It’s been another action-packed season of Dancing With the Stars: Geraldo Rivera performed as Donald Trump, Nyle DiMarco proudly displayed his bare chest on a nearly weekly basis, and Mischa Barton … well, she tried … sort of.
The ABC competition series’ two-hour final show on Tuesday, May 24, included one hour and 30 minutes of filler, and 30 minutes of actual competition. Still, the filler was fun and included sexy performances by Fifth Harmony and Pitbull, a preview of brothers Maksim and Val Chmerkovskiy‘s live dance tour starting this summer and a bloopers reel in which Erin Andrews threw shade at pro Keo Motsepe for always being the first one to go home (though this year he lasted a lot longer with Jodie Sweetin by his side).
All of that out of the way, the actual scored routines began. Read on to find out how the final 24-hour fusion challenge dances went down, and more importantly, who took home the season 22 mirrorball trophy.
Val and Ginger
In their final rehearsal, Ginger Zee reflected on what she’d gotten out of the experience — and it was a lot more than she’d expected. “I think I just was thinking about the skill of dancing, about the surface part, and I had no idea what else would be in there, and it’s really special,” she told Val. For his part, Val (who’s not the most emotive man on the planet) said he loved her and would always root for her.
Their fusion routine combined Argentine tango and foxtrot. It was light and sexy, and the judges liked it despite a few missteps. Len Goodman recalled that the Good Morning America meteorologist started out the season getting straight 7s, noting how much she’d improved. Bruno Tonioli said Ginger had transformed from a “weather girl” into a “leading lady.” Still, the flub cost them a few points, and their final score landed at 27 out of 30.
Nyle and Peta
As Nyle and Peta Murgatroyd headed into their final dance, the America’s Next Top Model star revealed he couldn’t believe it was almost over because he felt like it was still week one. Through tears, Peta praised him for being “inspirational” to so many people.
They performed a combination of cha-cha and tango that had the judges losing their minds. Bruno called it “glorious in every possible way,” while Len said Nyle deserved to be in the final. Carrie Ann Inaba declared it a “beautiful way to end the season” and then brought Nyle to tears by saying, “Thank you for showing us your beautiful heart when you dance” — in sign language. Not surprisingly, they earned another perfect 30.
Paige and Mark
As their last rehearsal came to a close, Paige VanZant reflected on how much she’d grown as a dancer, while Mark Ballas said that he’d “grown up” on the show, having spent all of his twenties there. (ICYMI, it was his 30th birthday today.)
They performed a fusion routine of jive and salsa that had the audience clapping along. Carrie Ann said Paige and Mark had set the standards throughout the competition. Len said that if the winner was picked “purely on dance,” she was the “one to beat.” Like Nyle and Peta, they nabbed one last 30.
The last routines really and truly done, the final results were revealed. Ginger and Val took third place, but she wasn’t disappointed. “I am so proud, and I am so grateful for Val,” she said before calling herself a “science nerd who loves storms.” She hoped she showed everyone you can be more than one thing — like a science nerd who can dance.
Then the winning couple was announced: Nyle and Peta! Paige took her second-place finish with grace, saying she was just “grateful” to be there. Peta, who was once again in tears, said it was “an amazing feeling” and that she “owed everything” to Nyle. That said, she probably had something to do with their win too.
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