DWTS 23 Finale Live Blog and Performance Videos



Welcome to the grand finale of season twenty-three of Dancing with the Stars. Tonight, we will see one final round of competition for our three finalists (the twenty-four hour fusion challenge). We will also be treated to special guests performers, and the return of all this season’s celebrities. When all is said and done, new champions will be crowned.

Before the show begins, and I do the usual finale segment by segment recap, I just want to say a few things to anyone who has followed along with me this season. I want to personally thank everyone who watched, commented, voted in the polls, and glanced at the blog from week one through now. You guys have once again made this an awesome experience for me. My thanks and love to MJ for allowing me to blog another incredible season. It has been my pleasure each and every Monday night.

Last night, Jana and her partner Gleb were eliminated, leaving Laurie & Val, James & Sharna, and Calvin & Lindsay as the three finalists. Each performed a redemption dance and a freestyle. Laurie’s scores took round one, following a footwork error from James. But in round two, it was arguably James’ freestyle that won out. Though Laurie and Calvin also earned perfect scores, James’ emotional routine may have clinched him the victory.

I am fully expecting Calvin to come in third. He is a fabulous dancer with tons of personality but his scores and dances over the season have been uneven. It would be a real surprise for him to do any better than third. Laurie has reached perfection many times this season but some would say that James has the more memorable routines and is the real breakout star of the season. It should also be noted that this would be Sharna’s very first victory if it happens.

I am totally torn on who will end up taking this. I think any of the three would be quite deserving. I wouldn’t be upset with any result to be honest. But what about you guys? Well, let’s take a look at the poll results from last night. These poll results are as of 6PM Eastern.

MJ readers seem to be completely in camp James now. 54% picked James & Sharna as their favorites, with Laurie & Val scoring 36% and Calvin & Lindsay with 10%. In the round one dances, James & Sharna’s foxtrot leads the way with 46%, followed by Laurie & Val’s paso at 43% and Calvin & Lindsay’s viennese waltz at 12%. In the freestyle roumd, James & Sharna are the clear favorites, earning 51% of the vote. Laurie & Val are at 32% and Calvin & Lindsay trail with 17%.

59% of you feel James & Sharna should win the show with 55% believing he indeed will. Laurie & Val have 38% of the who should win poll and 43% thinking they will win. Calvin & Lindsay are not even in double digits in either of those polls. 78% of you feel that the right person, in this case Jana, went home in fourth place and last night’s episode was once again rated quite high, on the line between being above average and amazing.

As you can see, it looks as though this site feels that James not only should win but will actually be named champion at the end of the night. And Calvin is the obvious pick for third place. You guys have been on point more times than not throughout this season, so I would be hard pressed to doubt the masses.

Click Photos to Watch Performance VIDEOS

Segment 1
It is Christmas at The Grove! Here comes all the eliminated celebrities. Big opening number, very much in the holiday spirit. And all of it choreographed by Mandy Moore. Tom and Erin welcome us to the show. A look back now at some of the highlights from last night with some added footage we didn’t see previously. Erin reminds us that the 24-hour fusion challenge is coming up as we take our first (of many) commercials. You guys can expect a lot of filler tonight.


Segment 2
We return and are in the ballroom now. James & Sharna are re-doing their quickstep from week four. We take a look back at the start of the season. Here we go with the Ryan Lochte controversy. Did you think they would recap this season without concentrating on it yet again? After a look back at weeks one through three, Andy Grammer arrives to sing his new song, “Fresh Eyes.” Keo and Allison with the dance assist.


Segment 3
Erin is at The Grove surrounded by shirtless men dancing. YEP. She is having a good time during this. Calvin & Lindsay re-do the argentine tango from week 6. Now for some filler. We get to see Maureen being a complete fangirl, as she has been all season. And she’s back live now to dance with Artem. Babyface and Ryan are included in the routine for all of ten seconds for no good reason. LOL. Okay. More filler. Time for a package dedicated to the funny happenings at dress rehearsals. The female pros/troupe members dance with Maks. Jenna getting a lot of airtime during this. She went home early with Jake but then did a nice job substituting for Sharna later on in the season when James needed a partner.


Segment 4
Laurie & Val up to reprise their week 10 samba. That’s an odd choice for a reprise. Laurie has had quite a few good routines I would have assumed they would pick first to do over. Perhaps the show wanted to get Maks in there? Back at The Grove, Vanilla Ice and Rick Perry (strong bromance here) perform. Well, Vanilla Ice is singing and dancing while Rick pretends to be a DJ. He dances a bit at the end and of course, it is as awkward as one would expect. Eric chats with the two. Aww, the show’s pros and cast members visited the children’s hospital. This is really sweet to see. Back live at The Grove, Babyface and Felicia Barton perform. Both performed holiday classics with assists from the pros and troupe members. It is Christmas everyone! Well, in a month.

Segment 5
Rick Perry is on the drums for some reason- and kicking them. The male pros get their own number. Calvin and James are included. Oh, there’s Ryan. So this is why Rick Perry was on drums? This way he didn’t need to be included in this number? And why is Ryan doing better now than he ever did on the show? Maybe without the judges looming, he feels less pressure. I didn’t see any other male celebs from this season included in that.


A look back at weeks four, five, and six. Jana & Gleb get a reprise and of course, they pick the smoking hot argentine tango from week 6. Once again, soaking wet! LOL @ Tom. He says to shower with a friend.

Segment 6
Back at The Grove, Terra and Marilu get a special routine. I don’t think Derek is in attendance tonight. He must be rehearsing for Hairspray, which airs live on NBC soon. And now, a look back at weeks seven, eight, nine, and ten. Back live, a special routine, choreographed by Mandy Moore and sponsored by Macy’s. This is cool. It involves both video and live dancing. Something one would see at a Christmas show in New York. Kudos to the little girl in this. She’s quite the dancer for her age. That was really beautiful to watch. Now make sure you do all you holiday shopping at Macy’s. I kid.


Segment 7
Time for a sneak preview of the DWTS tour. Cool. You can see that and a whole lot more if you go see the show on tour. For details, head on over DWTSTour.com. The tour kicks off in December. The judges and finalists talk about the competition that is this final three. We get the usual pros and cons from the judges about each finalist. For the final time, here come the finalists. Three athletes for the first time ever competing for the championship. The fusion challenge is coming up.

Segment 8
James & Sharna- a look back at their final rehearsal last night. James gives Sharna the first race suit he wore after his accident.

James & Sharna – Fusion
A lovely viennese waltz/foxtrot fusion. They effortlessly went from one style to the other, keeping the rise and fall and gliding action going without any issues. Very pretty.
Len congratulates James. He says James is a terrific dancer. He wishes he could dance like James. Julianne wishes she could dance with James. She says the dance captured James’ journey. Bruno calls James a class act. Carrie Ann feels the pressure to make sure the judges get it right. She says James’ dancing transports everyone.


Carrie Ann- 10
Len- 10
Julianne- 10
Bruno- 10
Total- 40/40

I would be shocked if the judges didn’t give all three perfect scores this way America really has the final say.

Segment 9
Calvin & Lindsay- a look back at their final rehearsal last night. The two have become really good friends. I love how they joke with one another.

Calvin & Lindsay – Fusion
Dang, quickstep/jive is a hard fusion to do. It wasn’t perfect (some sync issues) and Calvin got a bit winded at the end but I doubt the judges will say anything. Calvin is a joy to watch and this was a tough fusion to truly perfect. Points for that winning smile of course.


Julianne calls it the perfect fusion dance. She says it has been a joy to watch Calvin. Bruno calls it a delicious high spirited cocktail. Carrie Ann says Calvin has an X-factor. Len says watching Calvin makes you feel good.
Carrie Ann- 10
Len- 10
Julianne- 10
Bruno- 10
Total- 40/40

Yep, they are all getting perfect scores.

Segment 10
Laurie & Val- a look back at their final rehearsal last night. Laurie will miss Val. She feels as though she grew up and matured. She doesn’t like goodbyes. Val will miss her as well and feels it is time for her to fly.

Laurie & Val – Fusion
Wow. That had A LOT of content. It was a foxtrot/argentine tango and had a lot of lifts. All done impressively. And good argentine tango steps as well. A strong finish to the fusion dances.


Bruno calls Laurie a spectacular dancer. He says it was right on the money. Carrie Ann says this dance was Laurie’s best dance. Len says it was a fabulous dance to close a fabulous season. Julianne says Laurie finished it with a bang. OH! Laurie will be joining the DWTS Tour. Wow. That’s a big get for the tour.
Carrie Ann- 10
Len- 10
Julianne- 10
Bruno- 10
Total- 40/40

Tom, Laurie, and Val join Santa Claus in a sled (yes, Santa) as Santa drives them over to The Grove for the final results of the season.

Segment 11
Back live at The Grove. Oy. Here comes the ridiculously maudlin end of season song. I say this each time they do it but it bears repeating. While these songs are sweet, it makes it seem like someone is dying or that the contestants will never see one another again. It isn’t that serious people. Anyways, “Circles” is being performed by Jana Kramer. At least the finalists are smiling.

Ouch. A camera man fell before Jana came out to sing. The floor at The Grove is very slippery. I hope he’s alright. Perhaps the fake snow mixing with the moisture in the air wasn’t the best idea? Tom and Erin tell us it is time for results.

The couple who has landed in 3rd place is… Calvin & Lindsay

Tom and Erin give Calvin & Lindsay their due and the audience applauds wildly. A job well done for Calvin and another brilliant season of choreography from Lindsay. Final results are up next.

Segment 12
And…here we go. With only a few minutes left in the telecast, time to give the new champions their mirror ball and lift them on some shoulders. Final results of season twenty-three right now…

The winners and new champions of DWTS are… Laurie & Val!

Laurie thanks everyone for the support. Her goal is to inspire others. Val tells the kids out there you don’t have to wait to grow up to change the world. James never thought he would finish second. He gives Laurie credit. He also thanks Sharna.

Tom presents the trophy to the new champions. They lift it up. And now, the stage will be even more slippy with confetti. Tomorrow, as usual, all the finalists will be on Good Morning America. Tom and Erin tells us to come back in March for a brand new season and sign off for the night.


Hope you guys enjoyed the finale and the season. Thanks once again for watching along with me the last eleven weeks. Perhaps I’ll see you guys in the spring! Goodnight. And have a happy and healthy holiday season. :D