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Dancing with The Stars Season 29: Final Episode Recap & Review

The emcee was inexperienced, the judges’ dais was lengthy, and the studio crowd was, well, nonexistent. Despite its casting adjustments and COVID-related alterations, ABC’s Season 29 of Dancing With the Stars ended the same way as all of its predecessors: one pair ultimately got to hoist the gleaming Mirrorball trophy.

In a recent survey, 43 percent of TVLine readers predicted Catfish host Nev Schulman would win the Mirrorball on Dancing with the Stars season finale (narrowly edging out former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, who received 40 percent of the vote), while 51 percent thought Nev should win the Mirrorball.

But before we could find out how correct those predictions were, we had to go through another two hours of dancing, which included each finalist’s freestyle and an encore of a favorite act from earlier in the season. Here’s how the last routines of the season played out:

Kaitlyn Bristowe and Pro Artem Chigvintsev

First up, Kaitlyn and Artem returned their electrifying Argentine dance from Icons Night — and, despite ABC’s promise of “some fresh creative aspects” in all of these encores, the only significant change I observed for this performance was… strobe lights? Regardless, the team proved just as good the second time around, with Kaitlyn’s foot apparently more firmly placed throughout the 360-degree spin.


Their Moulin Rouge-themed freestyle had one teeny-tiny mishap when Kaitlyn stood on the wrong foot than Artem, but it was otherwise jam-packed with material – the Charleston! The jive! — and it’s extremely beautifully done.

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Nelly and Pro Daniella Karagach


Nelly and Daniella choose to perform their ’80s Night samba again, with the judges concentrating on how much fun Nelly brings to his performances rather than his technical ability. “It’s not all about technique, it’s not all about steps,” Derek Hough noted, but I’d argue that… it sorta is? At the very least a smidgeononononononononononon Similarly, their freestyle, while entertaining and snarky all around, mostly consisted of Nelly carrying Daniella through a number of sensual lifts.

Nev Schulman and pro Jenna Johnson

Nobody was surprised when Nev and Jenna performed their Villains Night paso doble again — hey, it’s an easy 30 points! — and it was just as magnificent as the first time they did it. The first part of their freestyle left me cold (and Nev’s timing became a little wacky when they transitioned between sections), but that water segment was outstanding – not only because of the water gimmick, but because of Nev’s ability to do the exact identical motions Jenna was performing.


The side-by-side combinations may have appeared simple, but they were really difficult choreography, and Nev didn’t skip a beat. (However, if we’re talking about a genuinely lethal water freestyle, Milo Manheim and Witney Carson’s Season 27 freestyle is waiting for you.)

Justina Machado and pro Sasha Farber


In the first round, Justina and Sasha reprised their Week 1 cha-cha; it was enjoyable, but I was expecting for something a little meatier, like their contemporary from last week. Their freestyle, on the other hand, was jam-packed with material, and Sasha was wise to highlight Justina’s Latin ballroom talents, which have been her most stunning styles all season.

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Dancing with The Stars: Season 29 Review

At first, I was only interested in watching the season since Carol Baskin had been verified as one of the celebrities fighting for the Mirrorball Trophy. I was exposed to the great world of dancing and became devoted to watching this show every Monday. My favorite players were Jackson, Machado, and Nev. I was hoping they’d make it to the end.

While I had favorites, the fact that there were so many amazing dancers was apparent. Jonny Weir & Chrishell Stause are two examples. Carol Baskin, on the other hand, was a dancer I didn’t particularly like. Baskin was eliminated in week two of the competition after doing only tiger-themed dances.

I’d want to focus on the dancers who deserved better. Johnny Wei was a strong contender for the award. He had a tough start and was in the bottom two a couple of times, but he persevered and utilised all of the judges’ recommendations to make it to the semi-finals.


Skai Jackson, one of my faves, was also ousted on semi-finals night. Skai had my support because I grew up watching her on the Disney Channel. Almost everyone chastised and made fun of one particular dance. This was the dance in which she almost fell but recovered by clutching her partner’s hair and preventing her fall. Those same individuals never recognize her outstanding dancing talents and adaptability on the dance floor.

I’d also want to recognize Jeannie Mai, who had to resign from the tournament due to a medical issue. Jeannie was one of the greatest dancers on the stage, as seen by her performance as characters from the Pixar film “UP” on Disney night. Her dances were always meaningful and presented a narrative. If she hadn’t departed, I believe she might have won the competition.

Justina Machado, Nev Schulman, Nelly, and Kaitlyn Bristowe were the competition’s four finals. I am not surprised that these four were chosen as finalists because their performances were consistent and they received excellent marks.

Bristowe won the competition surprise. I understand why she won, but Nev had the most flawless ratings on his dancers and never dropped below the bottom two.

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