We have a winner! The four couples remaining on Dancing With the Stars faced off in the Monday, November 21, finale — but only one duo could take home the mirrorball trophy.
Charli D’Amelio and Mark Ballas narrowly beat Gabby Windey and Val Chmerkovskiy in what cohost Tyra Banks called “one of the closest finales in the history of this show.” Wayne Brady and Witney Carson finished in third with Shangela and Gleb Savchenko placing fourth.
Throughout the evening, the finalists each performed twice, taking the stage for a redemption dance and a freestyle. In the redemption round, the contestants had a second chance at either a ballroom or Latin style routine that they attempted earlier in the season, in the hopes of getting a better score than they did the first time around.
“Charli, that was remarkable. You have proven yourself so incredible throughout this whole season as far as execution and style and technique but this … she just danced for you guys with her heart,” Inaba, 54, said, turning to address the cheering audience.
The finalists weren’t the only ones who got a chance to redeem themselves during the season 31 swan song — all the previously eliminated couples also returned to the ballroom floor. Selma Blair — who left the competition early due to health concerns amid her battle with multiple sclerosis — danced a contemporary routine with her partner, Sasha Farber, as Jordin Sparks sang her song “No Air” live.
The performance-packed finale marked the end of an era for Len Goodman. The 78-year-old England native announced his retirement from the reality competition series during the semifinals.
“This will be my last season judging on Dancing With the Stars. I’ve been with the show since it started in 2005 and it has been such a huge pleasure to be part of such a wonderful show, but I’ve decided I would like to spend more time with my grandchildren and family back in Britain,” Goodman — who has served as head judge for all but two seasons of DTWS — said on November 14.
“I am sitting here full of so many conflicting emotions about the words I am about to write. Tomorrow night will officially be my final dance as a pro dancer on @dancingwiththestars. This has been one of the absolute hardest decisions of my life and I am also confident that it is the right one,” Burke, 38, wrote via Instagram.
She continued: “This show has been my 2nd family since I was 21 years old. The cast, crew and fans have seen me through my highest highs and some of my lowest lows, and I honestly don’t know who I would be today without them.”
The California native has participated in 26 seasons of DWTS, appearing on the show for the first time in 2005. She has won the mirrorball twice: with Drew Lachey in 2005 and with Emmitt Smith in 2006.
Scroll through to see the scores from finale night: