‘Dancing with the Stars’ season 25 finale recap: Mirror Ball Trophy for Jordan Fisher, Lindsey Stirling, or Frankie Muniz?

Dancing with the Stars” ended its landmark 25th season on Tuesday night after 10 weeks of competition. So who won the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy: Broadway star Jordan Fisher, former child actor Frankie Muniz, or violinist Lindsey Stirling? Scroll down for our complete minute-by-minute report of the finale leading up to the announcement of the winner.

There were actually four finalists in this two-night finale event. On Monday night’s show Fisher, Muniz, and Stirling performed two routines, as did HGTV realtor Drew Scott. The first was a redemption dance in which the celebrities were challenged to improved a dance style they previously performed. The second was the always highly anticipated freestyle dance in which the sky was the limit in terms of choreography, leading to unique and innovative routines.

Scott was eliminated in fourth place at the end of Monday night’s show based on his scores and viewer votes from the previous week’s semifinals, but that didn’t do much to clarify the competition. Fisher and Stirling both tied for the top of the leaderboard with two perfect scores each, so those two competitors, who have been locked in a tight battle all season, were dead even going into Tuesday’s show.

As part of the season finale festivities, the final three performed two more times: an encore of their favorite dance from the season and one more scored dance, the “24-Hour Fusion Challenge” in which they had just one day to prepare a brand new routine that blends two different dance styles.

So how did they do, and who ended up winning the competition? Find out below in our live blog, which features commentary by me along with Gold Derby contributor Jeffrey KareAll times listed are Eastern.

Daniel Montgomery, 8:55pm — Almost showtime! Any last minute thoughts on who wins?

Jeffrey Kare, 8:55pm — I have not changed my predictions, so hopefully I made the right choice.

DM, 8:56pm — Sticking with Jordan Fisher?

JK, 8:56pm — Yes I am.

DM, 8:56pm — Me too, though this is a rare season where I think pretty much any winner would be deserving of the three.

JK, 8:56pm — I agree.

DM, 9:01pm — “DWTS” going all-in on a Christmas theme right from the opening dance number — another routine performed by Mandy Moore — which began with judge Len Goodman reading “Twas the night of the finals …” to Lindsey, Jordan, and Frankie.

JK, 9:03pm — That was a great opening number!

DM, 9:04pm — I agree, even if it still feels a little early for Christmas celebration.

DM, 9:05pm — Host Tom Bergeron and the three finalists are on their way back to the ballroom following a little behind-the-scenes recap of Monday night’s final, where Jordan and Lindsey both earned perfect scores and made it that much harder to predict the winner.

DM, 9:07pm — I hope we get some competitive action sprinkled throughout the night and they don’t cram it all to the end of the show.

Lindsey Stirling & Mark Ballas
Encore Dance: Week 3 Jive

DM, 9:11pm — So glad Lindsey is doing this jive again, that was an amazing routine for her.

DM, 9:13pm — Lindsey’s clip package is revisiting her past struggled with anorexia and depression. She discovered violin and putting her unique spin on performance, but even on “America’s Got Talent” the judges didn’t think there was an audience for her style of music and performance. As a fan of her music, I must say that she has more than proved them wrong.

JUDGESLen Goodman said, “You are such an accomplished dancer … That was a jive, well done!” Bruno Tonioli added, “It was a sizzling sparkler of a jive … You’ve become almost too hot to handle.” Carrie Ann Inaba concluded, “Great way to start off the finale. You are so special … You draw us in so intimately, and you have become such a brilliant dances.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Bruno (10) = 30 out of 30

JK, 9:17pm — I thought they just did a very energetic job! And just received a well-deserved perfect score.

DM, 9:18pm — I loved that performance too, though I’m ambivalent about them scoring the encore dances. It feels like these should be just-for-fun and they’re probably going to get all courtesy-10s anyway. But I’m happy to pad Lindsey’s total of perfect scores this season.

JK, 9:20pm — I’m sure they’re already interested in giving them another shot with all the experience they were able to gain since.

Frankie Muniz & Witney Carson
Encore Dance: ‘Disney Night‘ Argentine Tango

DM, 9:21pm — Transitioning from “Malcolm in the Middle” to race car driving was “the most amazing accomplishment I ever felt,” Frankie said, but he suffered a traumatic brain injury that ended his racing career. So his appearance on “DWTS” happened “at the perfect time.”

JK, 9:23pm — I must say that living in North Carolina, I was already aware of Frankie’s time playing Tiny Tim in Theatre in the Park’s long-running stage adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” by Ira David Wood III (Evan Rachel Wood‘s father).

JUDGES — Bruno said, “It really was a blockbuster Argentine tango, even better the second time around.” Carrie Ann added, “I think this time you had more confidence … a bigger and better performance.” And Len concluded, “That is a fantastic Argentine tango.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Bruno (10) = 30 out of 30.

DM, 9:27pm — Definitely a solid reprise from Frankie on that dance.

JK, 9:27pm — Yeah, I thought that was very skillfully stylish.

Kelsea Ballerini musical performance: “Legends”

DM, 9:32pm — Country singer Ballerini’s performance in the ballroom features a dance performance by Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson and a clip package from the season.

DM, 9:33pm — I’d like to see Jenna Johnson come back as a pro sometime soon.

Jordan Fisher & Lindsay Arnold
Encore Dance: Week 2 Samba

DM, 9:35pm — Jordan reminiscing about auditioning for many roles and falling just short of getting the part, finishing second to whoever he was up against. That’s gonna be a rough if he loses the Mirror Ball Trophy to Lindsey, then.

DM, 9:36pm — Wow, he’s willingly doing a samba as his encore. That’s the hardest dance in the competition, so it takes guts to decided to do it again after getting through it the first time, but he pulled it off pretty flawlessly.

JK, 9:37pm — Great work!

JUDGES — Carrie Ann said, “You’re so light on your feet … You make it look easy, but nothing about that was easy … Much, much, much improved.” Len added, “That was a great piece of choreography, great performance, great technique.” Bruno concluded, “You draw the audience to you like a magnet … World-class.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Bruno (10) = 30 out of 30.

DM, 9:39pm — Three perfect dances in the encore round, so nothing changes on the leaderboard for the moment.

Encore Performance: Derek Fisher & Sharna Burgess

DM, 9:45pm — Derek and Sharna reprise their first dance of the season. He’s one contestant I would have liked to see more from. He was eliminated early, but I thought he had potential to show a lot of improvement and never got the chance.

JK, 9:46pm — Maybe if they do another all-star season …

Special Performance: Male dancers perform

DM, 9:49pm –And it’s not Christmas without the male pros and troupe dancers on “DWTS” performing a sexy Santa striptease to “Little Drummer Boy.” New holiday tradition?

Encore Performance: Vanessa Lachey & Maksim Chmerkovskiy

DM, 9:55pm — Performing their “Movie Night” tribute to musicals. Here’s another star who could have gone far. A lot of potential we didn’t get a chance to see.

JK, 9:57pm — I agree, I also loved getting to revisit her routine from “Movie Night.”

Lindsey Stirling and Becky G musical performance, “Christmas C’Mon”

DM, 9:58pm — If nothing else comes out of this season of “DWTS,” I hope it attracts more attention to Stirling’s day job as a musician. Her blend of violin with dance and dub-step is outstanding.

DM, 10:01pm — Lindsey has to rush to make sure she’s ready for her “24-Hour Fusion Challenge” dance in the next round. If she misses a step, I hope she gets a little extra credit for having just given a musical performance. Or they could level the playing field by making Jordan do a scene from “Hamilton” right before his routine.

JK, 10:03pm — Ha!

DM, 10:04pm — Though really any excuse for a “Hamilton” performance would be fine by me.

Debbie Gibson and Jordan Fisher musical performance, “Sleigh Ride”/”What Christmas Means to Me”

DM, 10:05pm — Okay, I take it back, Jordan actually is doing a musical performance. Still think it should have been “Hamilton” — maybe “A Hamilton Christmas.” Make it happen, Lin-Manuel Miranda!

DM, 10:08pm — Damn, now I think Jordan should get bonus points for his falsetto — wow.

JK, 10:10pm — And Debbie Gibson was someone else who I thought had potential, but sadly never got the chance.

DM, 10:11pm — I agree. In another season that wasn’t so stacked with talent, I think she would have made it farther. It would also have been nice to see her partner Alan Bersten make it a little farther on his first try as a pro dancer.

Encore Performance: Drew Scott & Emma Slater … And Jonathan Scott!

DM, 10:19pm — Bringing out the twin brother! Maybe they should have tried that for some of the dances Drew had trouble with.

Lindsey Stirling & Mark Ballas
24-Hour Fusion Challenge: Cha Cha/Tango

DM, 10:21pm — “I’m definitely going to miss Lindsey,” said Mark while training for their last competitive dance. “I know this is a friendship I’ll be grateful for forever,” added Lindsey.

JUDGES — Len said, “This girl is amazing … No messing about, straight into the routine … You are a wonderful performer.” Bruno added, “You could see the contrast: the cheeky cha cha cha and the controlled intensity of the tango … Talk about wow factor!” Carrie Ann concluded, “That was beyond fusion, that was alchemy … Fantastic.”

JK, 10:24pm — They really continued to amaze me.

DM, 10:25pm — Me too. That was really cleanly executed with a lot of choreographic content for having only one day to prepare it.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Bruno (10) = 30 out of 30.

Frankie Muniz & Witney Carson
24-Hour Fusion Challenge: Foxtrot/Tango

DM, 10:30pm — “I never thought I could do what I’ve done on this show,” said Frankie about his experience on the show. Like Lindsey he’ll be performing a tango, but mixed with a foxtrot instead of a cha cha.

JK, 10:32pm — INCREDIBLE!

JUDGES — Bruno said, “In the excitement of it all, you lost a little bit of control … but I have to say, a very good performance.” Carrie Ann added, “You are the heart and soul what this show is based on … You looked so elegant.” Len concluded, “100-percent, you’re the people’s champion. You epitomize everything about ‘Dancing with the Stars.'”

DM, 10:34pm — Sounds like from Bruno we won’t get a perfect score. They really want this to be Jordan vs. Lindsey.

JK, 10:34pm — Nor Len.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (9), Bruno (9) = 28 out of 30.

Jordan Fisher & Lindsay Arnold
24-Hour Fusion Challenge: Salsa/Paso Doble

DM, 10:40pm — Okay, these two dance styles sound the most exciting fusion of the three.

DM, 10:40pm — “It’s about a journey, is about letting people get to know more about you,” said Jordan about the emotional experience of “DWTS” that goes beyondwhat happens on the dance floor.

JK, 10:42pm — Always gotta save the best for last. SPEECHLESS!

JUDGES — Carrie Ann said, “Your skills are just ridiculously out of this world … Lindsay has actually grown as a pro with you.” Len added, “I think you are the most complete male celebrity ever on ‘Dancing with the Stars.'” Bruno concluded, “You’re right up there with the best we have ever seen on this show. Impeccable.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Bruno (10) = 30 out of 30.

DM, 10:45pm — Viewers watching live can now vote online through the commercial break. With those comments the judges are definitely trying to stack it for Jordan with these final votes that are going to come in. Not that the judges are wrong, though. He’s incredible.

DM, 10:51pm — It was announced that Jordan and Frankie are both doing the “DWTS” tour, so they’ll DEFINITELY want Jordan to win that Mirror Ball Trophy.


3rd place couple — Frankie and Witney

JK, 10:55pm — Good thing I stuck with that prediction.

DM, 10:55pm — I did too.

2nd place couple — Lindsey and Mark

Mirror Ball Champions — Jordan and Lindsay

DM, 10:59pm — It’s official: Jordan is the youngest male winner ever, and this is Lindsay’s first ever Mirror Ball Trophy!

DM, 10:59pm — Tom Bergeron announces that in the spring there will be a special, shortened, all-athlete edition of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Includes both nights of the two-night finale

Who will win ‘Dancing with the Stars’? Jordan Fisher

Who will finish 2nd? Lindsey Stirling

Who will finish 3rd? Frankie Muniz

Who will finish 4th? Drew Scott

Who got the judges’ HIGHEST score? Jordan Fisher AND Lindsey Stirling (80 out of 80, Monday night)

Who got the judges’ LOWEST score? Drew Scott (75 out of 80, Monday night)

How many 10s did the judges give out? 10 or More — 32 to be exact over two nights

Which judge gave the MOST overall points? Bruno Tonioli AND Carrie Ann Inaba (137 over two nights)

Which judge gave the FEWEST overall points? Len Goodman (136 over two nights)

Did Carrie Ann Inaba comment on an unauthorized lift? No

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