Season 29 of Dancing with the Stars was certainly one for the history books. Not only was there a new host, a new judge, but there was the added complication of the pandemic. Although many fans were disappointed with supermodel Tyra Bank’s hosting, ratings were up and ABC will likely keep her on for next season. Replacing Len Goodman as the “technical” judge was a former pro, Derek Hough. This was because, during the premier, Len shared in a pre-recorded video that he wouldn’t be a judge this season, due to travel restrictions. Although not being physically in attendance, fans were still able to see his presence through short videos explaining various styles of dance. The cast of “Stars” or, celebrities competing, included Tiger King’s Carole Baskin (eliminated week 3), Disney’s Skai Jackson (eliminated in semi-finals), and Grammy winner Nelly (3rd place).
The ultimate winner of season 29 is former the “Bachelorette” Kaitlyn Bristowe and her pro partner Artem Chigvintsev! The duo beat out three other couples in a nerve-wracking two-round finale. The first round was a redemption round where Kaitlyn and Artem repeated their Argentine Tango to the song “Toxic” by Britney Spears, earning a perfect 30/30 from the judges. The second round was the famous freestyle where couples are not assigned a style of dance. Kaitlyn and Artem danced to “Sparkling Diamonds”, earning them another 30/30! This is an amazing feat, however, the majority of dances during the finale got a perfect or near-perfect score. For context, the average score during the first three weeks of the season was around 7/10.
Coming in second, Nev Schulman, the creator of “Catfish” and his partner, Jenna Johnson! Interestingly enough, they also received perfect scores on both their dances.
So, why did Kaitlyn win and not Nev? When they both received perfect scores. The answer is somewhat controversial. To determine who is eliminated every week, the audience of DWTS is asked to vote via text/online what couple they liked the best. Presenting charming and elegant dances, the Kaitlyn-Artem duo earned the popular vote bestowing them the title of “Season 29 winner”. However, some people dislike the audience’s interference, believing that it should be up to the judges, the esteemed professions, to decide the winner.
Overall, the Dancing with the Stars finale was different this year, but it was still highly entertaining and got great viewership. With a nail-biting Season 29 finale, many have their hopes up for season 30, looking for an even more intense and thrilling competition.