Year after year, each season of Dancing with the Stars feels like it goes by in a heartbeat. And yet the stars (or at least the final four) have improved so dramatically in that short time that it feels like it must have been much longer. And it's no different this year. Ally Brooke, Lauren Alaina, Hannah Brown, and Kel Mitchell all started out unconfident in what little abilities they had. But on Monday they performed two dances each — each of which had the audience screaming louder than before. It was a nail-biter to the end. Let's look back at this long road that has been Season 28.


Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber
Jive / "Proud Mary" from Tina Turner
Ally says she started out nervous because people made fun of her dancing before (probably internet trolls), but who's laughing now? She became the first perfect scorer of the season. But she wasn't without her lows: She was in the bottom two twice, and the judges saw something in her to save her both times. And it's a good thing they did! Not only do we get to see a fun jive out of her as the first dance of the night, but she kicks it off by singing — proving she's at least a double threat! "That's how you start a show," Bruno says.

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Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko
Foxtrot / "Jolene" from Dolly Parton

This "little, silly, clumsy Georgia girl" made the finale. Her repeat dance is a Dolly song, which is fitting for the country singer. It's beautiful and shows how far she's come — when she did a booty shake when she first met Gleb. But as beautiful as it is, Carrie Ann says she doesn't seem as emotionally open as she has been. She wants to know why she's holding back — while Gleb glares daggers at her to shut up. Tom is so thrown off that he forgets to get a critique from Len. Then, the floral wreath around the judge's table falls off. Lauren can't stop giggling while she throws her body at it to hold it up. Honestly, she should get points for saving the set.
Score: 27/30

Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten, <em>Dancing with the Stars</em>Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten, Dancing with the Stars

Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson
Jazz / "We're All in This Together" from High School Musical

Who would have guessed that the guy from Good Burger would be in the finals of Dancing with the Stars? Not Kel Mitchell! But he's come so far. Witney says he really started to shine with Disney Night. Listen, I've always been a sucker for the "We're All in This Together" song and dance. Combine it with a ballroom dance on Dancing with the Stars finale night and I'm sold. And the crowd is with me — they go crazy! Carrie Ann says it's better than the first time; Len says he looks like the leader of the pack; and Bruno says it was uplifting, positive, and life-affirming.
Score: 30/30

Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten
Viennese waltz / "Lover" from Taylor Swift

Hannah says going into this week is a celebration of how much she's grown: She's shown she's more than a girl who hands out roses each week. Although it hasn't been easy, she's learned a lot about herself and people have been able to see her growth. Repeating her Viennese waltz to T-Swift's song, she shows the softer side of her. "A little bit suspect with the footwork," says Len, who never misses anything. But he says it was beautiful. Bruno agrees that something went wrong (Alan says they were just "lost in the dance"), but Carrie Ann says it was the best dance all season.
Score: 28/30

The entire cast reunites for a dance to Ne-Yo and Pitbull's new song "Me Quedaré Contigo" and then Pitbull's song "3 to Tango." A former White House Press Secretary dancing to Pitbull is not a thing I ever thought would happen — let alone have to write about — but 2019 is weird, y'all.

After that, the final four step into their last dances...


Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber
Freestyle / "Conga" from Gloria Estefan

I don't know about you, but when the music started and I realized Ally and Sasha were dancing to "Conga" by Gloria Estefan, I gasped. And I gasped many more times throughout the dance. Not only was it an incredibly fun dance, it was full of strength-defying moves (does Ally have a 12-pack??), awesome lifts, and Sasha ripping off his shirt. Bruno calls it a showstopper. Carrie Ann couldn't stop saying "shut up" throughout the dance. She says it was unlike any freestyle on the show and wants them to do it again. And I agree. Encore! Encore! Encore!
Score: 30/30

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Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko
Freestyle / "Country Girl" from Luke Bryant

Well, this freestyle couldn't have gotten more country if Gleb tried. It was so absolutely Lauren. She looked incredibly comfortable, which explains why she got her first perfect score of the season. Carrie Ann calls it the great end to a beautiful chapter. Len says he didn't know what was going to happen, but he loved that it was full of her country roots. Bruno says it's like happy hour and he's ready for a double. (There's no way he's not already drinking, right?)
Score: 30/30

Witney Carson and Kel Mitchell, <em>Dancing with the Stars</em>Witney Carson and Kel Mitchell, Dancing with the Stars

Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten
Freestyle / "Girl on Fire" from Alicia Keys mashed up with "Hollaback Girl" from Gwen Stefani
Before her final dance, Hannah talks with Alan about how special this competition has been for her — but also because he's been there for her. And she's thankful for his friendship, which will go beyond this. Either they're dating or the producers just want us to think that. Well, anyway. This number was amazing. If you didn't believe Hannah Brown was a badass rockstar, well you better now. "Hannah Brown, you are living your best life," Carrie Ann says. And she's right. "From the acrobatic to the sexy, you did it all," Bruno says.
Score: 30/30

Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson
Freestyle / "Jump" from Kris Kross

With this dance, Witney wants to pull out all the stops. They're ready for the Mirrorball Trophy. If the Mirrorball Trophy was for fun final dances, they're definitely the winners. Dancing a freestyle to "Jump"--which gets sped up so fast I can't believe they all keep their feet in step — was what Kel Mitchell was born to do. He brought Chicago house to the ballroom. (Literally. He brought his backup dancers from Chicago.) And despite being a "ballroom dancer," Witney keeps up and kills it, too. Bruno is on his feet before the dance is over. He says they "brought the house down." Carrie Ann says her inner flag girl is dying. Len doesn't want to be the party pooper, but he feels the dance was too similar to their dance earlier in the night. He gets booed so loudly he can't finish his critique. Bruno even gets Emmitt Smith to come over and have a talking to Len. What a way to close the finale.
Score: 29/30

Following the dances, Ally and Sasha top the leaderboard followed by Hannah and Alan, then Kel and Witney, then Lauren and Gleb. It's hard to think about dancing scores when Cher herself comes out and sings "The Beat Goes On" in a sparkling hot pink jumpsuit looking better than ever. Can we give her the Mirrorball?

Apparently not. The audience votes combine with the judges' scores to reveal the couple in fourth place is Lauren and Gleb. Ally and Sasha come in third. Kel and Whitney come in second place, which means Hannah and Alan take first place and the Mirrorball Trophy. I guess you could say America gave Hannah its rose ... if you said incredibly cheesy things like that.

Until next season, Dancing fans!

Cher, <em>Dancing with the Stars</em>Cher, Dancing with the Stars