All hail the king and queen of the ballroom! After months of buildup and competition, Dancing With the Stars crowned a new Mirrorball champion on the season 19 finale on Tuesday, Nov. 25. The race came down to three finalists: Alfonso Ribeiro, dancing with Witney Carson; Sadie Robertson, dancing with Mark Ballas; and Janel Parrish, dancing with Val Chmerkovskiy. Each couple had one last chance to wow judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Julianne Hough, and Bruno Tonioli before the winner was announced by co-hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews — and they did not disappoint. (Spoilers ahead!)
The two-hour finale (preceded by a behind-the-scenes special called “Road to the Finals”) featured performances by already-eliminated contestants including Betsey Johnson, Lea Thompson, Jonathan Bennett, and Bethany Mota, the latter of whom was eliminated on Monday, Nov. 24, after a perfect-scoring freestyle routine. It also spotlighted guest appearances by music superstars Nick Jonas, Jennifer Hudson, and Meghan Trainor.
The main event, of course, was the presentation of the coveted Mirrorball trophy. In what was touted as one of the closest races in DWTS history, the remaining finalists entered Tuesday’s show within just three points of one another: Alfonso at a perfect 80 out of 80, Sadie at 78 out of 80, and Janel at 77 out of 80.
Those scores were added to the judges’ scores from Tuesday’s finale, and then combined with viewer votes from Monday night. In the end, Alfonso and Witney came out on top, narrowly edging out their competitors.
“I’ve wanted it forever! My god, I don’t know what to say,” the actor said through happy tears after the announcement. Find out more about Alfonso’s exciting win.
The Fresh Prince alum, who was a front-runner from the very beginning but suffered near-debilitating injuries later in the competition, blew the judges away week after week with his unique style and incomparable showmanship. “He just knows how to communicate,” Carrie Ann told TV Guide earlier this week of the star. “The other younger performers don’t quite have that skill set yet.”
That worked to Alfonso’s advantage during his final performance with Witney, an energetic cha cha/Argentine tango fusion that earned 40 out of 40 from the judges, for a total score of 120 out of 120. “You’re a legend, man,” Bruno told him.
Trailing Alfonso in the runner-up spot was Duck Dynasty star Sadie, who won the judges’ hearts with her wide-eyed, pure-of-heart persona both on and off the dance floor. “Her secret weapon, her best part, is her grace and that innocence and that beautiful smile she has,” Carrie Ann told TV Guide. “She is a bright light.”
That light shone brighter than ever during Sadie’s final performance with Mark, a quickstep/samba fusion that brought the crowd to its feet. The judges loved it, too, giving it a perfect 40 out of 40, for a final total score of 118 out of 120. “Yours is a Cinderella story. You came to the ball having never danced, met the handsome Prince Charming, and you’re leaving a dancing princess,” Len raved.
Third place went to Pretty Little Liars actress Janel and her partner Val, who tore up the floor on Tuesday with a foxtrot/paso doble fusion. “I wanted it to keep going,” Julianne gushed of the “seamless” routine, which earned 40 out of 40 from the judges, bringing their total score to 117 out of 120.
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