"DWTS" Season 19 Finale: And the Winner Is...

Alfonso Ribeiro!!!

(photo via AJC.com)

I, for one, am thrilled. I've been #TeamWitfonso since day one. From that first jive, to the Carlton dance, to that paso trio, this dynamic duo has had so many memorable moments throughout the season—and I can't help but feel a little proud.

OK, OK. Enough gushing! On to our highlights from the two part "Dancing with the Stars" Season 19 finale extravaganza.

It all started off on Monday night, when the final four couples competed for the Top 3 spots. Each couple performed twice: one "judge's pick" and one freestyle. As per "DWTS" ushe, it was the freestyle round that really struck a chord—with the audience and the judges. All teams earned perfect 40s, but in my opinion, Sadie Robertson and Alfonso Ribeiro out-danced their opponents. TBH, it could've been Mark Ballas and Witney Carson's keen eye for choreo that won me over.

I'm a complete sucker when it comes to classic video games, so Mark and Sadie's Super Mario Bros.-themed freestyle dance gave me all of the nostalgia feels. That moment when Sadie popped into the air like those piranha plants that would pop out of those green pipe thingies?!? (My nerd is showing...) Gah it was just so, so good.

When Witney revealed that Alfonso would be tap dancing in the finale, I just about lost it. And let me tell you, their freestyle to "Sing, Sing, Sing" would've made the Tap Dancing Kid proud.

But the absolute highlight of Monday night had to be the live performance by the cast of the upcoming remake of Annie, starring Quvenzhane Wallis. The girls performed a show-stopping routine to "It's a Hard Knock Life," choreographed by Mandy Moore.

At the end of the show, Bethany Mota and Derek Hough were eliminated, leaving Alfonso Ribeiro, Sadie Robertson and Janel Parrish to battle it out for the Mirror Ball Trophy.

Last night's episode felt more like a celebration than a competition (although, I'm sure the Top 3 were sweatin' in their boots...err dancing shoes). The show brought pack eliminated contestants to revisit some season faves, and we got a good dose of candid behind-the-scenes clips. Most importantly, we got to see the pros do their thing! #Finally. We've been asking for more performances from the Pro Troupe Team all season.

First, we got to see Lindsay Arnold and Artem Chigvintsev dance a SMOKIN' hot routine to Nick Jonas' live performance of "Jealous."

Then, the ladies of "DWTS" got "All About That Bass" with Meghan Trainor.

But nothing from last night's show could top Alfonso and Witney's reaction when they earned that coveted Mirror Ball Trophy. So many emotions!! Congrats, #TeamWitfonso, you totally deserve it. I'll let Carlton Banks have the final word (read: dance) on this one, folks.

Latest Posts


Trans dancer, choreographer, and activist Sean Dorsey in his work Boys in Trouble (Keegan Marling, courtesy Sean Dorsey Dance)

8 Phenomenal Trans and GNC Dancers to Follow

Whether through color-specific costumes, classes separated by sex, or the "traditional" view of the roles boys and girls should play in ballet, most dance students are taught that their gender determines their role in the studio beginning in elementary school. And, especially for those struggling with their own gender identity, that can cause harm and confusion. "From a very young age, I did not see myself reflected anywhere in the modern dance field," says trans dancer, choreographer, and activist Sean Dorsey. "There was a really intense message I received, which was that my body and identity don't have a place here."

Despite significant societal progress in regards to gender representation, the dance world has trailed behind, and many transgender and gender nonconforming teenagers still feel lost within the world of dance. Prominent trans and GNC professional dancers are few and far between. "Being a Black trans woman means I have to work extra, extra, extra hard, because I have to set the tone for the people who come after me," says Brielle "Tatianna" Rheames, a distinguished voguer.

But the rise of social platforms has given Rheames, Dorsey, and other trans and GNC dancers a path to visibility—and that visibility helps create community and change lives. "Social media plays an extremely big part," Rheames says. "You can't just hide us anymore." Here are eight incredible trans and GNC dancers to add to your own Instagram feed.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search