Tonight’s 2018 finale episode of Dancing With the Stars started with a giant opening performance, filled with the pros, troupe dancers, cast-offs, the judges, and a full parade to celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. But, before we get into the full recap … If you just want to know who the winner is, scroll to the bottom of the article for the spoiler.
Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten kicked off the contestants’ performances on the finale with a routine from week 2. The two danced the Argentine Tango to “Swan Lake” for their “repeat dance” on the show. When they first performed the dance on the show, the duo got a score of 25. They improved their original score, attaining a 27 out of 30 tonight.
Radio personality Bobby Bones and pro Sharna Burgess brought back their Cha Cha to “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer. This was a trio performance originally, but the duo danced without a third partner tonight. Both Bones and Burgess talked about how shocked and pleased they were to have made it all the way to the finale, prior to their performance. Bones visibly put his all into this repeat dance and he brought smiles to the faces of the other cast members.
After his performance, Bones had the judges sign one of his sneakers as a souvenir of the experience. Judge Bruno Tonioli called Bones irresistible. In week 2, when they originally did the dance, they got a score of 20, but tonight, they definitely improved with a 24 out of 30.
Following a commercial break, the female pros and troupe members put on a sexy performance for the crowd, before the individual performance continued. Dan + Shay then took the stage to perform their single “Speechless”, while pros Artem Chigvintsev and Sharna Burgess carried out a romantic dance routine.
Grocery Store Joe Amabile and Jenna Johnson returned to put on another rendition of their “I’m Too Sexy” routine, with the help of Johnson’s fiance, Val Chmerkovskiy, and some other Bachelor and Bachelorette alums. These alums included Wells Adams, Eric Bigger, Dean Unglert and Nick Viall. After the Bachelor-fueled performance, ABC showed a preview of the upcoming season of The Bachelor 2019.
Next up was actress Evanna Lynch performing with pro partner Keo Motsepe, for a repeat dance of their Tango from Halloween week. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba gushed over how far Lynch has come as a dancer this season. The duo definitely improved in their scoring, since they took home a perfect score for tonight’s performance. And, after receiving their scores, actress Emma Watson was shown in a video package, rooting for Lynch and sending her love to her former Harry Potter co-star.
Gleb Savchenko, Artem Chigvintsev, Sasha Farber, Val Chmerkovskiy and a group of shirtless male dancers took the stage after a commercial break, dancing to Usher’s “You Make Me Wanna”. DWTS cast-off DeMarcus Ware then jumped in on the fun.
For Milo Manheim and Witney Carson’s repeat dance, Robin Thicke stepped in to sing live while the duo performed. Manheim and Carson decided to do a repeat of their Charleston routine from week 2 of the season. DWTS co-host Tom Bergeron praised Thicke for appearing on the show to perform, despite his having lost his home just days ago, in the California wildfires. The judges raved over Manheim’s performance and he was called “the real deal”. Tonight, the duo definitely improved on their original score, attaining a perfect 30 out of 30.
Soon, the pro dancers, who are going to be on the DWTS Live tour this winter, took the stage to give fans a taste of what to expect. Normally, one or two celebrities from the season are announced as joining the tour for some guest appearances or emceeing the tour. This time, there were five celebrities revealed to be joining in on the tour fun. Milo Manheim, Bobby Bones, Joe Amabile, John Schneider and Juan Pablo Di Pace are all set to make guest appearances on the tour.
Last week, Di Pace and Cheryl Burke were sent home in a shocking elimination, as they were the front-runners on the show this season. To celebrate their accomplishments on the show, the two returned to the ballroom to deliver a sexy and fierce performance.
Next, another cast-off took the stage. Former contestant Tinashe took the stage with a group of male dancers to dance and sing the song “Fever”.
Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten returned to the dance floor to perform the first freestyle dance of the night to “Head Over Heels” by Avril Lavigne, who sang the song live. In a video package before the performance, Ren reflected on why she decided to join the show, as it was something her late mother would have loved for her. It was an emotional dance and the judges loved it. Before getting their scores, Bersten and Ren shared a little romantic moment, gushing over each other and the experiences they’ve shared together. Soon, they found out that they earned a perfect score for their final dance together.
Cast-off John Schneider took the stage to sing his latest country single and play the guitar, while married pros Sasha Farber and Emma Slater delivered a spirited dance routine that ended with a kiss. Slater was Schneider’s partner this season.
Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess delivered the next freestyle performance to “The Greatest Show” from The Greatest Showman. Bones started to get emotional in his video package, prior to his final performance. Joe Amabile and DeMarcus Ware joined in on the performance, just for fun. And, the hosts jumped in as well, to give each of their own takes on Bones’ favorite move “the floss”. Just for his energy and, most likely not his technique, Bones and Burgess got their first 10’s, with a perfect score for their freestyle.
Manheim and Carson were the next couple up and Carson said she wanted to include a lot of props and tricks in their final performance. Manheim said that Carson has become like family to her and he’s sad to see their everyday partnership come to an end. Together, the two delivered a sharp and intricate freestyle to “Ain’t No Sunshine”. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba stared at the couple with her mouth open and then said that her mind was blown by the performance. Unsurprisingly, Carson and Manheim earned another perfect score for their performance.
Keo Motsepe and Evanna Lynch delivered the final freestyle of the season and this is the first time that Motsepe has made it to a finale on the show. Together, the two performed their dance to the song “It’s Oh So Quiet” and they talked about how much they will miss dancing together. The duo earned a perfect score for their freestyle routine.
Prior to finding out the final live results, a musical performance took place, with video footage summing up the season for the four finalists.
Finally, it was time for the results. The judges stood up in anticipation and soon, the winners were revealed. And the winners this season are … Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess. This may be a shock to many as he was the least technically talented dancer in the group. Host Tom Bergeron called Bones “the people’s champion” and Bones couldn’t help but to become emotional.