It was good to see so many familiar favorites return to the dance floor on the second night of the two-night season finale, most notably Vanilla Ice for me. The only thing separating the three remaining couples from being crowned the Season 23 champions was the 24-Hour Fusion Challenge in which each remaining couple had just 24 hours to successfully fuse two different dance styles together in a rather unique way.
James Hinchcliffe with Sharna Burgess, Viennese Waltz/Foxtrot
I’m no expert, but I thought James and Sharna nailed the Viennese Waltz/Foxtrot Fusion. They glided effortlessly across the floor in a vision of spectacular white. Len told James that he’s a terrific dancer who deserved to be in the finale, while Julianne said she wished she could dance with him. Bruno called him a class act – an artist of great versatility creating magic with his partner every week. Carrie Ann said it was a perfect fusion and she enjoys watching James dance because it’s always like watching a fairy tale brought to life. I would concur.
Calvin Johnson Jr. with Lindsay Arnold, Quick Step/Jive
Combining a Quick Step with a Jive to the tune of Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” is no easy feat, but there was no better couple than Calvin and Lindsay to pull off the high energy and fun of such a task. I loved Calvin’s sparkly blue suit and Lindsay’s cotton candy-inspired dress. Visually, their Fusion Dance was a delicious treat. Julianne called it the perfect fusion dance and said there aren’t enough rhinestones on earth to outshine Calvin. Bruno likened it to a high-spirited cocktail, admiring Calvin’s charm. Carrie Ann can’t describe Calvin’s appeal, but she said he makes the world a better place by dancing for every man. Len compared Calvin’s dancing to chicken soup for the eyes, saying it’s always a joyful experience to watch.
Laurie Hernandez with Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Foxtrot/Argentine Tango
Laurie and Val dazzled in gold during their Foxtrot/Argentine Tango Fusion Dance that really showcased Laurie’s strengths in the competition. Bruno admired her flawless technique and her ability to play the part convincingly. Carrie Ann told her she has blown her mind every week but she thought the Fusion Dance took her to another level. Len called her “Little Miss Dynamite” and said it was a knock-out dance to end the competition. Julianne said she was nervous because every single couple came out with a bang and she couldn’t decide who the champions should be.
All three couples were neck and neck, receiving perfect scores on their Dance Fusions. After finalist Jana Kramer performed one of her hit singles, it was revealed that Calvin and Lindsay took third place this season (to the surprise of no one). In second place was James and Sharna. That meant Laurie and Val deservedly took home the Mirror Ball Trophy as Season 23 champs. I was excited for Laurie and Val, but my heart broke more than a little that James and Sharna weren’t declared the winners. Both couples gave it an honest run for their money.
Did your favorite team win? Tell us in the comments below!