. It was close competition loved James too. Laurie was the one to beat. I enjoyed this season!

  24. Lorraine Obrien says:

    i also think james should won for someone who never dance like this and almost died in the racing accident he had but we all knew who would win i sometimes wonder if the show is rigged but i will watch but mostly toward the end

  25. maria says:

    If we go by uniqueness and impact of the freestyle, I strongly believe it would have been James and Sharna..Even their dances from the start were impressive. It was just the the “microphone” for Laurie was louder from the start and the popularity was there from the very start, I think the Olympic fans are twice or more than indicar fans that I myself have not heard of. If I went by their dedication and impact, it is close. If we go by the uniqueness if their freestyle, and far they’ve come at the end of it, I believe many would give it James. He is a class act and a gentleman too. ( I feel deeply for Sharna…very talented and creative: 2x in 2nd place, been in 3rd, 4rth, 5th, & 7th) I strongly hope your turn will be the next one … of course we know a lot depends on the dedication of our partner …not so much any innate talent he may have…James proved that very clearly) In lieu of the mirrorball, i hope you gain great friend in each other for a long time … I love pair of you ..I will continue to cheer you Sharna :)