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Exceptional performances highlight “Dancing With The Stars” finale

Written By | May 23, 2016

SAN DIEGO, May 23, 2016 – After an evening of skilled performances full of meaning and emotion, including three of the best Freestyle routines in 22 seasons, everyone is a winner on “Dancing With The Stars” whether a competitor, a judge, or just a fan.

All three couples in the Season 22 finals of “Dancing With The Stars” have a real chance to win the Mirror Ball Trophy. All season long, fans have enjoyed one of the highest overall levels of ballroom dancing skills ever.

Dancing With The Stars: Finale Fan Chat – Who wins the Mirror Ball?

In one last night of competition on Monday, Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovskiy, Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd, and Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas gave everything they had left to make their case to America.

Ginger and Val performed a Jazz routine to a slowed-down version of the Coldplay hit “Adventure of a Lifetime.” Ginger injured her back earlier in the week, and said using the bench during the routine was a struggle. She and Val said they would make no excuses. The judges gave them 28 points for the routine including a 10 from judge Len Goodman.

Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovskiy channeled old Hollywood in their Freestyle routine. Photo: ABC

Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovskiy fought through a back injury but put together two lovely dance routines. Photo: ABC

Nyle and Peta danced a Quickstep. Nyle said they received a lot of criticism from the judges during their first Quickstep attempt. The routine has a lighthearted Western saloon theme, and while it was improved from the first Quickstep, there were slight synchronization problems. The routine received 27 points.

Paige and Mark performed a Salsa, and it was by far the favorite of the live ballroom audience. Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli praised Paige for her improvement and footwork, but Len Goodman said he wanted to see a little more hip action. It scored 29 points, putting them first on the leaderboard after the first round.

Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas sizzled in their Judges' Redemption Salsa routine. Photo: ABC

Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas sizzled in their Judges’ Redemption Salsa routine. Photo: ABC

Ginger and Val performed a tribute to another Ginger, Ginger Rogers, in their Freestyle routine to “Orange Colored Sky” by Nat King Cole. The judges praised the old Hollywood musical look atnd the styling. Judge Len Goodman told Ginger pain is temporary, glory lasts a lifetime. Carrie Ann said the show’s original popularity was a throwback to another time, and Ginger and Val spoke to the heart and spirit of this. They were rewarded with 30 points, a perfect score.

Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd wanted to send a message with their Freestyle, a Contemporary routine set to “The Sounds of Silence” by Disturbed. It was a powerful, deeply emotional routine, which Nyle explained: “Really the freestyle, there’s a meaning behind it. We often tell people we know how to raise out children, but we’re not listened to. We showed that through the freestyle tonight. We know what’s best. Let us show you.” His parnter Peta said, “It’s unlike any other journey I’ve ever experienced on the show.” Carrie Ann Inaba called it the single best routine she has ever witnessed in 22 season on the show. It received a well deserved perfect score of 30 points.

Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas had a hard act to follow, but told an equally emotional story, overcoming personal challenges and finding success and happiness, in their Contemporary routine to “Over the Rainbow” performed live by singer-songwriter BC Jean (who is Mark’s fiancee). Paige said in week one she just wanted to show people she “is a girl, not just a fighter.” She did, and by the finish it seemed everyone including normally stoic parnter Mark Ballas was in tears, echoing his fellow professional when he said he’d never experienced anything like dancing with Paige in 18 season on the show. It also received 30 well deserved points.

Any of the three finalists are worthy of taking home the Mirror Ball Trophy. Who will the fans choose? Photo: ABC

Any of the three finalists are worthy of taking home the Mirror Ball Trophy. Who will the fans choose? Photo: ABC

Couples will now have one last element of competition on Tuesday, the “24-Hour Fusion Challenge.” The remaining couples will fuse two contrasting dance styles in less than 24 hours to earn a few more judges’ points. At this point, the scores represent about a 3.5 percent spread from first to third. The fan votes will determine the winner of the Season 22 Mirror Ball Trophy.

To determine the Season 22 champion, votes from last week and this week (May 16 and May 23) will be combined, making up 50 percent of the weighted score. The other 50 percent is the total judges’ points from both weeks. The “24-Hour Fusion Challenge” will be added to the judges’ half to the determine the winner, who will be presented with the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy.

Voting Information: In this Finals Week, viewers may cast their votes for their favorite couples via phone on Monday night during and up to 60 minutes after the end of the “Dancing with the Stars” broadcast in each time zone. Online voting at and on Facebook at is open for 24 hours, beginning from the start of the episode on the East Coast at 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT and closing at 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT on Tuesday evening.

Who will take the real thing home on Tuesday night? Photo: ABC

Who will take the real thing home on Tuesday night? Photo: ABC

As a reminder, here are the scores will which go toward determining a winner:

Finals Leaderboard

Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas:
Salsa, 29 points; Freestyle, 30 points = 59 points this week
118 points total over two weeks
Phone: 800-868-3410

Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd:
Quickstep, 27 points; Freestyle, 30 points = 57 points this week
114 points total over two weeks
Phone: 800-868-3409

Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovskiy:
Jazz, 28 points; Freestyle, 30 points = 58 points this week
114 points total over two weeks
Phone: 800-868-3404

“Dancing With the Stars” returns for “The Results” on Tuesday, May 24, at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time on the ABC Television Network. Join CommDigiNews final Season 22 Chat

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.  

Copyright © 2016 by Falcon Valley Group

Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award-winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.