'Dancing with the Stars' Season finale live-blog: Who will take home the Mirror ball?

Well, here we are — the end of another emotional, energetic, largely unsurprising (but who cares) season of Dancing with the Stars. Left in competition as of 8pmEST: Derek and Amy, Candace and Mark, and Meryl and Maks. We've got our opinions and hopes as to who might take home the mirror ball trophy (M&M all the way) but then we don't actually know how it will shake out. That's the point of live television!

10:56pm: Who won?!?!?!?!?!

The judges' scores are combined. The peoples' scores are tabulated. Maks has tears in his eyes. M&M; Amy and Derek. Four people left on the stage. Who is it going to be?




They embrace, passionately, right before all the other dancers swarm them on stage. "It was all you," says Meryl. "There's a reason it didn't happen before," says Maks, "because it was meant to happen with this one."

And then, the presentation of the mirror ball trophy. Maks and Meryl are hoisted on the shoulders of their fellow dancers, their hands woven together around the base of the trophy.

This is how it was supposed to end. Everyone should be very happy!

10:47pm: Who's in third place?!?

Candace and Mark, duh.

"I feel like I already won," says Candace. Mark: "It was a complete joy and an honor to get to know you. I know we'll stay friends."

10:38pm: Meryl and Maks foxtrot their way into our hearts/history

Maks: "As a teacher, I'm very proud. As a friend, I'm even more proud." Meryl: "He's taught me so much about growing as a person."

The dance is, as expected, phenomenal. Quick, leggy (Meryl loses her train!), sexy, fun, and electric. God, I love these two. It would be absolutely ridiculous if they didn't win, come on.

What do the judges think? Carrie Ann: "The best part of this season was you two. Your artistry, your focus, your passion — all of it." Len: "If this is my last season, I couldn't ask for a better dance to go out on." Bruno: "Watching you two is like when you rediscover the passion and the excitement of your first love."

(#BlushingRussianAndHisFairyQueen is a great hashtag)

Scores: 30/30, bringing their two-day total to 90/90, PERFECT

10:29pm: Candace and Mark do their fusion thing

"This was the toughest of all 10 weeks," says Candace. I believe her!

Their final dance doesn't particularly excited, and actually calls back to what I thought was one of their weaker dances — the Disney Night "crab walk" they did to "Under the Sea." But it's nice to see Candace in front of everyone, doing her thing and so excited to be there.

The judges applaud her efforts in a way that says more "good job, kids!" than it does "you were fantastic!" Obviously they won't win. But in terms of raw improvement over the course of the last ten weeks, Candace takes the cake.

Scores: 27/30, for a total of 78/90

10:19pm: *Finally*, we return to our finale dancers

"Look what you did," says Derek. "Look what we did," says Amy. Awwwwwwwwwww. Like the end of a particular nice sitcom, Amy turns the light off on their studio.

Their dance... is electric, and tight. "You are a fantastic dancer, and that was a fantastic fusion," says Len. "You're unforgettable," says Carrie Ann.

Scores: 30/30, giving them 89 total points over the last two nights.

10:09pm: Oh right, there are dances to be danced tonight!

"I want to ravage her and have big Russian ice skating babies with her," says Maks of Meryl, in what may or may not be a joke. "When are you going to ask her to marry you?" "Probably tomorrow."

Meryl blushes, blushes, blushes through this interview, in which she and Maks just sway away. It's sweet as all hell.

Then some sort of dance sponsored by Walgreen's, fronted by Amber Riley (last year's winner). I give up.

9:46pm: Cody Simpson performs "Surfboard," because none of us have anything else to do

Okay. Armed with the knowledge that this show will not be done in 14 minutes, but 74, it seems silly for me to write about these pre-performances which, nice as they are, are just ridiculous stalling. Hey, ABC! It doesn't need to be two hours!

9:34pm: Charlie and Meryl together for the first time*

*on the show. You all know they won Olympic gold, right?

But that's just a quick precursor to NeNe Leakes' return to the stage, where she once again regales us with her shoulder-popping and hip-thrusting.

THEN, more reflection on every single week of this show. Switch-up night. Disney night. Party anthem night.

Turns out I picked the right picture for this recap, because we're once again treated to Val and Danica's "Be Our Guest" waltz from Disney Night. It's wonderful! What else can I say?!

JUST LEARNED: This episode is going on for another f**king hour and 20 minutes HOLY JESUS

9:25pm: Time travel back to Week One

There's not much to say. It happened!

Thankfully the video montage is cut short by some actual dancing, courtesy of Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke. He looks lighter on his feet than the last time we saw him, like all he needed was a few weeks off.

9:11pm: Team Loco and Iggy Azalea kill another 10 minutes

I mean it's fun to see everyone dancing the Latin Night routine Amy's injury forced them to sit out a few weeks ago, but it's not necessary.

More interesting: the pros (Maks, Derek, Mark) talking about their partners and the tremendous strides they've made all season.

Iggy Azalea takes the stage with... some technical difficulties, resulting in an awkward beginning for sure. But like the best DWTS contestants, she bounces back.

Don't worry, we've got like 12 other live musical acts before we get to the final dance routines and the mirror ball coronation.

9:00pm: Finale time, finally!

All the professional dancers from this season are back. Wait, not just them — the judges, and the exited celebrities have all exploded onto the stage, too. Billy Dee is even back! With stormtroopers! Drew Carey's got a microphone that he dips like a woman! It is a VISUAL FEAST that everyone at home — whether you like sexy men or sexy women or whoever else — can enjoy!


"Tomorrow's the last episode," says Maks, crying as he reflects on the season that just took place. When they win tonight, there had better be a dynamite kiss to cap off the whole season.

Of course we've got to get through one last hyper-aggressive, super-annoying freestyle from James and Peta before we can return to the couples still in competition.

8:53pm: Meryl and Maks' turning point

They revisit week 6, where Maks lost his cool in rehearsal... and Meryl reached out to grab his hand. "You're questioning yourself. Your problem is... you're scared." Meryl, like the rest of America, feels like this was a pivotal moment in their relationship. "I've never asked anyone to hold my hand before." OH MY GOD. "You can hold my hand anytime."

Judges' commentary! Len: "[Meryl] is the chased, not the chaser." Bruno: "Meryl is one of the finest dancers we've ever had." Carrie Ann: "They have the best partnership we've ever seen. She brings out the best in Maks...and he brings out a whole other side of this Olympic champion we've never seen before."

Fan question time! Asked what he'll miss about Meryl, Maks says he loves her "genuineness" and the way she thinks she can "pep him all the time." Maks avoids the question about dating, and Meryl blushes. AHHHHHHHHH.

8:42pm: Meryl Davis: Who is she?

Eighteen minutes! And we've saved the best for last: Meryl and Maks. Arguably the best thing we learn here is that Meryl's mom is named Cheryl. I'd have settled for Carol, but Cheryl... just about perfect.

"Meryl is flourishing with the freedom she has to explore herself" says her friend of Meryl's relationship with Maks. "I've never seen Meryl flirt this much with other guys," says her sorority sister.

"Maks' perspective rubbing off on me... I've become more confident with who I am." GOD DAMN.

They watch one of their signature dances, an Argentine tango. "It's like a visual orgasm," says Maks. And how!

8:30pm: Get out of your head, Candace Cameron Bure!

Flashback: Candace and Mark visit Dr. Jenn, a sports psychologist, when Candace's yips proved to be too much. Candace learns it's okay not to be perfect.

Judge commentary time! Bruno: "somehow halfway through, she started to enjoy herself." Len: "Candace has it in her to win the whole thing. She just needs to realize it." Carrie Ann hedges her commentary: "America will be so excited if Candace wins, because it will prove the underdog can come through."

Question time! "What happens if you need to take a potty break right before you perform?" Mark says he holds it in; Candace says she just goes all day long. We know these people so much better now!

8:20pm: This is your life, Candace Cameron Bure

Commentary from Candace's sons, her daughter, her husband, and of course Bob Saget reminds us that Candace is a longtime dedicated mother.


Candace and Mark re-watch what she considers to be their worst routine, when they cha-cha'ed to that song from Girls season two when Hannah was on coke. It's not bad, but you can hear everything Candace is saying — that this was a sort of unconfident performance. "This was a turning point for us," says Candace.

8:oopm: Amy and Derek leaf through the memory book

Because we've got to fill these 2 hours somehow, we watch Amy and Derek... watch Amy and Derek, in old photos (Amy's surgery photos are particularly affecting) and dance footage.

We get some judges' opinions on the pair. Len: "Amy has achieved the impossible." Bruno calms the fuck down for the first time ever to describe the connection she's achieved with her partner, and I think why couldn't you do this on a regular basis?!? Carrie Ann on Amy overcoming the obstacles presented by her legs: "it's mind-boggling."

Then, Amy and Derek answer fan questions. Learned: Derek loves rubbing holes in her shirts, and Amy doesn't feel pain in her feet ( ...because she doesn't have them).

Image: ABC