Well, that didn’t go the way many people expected. The season 24 finale of Dancing With the Stars on Tuesday, May 23, included performances by cast-off contestants, musicians, and plenty of surprises. Watch all the highlights in our video recap above!
Going into the night, Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater were leading the pack, with Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovksiy close behind. David Ross and Lindsay Arnold trailed in a distant third – but if there’s one thing this season taught us, it’s that the dancing ability only means so much. (Exhibit A: Heather Morris. Exhibit B: Simone Biles. Exhibit C: Nancy Kerrigan.)
Video packages recapped the journey of each finalist to this point. Rashad had logged more hours in the dance studio than any other contestant. Normani was hoping to break out of her shell. And David had become a second father to Lindsay. Musical performances by everyone from TLC to Hailee Steinfeld helped pad out the several-hours-long special, while footage of Lindsay farting in David’s place replayed at every possible moment.
Bruno Calls David the ‘People’s Champion’
For their final number, David and Lindsay performed a fusion of foxtrot and salsa. “Watching you, gives me joy,” Len Goodman declared. “The entire season, you have not disappointed at all,” Julianne Hough added. Bruno Tonioli told the former baseball star, “Whatever happens tonight, to me, you already are the people’s champion,” and Carrie Ann Inaba said she was “sad” that this was the last time she would get to see him dance. Once their 24-hour fusion scores were added in, David and Lindsay were at 109 points.
Carrie Ann Basically Declares Normani the Winner
Normani and Val fused Argentine tango and foxtrot for their final performance. Julianne said it was “seamless” and “absolutely gorgeous.” Len praised Normani for being the “most consistent” throughout the entire season and Carrie Ann said the Fifth Harmony singer was “born” to win this competition. By the time their new scores were added in, Normani and Val were up to 119.
Julianne Fangirled Over Rashad
Rashad and Emma fused cha cha and tango for their last turn on the dance floor. Bruno called Rashad “one of the most dazzling performers he had ever seen,” while Carrie Ann said she wasn’t sure he was born to win (that was Normani, remember), but added that he had certainly earned the right to win. Hmm. Julianne, meanwhile, was beaming ear to ear and got misty-eyed as she said this was a great way to finish the season and noted that her work on the show began 10 years ago. They ended at 118, just one point shy of Normani and Val.
Finally, it was time to announce the winner. In third place were … Normani and Val. Seriously. David beat Normani. Let’s just take a moment to take that in.
That meant David — by far not the best dancer in the competition (and honestly, not even in the top five) — might have won the whole thing … but he didn’t. He came in second.
Rashad and Emma won. Emma jumped into Rashad’s arms as metallic confetti rained down from above. Then everyone was forced to pile into a bedazzled golf cart, which Erin Andrews was driving, and speed out of the studio.
Tell Us: Did the right star win?