Are you with me longtime "Dancing with the Stars" fans? Isn't it nice that there's not a clear frontrunner this season and we actually didn't turn on the TV knowing who was going to win the mirrorball trophy? Will it be Meryl Davis, Candace Cameron Bure, or Amy Purdy?
Yes we had to sit through 80 minutes of flashbacks and fillers to get to the meat of this finale (and this after an hour show called "The Road to the Finals"). The montages included clips from each theme night, a Freestyle encore by James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd (thanks to voters on twitter), lots of musical guests, Olympians Charlie White and Meryl Davis dancing together for the first time on the show and a "Best of Erin Andrews" piece highlighting her quick quips.
A couple of my favorite lines from the interviews with the couples: Candace told Mark Ballas he reminded her of her 14-year-old, and Mark replied, "You remind me of my Grandma." And Maksim Chmerkovskiy showed the most revealing side to himself, ever, when he said he wanted to marry Meryl and have skating Russian babies named Boris and Olaf, but they would be nicknamed Bear. Yes, Maks blushed after that played on national TV!
The only dance that has any influence in the final outcome is the "24 Hour Fusion," which was done for judges' scores only. Those were combined with Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Bruno Tonioli's scores from Monday night, plus the viewer votes and "TA DA!" We have a winner! (FIND OUT WHO WON HERE.)
Here's a recap of those "Fusion" dances:
Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy -- Tuesday: 30 out of 30 points for their Foxtrot/Cha Cha Cha "Fusion Dance" / Monday: 30 out of 30 points for their Argentine Tango / 30 out of 30 points for their Freestyle = 90 out of 90 total points.
I don't think it mattered what two dances Meryl and Maks would have had to fuse together; they have nailed every single routine this season, in my opinion. Foxtrot and Cha Cha Cha? No problem! Even their costume worked better than anyone else's!
At their final rehearsal, Maks speaks from the heart and tells Meryl that as a teacher he's very proud, but as a friend, he's even prouder. I think he's made women swoon more than ever this season!
Carrie Ann told the duo season 18 has been phenomenal overall, but their partnership has been the best part; Bruno said watching the two helped him rediscover his first love ... dance. And then Len dropped the bombshell: He said this season may be his last on the judge's panel! But if it is, he says she couldn't have asked for a better last dance.
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough -- Tuesday: 30 out of 30 points for their Argentine Tango/Cha Cha Cha "Fusion Dance" / Monday: 30 out of 30 points for their "Judges' Pick" Salsa / 29 out of 30 points for their Freestyle = 89 out of 90 total points.
Amy and Derek Hough get to throw the Argentine Tango and the Cha Cha Cha in a blender and fuse them into a new type of routine. Was there any doubt they would be great? Nope. We get to see the duo have their final time in the rehearsal studio, and through tears Amy said this doesn't feel like an ending but rather a beginning for her.
Len called her a fantastic dancer; Bruno praised her unbreakable spirit and called what she's done a life lesson for us all and Carrie Ann said she could write a "Dear Amy" love letter about this entire season.
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas -- Tuesday: 27 out of 30 points for their Quickstep/Samba "Fusion Dance" / Monday: 27 out of 30 points for their Quickstep / 24 out of 30 points for their Freestyle = 78 out of 90 total points.
Candace THOUGHT after she finished the quickstep on Monday night she'd never have to do that very tough dance again. Wrong! She was assigned the Quickstep/Samba fusion. She lets us know how physically and mentally exhausted she is after the ordeal with Mark's bad shoulder, but nobody puts DJ Tanner in the corner and she gives it whatever she's got left.
Len called her a true dark horse and credited her with keeping the faith all season; and Bruno said with all her ups and downs, she remained charming and adorable.
Who do YOU think should have won "Dancing With The Stars"? Vote in our poll.