After a season full of standout routines, Nyle delivered yet again and for the first time got emotional, adorably tearing up when Carrie Ann Inaba told him in sign language, "Thank you for showing your beautiful heart when you dance." Paige VanZant was this season's runner-up and judge Len Goodman said if the show was purely about dance she would have taken the trophy home. Ginger Zee came in third place after a pelvic injury this weekend slowed her down.
However, apart from being a thrilling dancer, Nyle was also a fantastic choice for winner because of his his story of triumph over obstacles. He turned perceived weaknesses into assets and proved doing your best no matter what is what winners — and dreams — are made of.
He wowed judges and DWTS viewers from the first day with routines that were fluid, fun to watch and precise - especially considering he couldn't hear any music. Always smiling and gracious even in the face of tough feedback, Nyle relied on lip reading, body language and counting to keep step, proudly embracing all that he is.
Near the middle of the season, Nyle and his partner Peta used Nyle's deafness to heighten the emotional resonance and difficulty of their routines - once silencing the music so we could all understand his world and then another time blindfolding him so he had veritably no tools. That earned him a perfect score.
The head of a self-titled organization with a mission to empower deaf people, Nyle recently attended the White House Correspondents Dinner with an intention to have American Sign Language taught in schools. He'll no doubt be advancing his mission now, albeit with way more star power, and landing some cool new roles too. Whatever he does next, he'll impress us and inspire us too.
As for the contestants 24-Hour Fusion dances:
The dance: As she's been in recent weeks, Ginger remains a nearly impeccable dancer — she has a grace and seamlessness that's contrasted by a bullet-like sharpness. A slight flub in a wave to fans cost her,.
What the judges say: Len noted her constant improvement; Carrie Ann called her a beautiful dancer.
The dance: Strong and athletic as ever, Paige did what she's done best — looking limber, fierce and exuberant.
What the judges say: Len said if this was just being judged on dance alone, she'd be the one to beat.
The dance: Prime form. This dance was faster paced than much of his recent work and, although without some of his special strategic tricks, was still just classic Nyle: confident, clean, superb.
What the judges say: Bruno called it glorious and that he exceeded exceptions every time. Amen.