TikTok star Charli D’Amelio and dance partner Mark Ballas won Season 31 of the reality show “Dancing with the Stars.” Co-hosts Tyra Banks and Alfonso Ribeiro announced the results live on Monday night to certain fans’ disappointment.
“I think for me, I really just gave everything I had to this journey and I got so much out of it, whether it’s confidence in my dancing, new friends, you know, memories that I’ll remember forever,” D’Amelio told “Good Morning America.”
“I had a really lovely time, made a great friend and had a great time creating and dancing with Charli,” Ballas said on “GMA.” “And also to be on the floor with all my comrades, I’ve grown up with all of them. I loved it. I had a really beautiful time.”
This was Ballas’ first time on the “DWTS” stage in five years.
Four pairs of dancers competed for the coveted “mirrorball” on Monday following 10 weeks of competition. Former “Bachelorette” Gabby Windey and dancer Val Chmerkovskiy won runner-up, competing alongside game-show host Wayne Brady and partner Witney Carson, who placed third.
The show made history this season, casting the first drag queen, Shangela.
Shangela previously starred on the reality series “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and won fourth place in the “DWTS” competition alongside partner Gleb Savchenko. During the show, Shangela commented on the shooting Saturday at a gay club in Colorado. “An attack on the LGBTQ community cannot be supported… we need more love, less hate. Just know, there is hope, baby,” Shangela said.
The finale streamed live on Disney+ and featured two routines: a redemption dance chosen by one of the four judges and a freestyle dance.
The redemption dance provides an opportunity for dancers to showcase improvement from an earlier routine in the season. Shangela and Brady’s teams performed quick-step dances, both earning 36 points. D’Amelio and Ballas performed a jive, earning a perfect score alongside Windey and Chmerkovskiy who showcased a cha-cha routine and also received a perfect score of 40 points.
Judge Bruno Tonioli declared D’Amelio as the “queen of jive,” following the routine, saying she was “as good as I’ve ever seen.”
The freestyle dance allowed contestants to choose the dance style, costumes, and music for their last routine. All four pairs received perfect scores in their freestyle dances, leaving contestants and viewers eager to know who won the famed competition. D’Amelio and Widney’s teams ended with total perfect scores of 80 for both routines while Brady and Shangela’s teams both completed the finale at 76 points.
D’Amelio and Widney were neck-and-neck during the entire competition, leaving many fans to speculate if the TikTok star won due to her social media fame and how much of her dance background impacted the judge’s decisions. Fans of Widney went to social media to voice their disappointment but fortunately, they will be able to see the former “Bachelorette” star dance again. Widney will be performing in the Dancing with the Stars tour across the country with D’Amelio joining her in some performances.
Widney still showcased her affection for the show in the live airing saying, “I’m really blessed to be surrounded by people who want the best for you no matter what… Val is an amazing teacher, he’s made my whole experience.”
Notable moments in the finale included dancer Cheryl Burke’s departure announcement after 17 years on the show as well as judge Len Goodman’s retirement celebration in which he received a mirror ball of his own.
The finale also showcased highlights from the past season. Three pairs who were eliminated from the show came back as well as Selma Blair, who previously left the show in the middle of the season following health complications. Blair performed a contemporary number to a live performance of the song “No Air” by Jordin Sparks during the live finale.
Before winning, D’Amelio discussed her journey on the show following her rise to TikTok fame in 2020.
“I didn’t think I would fall back in love with dancing. This is the happiest and most myself I’ve felt,” she said. “I’ve gotten to rediscover this part of me that I’ve loved for so long and then just closed the door on. Winning Dancing with the Stars would be the icing on the cake.”