Well, we've arrived at the end of another long, hard season of Dancing with the Stars. I don't know about you guys, but I totally empathize with the physical pain the contestants are in at this point. I've gotten multiple leg cramps from sitting on my couch watching these performances week after week.
Per usual, the two-hour final episode — preceded by an hourlong look back at the season — is an exercise in fluff and short-term nostalgia. Also per usual, the Tom Bergeron- and Erin Andrews-heavy blooper reel is the best part. Although it is always fun to play "Oh yeah, remember when they were on this season?" (See: Tavis Smiley, Lolo Jones.)
Here are some of the highlights:
Oh, and it's Bruno's birthday!
An hour and 20 minutes later, we've come to the last round of competition for Season 19: the 24-hour fusion dances!
Sadie and Mark (samba/quickstep)
The dance: There's no question that Sadie's the contestant who's come the farthest in this season's competition. She's able to channel her sometimes-elusive confidence for this number. The quickstep portions are flawless, and while Mark stays pretty safe with the choreography, it's a respectable effort for something that was put together in 24 hours.
What the judges say: Len says Sadie represents the season's "Cinderella story." Julianne tells Sadie she should be proud of herself. Bruno praises her for keeping the timing, and Carrie Ann says the dance was a great representation of all of Sadie's strengths.
Janel and Val (foxtrot/paso)
The dance: This isn't exactly a breakout dance from Janel and Val. It's nothing we haven't seen before (and not just because we've literally seen the routines before). Sure, it's a great dance and there's nothing much to criticize on a technical level, but it's not particularly memorable and certainly doesn't propel them to the top of the pack.
What the judges say: Julianne wishes the two would have kept going. Bruno loves the drama of the dance. Carrie Ann calls the routine "riveting," and Len notes that he's given them more 10s than any other couple.
Alfonso and Witney (cha cha/tango)
The dance: We're all basically Team Alfonso at this point, right? More so than Janel and Val's routine, I feel like this performance coalesces everything that has made Alfonso stand out through the season — the technical aspects, his clear enjoyment of dancing with Witney, and the fact that it is truly a performance in every sense of the word. And not to overlook first-time finalist Witney, it's the best choreography of the three.
What the judges say: Bruno says Alfonso is a Dancing legend. Carrie Ann tells Witney she held it together well and came back from "the edge" (I'm not really sure what she means by this? Nerves?). Len (lamely) says he's not sure who's destined to win. Julianne appreciates their connection and is shocked the dance came together in 24 hours.Score: 40
And now, the moment we've all been waiting for. Who's going home with the Mirrorball trophy?
Third place: Janel and Val
Runner-up: Sadie and Mark
Winner: Alfonso and Witney
Yay! Unbiased reporting be damned, I'm thrilled Alfonso is the Season 19 winner. Here's hoping he didn't do any permanent damage to his back. I'm happy for Sadie too, who is completely gracious in defeat, thanking Mark and saying Alfonso deserved it.
So, what did you think? Are you happy Alfonso and Witney won? How did Season 19 stand up to the other seasons overall? And will you tune in for the 10th anniversary season in the spring? Sound off in the comments - and see you next season!