‘Dancing With the Stars’ Season 29: And the Winner Is… (RECAP)

Dancing With the Stars Kaitlyn Nev Justina Nelly Season 29
Spoiler Alert
ABC/Eric McCandless

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 29 finale of Dancing With the Stars.]

The finalists head into their last dances on high notes, having had perfect scores the last time they hit the floor. But who walks away with the win in Season 29?

The Dancing With the Stars‘ finale sees the remaining four couples repeat one of their favorite dances from the season before the fan-favorite Freestyle. Plus, there are some special performances: Finalist Nelly performs a medley of his greatest hits (“Ride Wit Me,” “Lil Bit,” and “Hot in Herre”), while partner Daniella Karagach dances with her husband, Pasha Pashkov. And judge Derek Hough once again takes to the ballroom floor (solo, this time), dancing to “Let’s Fall in Love for the Night.”

Below, we breaking down both rounds and the scores. Read on to find out how each has done, and who won the Mirrorball Trophy in Season 29.

Kaitlyn Bristowe’s Repeat Dance to “Toxic” by Britney Spears (Argentine Tango)

With pro Artem Chigvintsev, Bachelorette star Bristowe somehow improves on the dance that had previously received a perfect score. It’s just as powerful, and as Bruno Tonioli notes of the “intensely sensuous” dance, the detail “was even better this time round.” Carrie Ann Inaba calls it one of her “top three favorite dances of all time.”

Score: They receive a perfect score of 30.

Nelly’s Repeat Dance to “Rhythm of the Night” by DeBarge (Samba)

Nelly, with partner Daniella Karagach, has looked so much more comfortable on the dance floor each week, and in this performance he actually looks as if he’s having fun. “You have such a spontaneity, a natural feel to you,” Bruno says, calling him “so engaging to watch.” Carrie Ann agrees, adding, “Dance is about the joy of life.”

Score: With three nines, they receive a score of 27 out of 30.

Nev Schulman’s Repeat Dance to “Black Swan Swan Lake” by District 78 (Paso Doble)

It had been the first perfect score of the season, and with pro Jenna Johnson, the Catfish host manages to make this dance even more intense and powerful. “That dance was perfection the first time you did it. It was once again perfection,” Carrie Ann says. “You created even more dramatic structure, more intensity,” Bruno adds. “It was more thrilling, and you killed it.”

Score: They once again receive a perfect score for this dance.

Justina Machado’s Repeat Dance to “Respect” by Aretha Franklin (Cha Cha)

With pro Sasha Farber, One Day at a Time star Machado repeats her Week 1 dance and really shows how much she has improved. And, of course, she continues to be the most fun on the dance floor. “You are exploding with charisma and energy and you have all season long,” Derek says. “You are just sensational to watch.” And Carrie Ann compares her performances to the “this is how it started and this is how it’s going” meme.

Score: They receive a perfect score.

Nelly’s Freestyle Dance to “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion and “Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G.

Nelly and Daniella combine his hip-hop and new ballroom sides in their freestyle, and it has some crazy lifts, especially the final one. “You guys together, this partnership, has been outstanding,” Carrie Ann notes. Derek compares it to a Grammy performance and says that he started and ended strong, which is what he should have done with freestyle.

Score: They receive a perfect score.

Kaitlyn Bristowe’s Freestyle Dance to “Sparkling Diamonds” from Moulin Rouge

Kaitlyn is clearly having fun with her performance, from the moment she is lowered to the stage on the swing to the very end. And she “met” the high expectations Carrie Ann has for a favorite. For Bruno, all the content made it “a showcase of Dancing With the Stars.”

Score: They receive their second perfect score of the night.

Nev Schulman’s Freestyle Dance to “Singin’ in the Rain” by District 78

As soon as they start, it seems like he had to do this dance and the season couldn’t have ended any other way for him and partner Jenna, including the part in the “rain.” “You can’t pull off Gene Kelly or Singin’ in the Rain unless you’re a leading man,” and Nev is, Derek says. “You were aiming very, very high with this one, but I have to say, you succeeded,” Bruno agrees. “It was show-stopping. It was inspired. It was beautiful.”

Score: They receive their second perfect score of the night

Justina Machado’s Freestyle Dance to “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez and “Bamboleo” by The Gypsy Kings

Justina ends the season with the final dance, in which she is sassy, a joy, and quite impressive with partner Sasha. “I couldn’t think of a better freestyle to finish this entire season,” Derek says. “That was so good. The intro was just fire.” “That really was a celebration of the Latin spirit,” Bruno adds. “The warmth. The passion. The joy, The zest for life. … It was a tonic for your soul.”

Score: They also receive their second perfect score of the night.


After combining the scores and fans’ votes, it’s time to find out who won Season 29. Justina Machado comes in fourth, Nelly third, and Nev second. Which means the winning couple is…Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev!

Kaitlyn Bristowe Dancing With the Stars Mirrorball Trophy Season 29 Artem Chigvintsev

(ABC/Eric McCandless)

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