SAN DIEGO, Calif., May 18, 2018: The abbreviated four-week season for the special all-athletes edition of “Dancing With The Stars” has flashed by in world-record time. Capping off the race for the Mirror Ball Trophy, Monday’s special finale features three final competitors.
Everyone expected figure skater Adam Rippon and pro Jenna Johnson to make the final. But NFL star Josh Norman and pro partner Sharna Burgess? Josh showed talent in week one, but there was no assurance he’d gain enough skills and fan votes to be here in week three.
The biggest surprise: Olympic and world figure skating veteran Tonya Harding. Making the final for Harding and pro partner Sasha Farber is already a victory. America loves a redemption story. So when Harding showed she’s still an athlete who has acquired the grace which sometimes eluded her as a competitive figure skater, they’ve given her the validation she was always looking for.
Monday’s finale: two dances and fan votes for the win
All ten of the athletes reunited at the top of the live show for a group dance number. The three finalist couples will each perform two dances. The first round will be inspired by their journey on the show. Assignments include Jazz, Foxtrot and Viennese waltz routine.
The second round is the traditional no-holds-barred freestyle dance. At the end of the night, based on “last chance” live viewer votes in the Eastern and Central time zones via ABC.com and Facebook, plus the judges’ scores and last week’s viewer votes, one couple will be crowned the champion and will life the special edition Athletes Mirror Ball Trophy.
Dance assignments for the finals:
Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson: Jazz, “Anything You Can Do” from “Annie Get Your Gun” (New Broadway cast recording)
Josh Norman and Sharna Burgess: Foxtrot, “Conqueror” by the “Empire” TV show cast, featuring Estelle and Jussie Smollett
Tonya Harding and Sasha Farber, Viennese Waltz: “The Time of My Life” by David Cook
Each couple will dance freestyle to the following songs (in alphabetical order):
Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson: “Scooby Doo Pa Pa” by DJ Kass
Josh Norman and Sharna Burgess: “Walk on Water” by Thirty Seconds to Mars
Tonya Harding and Sasha Farber: “I Will Survive” by The Pussycat Dolls
Prediction: No change from our original choice for the Mirror Ball Trophy
We predicted Adam Rippon, the tongue-in-cheek self-declared “America’s Sweetheart,” would take home the Mirror Ball Trophy before week one, and he’s fulfilled all our expectations. He would need to crash and burn in a serious way with the judges to lose.
Tonya Harding has been our big surprise. She may slide into second place, based strictly on the number of fan votes helping prop her up. America got her into the finale, and may get her into second place.
Josh Norman deserves to place higher than third based strictly on skills. If he and pro Sharna Burgess were competing in a normal 12-week season, he’d have time to develop his impressive athletic skills into even better ballroom dancing, and get more fans behind him. Because of the short season, he may end up in third strictly due to unfamiliarity with fans.
It’s a finale where there are truly no also-rans, and the fans are the winners.
Read More: DWTS Cast of Champions
In the final week, ONLY viewers in the Eastern and Central Time Zones may cast their ‘last-chance” votes for their favorite couples during the live show via online voting at ABC.com at http://dwtsvote.abc.go.com/ and on Facebook at http://bit.ly/2o1VO7b.