‘Dancing With the Stars’ Season 31 Champion Charli D’Amelio Talks Mirror Ball Win & Future of ‘The D’Amelio Show’

Mark Ballas and Charli D'Amelio on 'Dancing With the Stars'
ABC/Eric McCandless

It wasn’t a surprise that Charli D’Amelio (The D’Amelio Show) and Gabby Windey (The Bachelorette) were the top two finalists in Season 31 of Dancing With the Stars after each celebrity and their respective pro partners, Mark Ballas and Valentin Chmerkovskiy, earned perfect scores in both their redemption and freestyle dances in the finale.

So, you could say that it came down to which was the stronger fanbase — TikTok (which launched D’Amelio’s career) or #BachelorNation. The former turned out to have the louder voice as D’Amelio and Ballas were announced as winners of the coveted mirror ball trophy.

TV Insider was on the post-show press line right on the ballroom floor after the show to talk to the winning couple and other Season 31 favorites.

“It happened so fast that I really couldn’t comprehend what was going on,” D’Amelio says of what was going through her mind when she and Ballas were proclaimed the winners.

There was no prolonged pause as there has been in past years. “It went fairly quickly,” Ballas concurs. “Usually, it’s a long thing.” Why did it happen so fast? “Usually, we do it on Tuesdays,” the three-time champion suggests. “You have the whole show for [the announcement].”

The episode was a callback to finales of yesteryear in that everyone from Jason Lewis (Sex and the City), the first celeb voted off back in September, to semi-finalists Trevor Donovan and Daniel Durant (CODA) returned not to just to wave hello but to actually hit the dance floor and perform one last number. Who does Ballas credit for the return to the familiar? “Conrad Green,” he simply states, referring to the show’s executive producer who returned to DWTS this season after a long absence. “And [co-executive producer] Deena Katz.”

Charli D'Amelio and Mark Ballas on 'Dancing With the Stars'

ABC/Eric McCandless

“I think we were just so happy to have made it to the finales and to do performances we were proud of,” D’Amelio says. “Winning means people liked the dances.”

Ballas didn’t employ tons of bells and whistles with other dancers and props and sets but rather just kept the duo’s freestyle focused on the dance. “I wanted it to feel like a miniature movie that took you on a journey and highlighted this lovely young lady’s journey,” Ballas says. “There were so many little nuggets in the dance. I wanted it to feel like a roller coaster.”

What’s next for D’Amelio? She’s launched her own fragrance, appropriately titled “Born Dreamer.” Will she incorporate her DWTS journey into the next season of The D’Amelio Show on Hulu? “Well…” she begins, “Did we announce that yet? Well, we are!” Has she jumped the gun with the announcement? “My bad! Sorry about that!” she hastens to add.

As his return to the ballroom couldn’t have gone better, might Ballas be back for a Season 32 in 2023? “It’s too early for that,” he responds. “I’m still taking this in at the moment.”

Shangela and Gleb Savchenko on 'Dancing With the Stars'

ABC/Eric McCandless

Drag performer Shangela and pro partner Gleb Savchenko performed a memorable showstopper with the latter going in drag in support of his celebrity. They came in fourth but Shangela still feels like a winner. “I’m so grateful to feel the momentum of people behind me and who were showing us so much love and to have delivered an iconic moment in Dancing With the Stars history,” Shangela said.

How did Savchenko respond to the idea of performing the duo’s freestyle in drag as “Natasha”? “With the show that I co-host, We’re Here, I’m accustomed to putting people in drag for their very first time,” Shangela says. “I was excited that Gleb was not hesitant at all. He said, ‘If we make it into the finale, I’m going to do it!’ It says a lot for a cisgender hetero man to say, ‘I’m going to do drag.’ Hopefully, it’ll show people that they don’t have to be afraid of drag and allow people to just be themselves.”

Next, Shangela can be seen in a touring show in ‘Fully Lit,’ which heads to Boston in January 2023.

Chmerkovskiy sees Windey as a born entertainer and their freestyle not only earned a perfect score but also serves as a nice audition reel for The Bachelorette star to land the lead in a revival of Chicago. Is she headed to Broadway? “Hell, no!” Windey quips. “I’m too lazy. I need a break!”

“We feel good,” Chmerkovskiy adds. “Excited and grateful. It was a great finale.”

Season 31 was historic in that original judge Len Goodman announced his retirement and pro dancer Cheryl Burke, a two-time mirror ball champion, shared she’s competed for the last time on the show. DWTS added co-host to the show this year with past mirror ball champion Alfonso Ribeiro.

“It was fantastic for me,” Ribeiro says. “I know the journey they’re all going through. To be here week in, week out, asking the stars and dance pros questions and gaining their trust has been incredible. It’s all about them. It’s knowing everyone’s stories and spending time with them. I sit here and hang with them during rehearsals on Sundays. I felt wonderful that they shared so much with me.”