“I thought the win was well deserved even though it was pretty much what we were expecting all along,” said Jeffrey Kare about Adam Rippon claiming the Mirror Ball Trophy in the May 21 season finale of “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes.” Kare discussed the final episode with Joyce Eng, Cordell Martin and Daniel Montgomery during their postmortem slugfest. Watch above to find out what they thought.
Martin notes that “there weren’t any big surprises.” Rippon was the front-runner to win from the moment the cast of the show was announced in April, and “he was clearly the best dancer of the group,” notes Eng, though his freestyle was unexpectedly criticized by judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Len Goodman after they had given perfect scores to the freestyle routines by fellow finalists Tonya Harding and Josh Norman.
Kare thought Rippon’s freestyle was “terrific,” though Eng “could see why it was divisive … I felt like he got lost in it … He never felt like the star of the routine.” Martin was “a little disappointed” as well, and Montgomery would have liked to see “a little bit more complex choreography for him.” The mixed reviews for Rippon’s freestyle didn’t stop him from winning the Mirror Ball Trophy, but might it have hurt him in a typical season?
Martin thinks that “had this been a longer season I could see Josh pulling out a surprise win.” He might have come close since “DWTS” revealed, well after the fact, that Norman actually finished second behind Rippon, which hadn’t been announced during the finale due to time constraints. “‘American Idol’ got two nights and a two-hour results show,” notes Eng, comparing the cramped “DWTS” finale to the ending of the singing competition that aired right afterwards. “If you’re only going to do one night for ‘Dancing’ it should have been a two-hour finale, and the ‘Idol’ results show could have been one hour.”
Montgomery also felt the finale — and the season as a whole — was “rushed,” and for Martin “it didn’t feel like a ‘Dancing with the Stars’ season to me. I was disappointed.” He’s not the only one. When we polled our readers about the shortened four-week season a whopping 71% of respondents said it wasn’t long enough. Luckily “DWTS” will resume its normal schedule this fall, in addition to a “Dancing with the Stars: Junior” spin-off that will air concurrently. What did you think of the “Athletes” finale and the season as a whole? Check out the poll results below.