Dancing with the Stars, Season 29 Finale: Classy, Sassy, Powerful, YES!

The finally…I mean finale of the 29th season of Dancing with the Stars aired and I’m glad it’s over. This season was good given the circumstances with the rules the show had to follow due to COVID-19. I hope by next year, we can have an audience because although the pros and stars were the audience and made almost as much noise as a regular audience would, it just wasn’t the same as having spectators outside of the cast there. The finale was the first episode that I’ve seen that has had an opening number by the pros and not a skit. I was surprised that the show decided to do this because of the rise in coronavirus cases and the rules that the governor has imposed in California, which is where the show is filmed. I noticed that whomever choreographed the number put the married couples together; that was a smart move.

Also, if Tyra ends up being the host again next season (to be honest, I could take her or leave her), please fire her wardrobe stylist. My God, her outfits were atrocious. The first outfit looked like she was stuck in the material of the dress instead of wearing it and the outfits she wore after that were not cute either. Also, some of the skits upon returning from the commercial break were corny, but weirdly entertaining. The Ballroom Burgers skit was so bad, but the “What Have You Been Doing Since DWTS?” and the judges talking about their notebooks were amusing.

I was impressed by most of the performances tonight. The show split the dances up between the celebrity and pro’s favorite dance and the freestyle, with some performances in between by Derek Hough and Nelly. Let’s get to them; I also included commentary on their partnerships and journey on the show with my thoughts on the dances:

Celebrity and Pro Favorite Dance

Kaitlyn Bristowe (partner: Artem Chigvintsev)

Dance: Argentine Tango to “Toxic” by Britney Spears

Score: 30

Thoughts: Kaitlyn has been fighting detractors all season, saying that she is too safe and boring. The last two weeks has really shown that she has more than enough power behind her movements and dances. Her Argentine Tango was even better than before, and I would have given it an 11 if I could. I thought it was commendable that Carrie Ann Inaba said that this was one of her top three dances of all time; did they just become best friends?

Nelly (partner: Daniella Karagach)

Dance: Samba to “Rhythm of the Night” by DeBarge

Score: 27

Thoughts: Nelly talked about his unexpected journey on the show and that he didn’t anticipate getting into the finals. I certainly didn’t expect him to make the finals and think he should have been eliminated weeks ago, but I was pleasantly surprised at his repeat samba. He seemed like he was more effortless and smoother with his movements. The judges said that he had some technical glitches with his steps, but I didn’t notice them.

Nev Schulmann (partner: Jenna Johnson)

Dance: Paso Doble to “Swan Lake Remix” by District 78

Score: 30

Thoughts: Nev has to be one of my favorite partners that Jenna has had and reminds a little bit of James Hinchcliffe from season 23, but with dance experience. Jenna said that she was surprised by him as a partner. I think we didn’t know what to expect with him and were blown away when he delivered each week. Their paso had a different opening, but it had even more intensity than the first time and was better than last time. Also, he made a deal with Jenna that if they made the finals, he would shave his chest; he delivered on that promise (hehe).

Justina Machado (partner: Sasha Farber)

Dance: Cha Cha to “Respect” by Aretha Franklin

Score: 30

Thoughts: I was surprised by how good Justina was on her first night and throughout the season, which is something that Sasha alluded to in the video package (he said he saw a lot of potential in Justina during the first practice). Her repeat Cha Cha did not disappoint. She had so much umph and improved so much more from last time (to be fair, there’s nowhere to go but up from week one). I was surprised to see the lip syncing in the middle of the performance, but thought it was a nice touch. I’m not sure if anyone noticed Bruno laughing during the judges’ critiques, but he snorted while he was laughing, and that made me laugh too.

The final four went to prepare for their freestyles while Derek Hough performed solo in front of some of the props and wardrobe from the season. I couldn’t take my eyes off this performance. Tyra mentioned that Derek is the Fred Astaire of our generation and I couldn’t agree with her more. I am always in awe of what he can do as a choreographer and dancer.

Freestyle Routines

Nelly (partner: Daniella Karagach)

Dance: Freestyle to “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion and “Hypnotize” by Notorious B.I.G.

Score: 30

Thoughts: I liked their freestyle, but I wasn’t as impressed with it as I thought I would be. The music choice for the freestyle was awesome and I was waiting for the time we would hear “Hypnotize” used as music on Dancing with the Stars. I think if the pros could have had more background dancers (there were 2 couples in the background: Peta and Keo and Britt and Alan), it would have taken this dance over the top. I can’t believe that lift at the end with Daniella on Nelly’s shoulders and him not holding on to her. Like, whoa!

Kaitlyn Bristowe (partner: Artem Chigvintsev)

Dance: Freestyle to “Sparkling Diamonds” from Moulin Rouge

Score: 30

Thoughts: I was expecting either a contemporary or something hip-hop related for Kaitlyn (I know they’re in two totally different ballfields, but just go with it). However, I am pleased with the freestyle that her and Artem did. There was so much content and she possessed a mixture of sex appeal and finesse, which can be hard to do. Can I just say I’m so glad to see Artem in the finals with an actual contender for the title?

Nev Schulmann (partner: Jenna Johnson)

Dance: Freestyle to “Singing in the Rain” by District 78

Score: 30

Thoughts: I wasn’t sure what to expect from the beginning of this performance and it seemed kind of dull. Then, Jenna and Nev danced under “rainwater” in the second half. The performance was Old Hollywood meets the present day. The Old Hollywood feel was right in Nev’s wheelhouse. The freestyle was so well choreographed too.

Justina Machado (partner: Sasha Farber)

Dance: Freestyle to “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez and “Bamboleo” by The Gypsy Kings

Score: 30

Thoughts: Sasha wanted to create a freestyle that was a celebration of Justina and he accomplished just that. The combination of salsa, paso doble and cha cha content made it seem like a party. I really liked the multiple Justinas dancing in the background at the beginning of the dance and really liked the second part of the dance with “Bamboleo” playing.

Of course, ABC and Dancing with the Stars like to drag out the results, so they included a performance by Nelly. I thought it was a good performance and I liked that he included his partner, Daniella, and her husband, Pasha.

Okay, now for the results (finally!). Our fourth-place finishers ended up being…Justina and Sasha. I was a little disappointed they didn’t get third place instead, but they had a good run on the show so they shouldn’t be too disappointed. The third-place finishers were…Nelly and Daniella. Thank God. I was thinking that he may win the season and I didn’t want to see another Bobby Bones situation. The final two were Nev and Jenna and Kaitlyn and Artem. And the winner is…Kaitlyn and Artem!

I’ve been rooting for Kaitlyn and Artem since the beginning. As I said before, Artem finally had a ringer that can get him the mirrorball and he now has one in the United States! He has had a great year despite everything happening in the world with the birth of his son and the Dancing with the Stars win. Now, I know there are people that are going to say there’s a conspiracy with members of Bachelor Nation winning the show since they are both ABC shows, but I think Kaitlyn deserved the win fair and square. She was one of the strongest dancers of the season, even when she looked a little bored or it didn’t look like she was giving it her all.

Next year will be the 30th season of the show and you just never know what will happen. I never thought that the producers would fire Tom and Erin and get another host. I would like to see another All Stars season since it seems a little overdue and it is of course the 30th season, but I’m not sure that will be the case. I’m not sure if I will do the analyses for Dancing with the Stars in the future, but I can guarantee this show will be back next year. Whether it will be the last season or continue on well into the future remains to be seen, but hey, I will still be tuning in.

(Picture courtesy of ABC/Disney)

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