‘Dancing with the Stars: Juniors’ The Finale Holiday Special Recap: Did the right team win the kids’ crown?

There was a lot on the docket for the one-hour season finale of “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors.” There were four finalists since no one was eliminated during the Semi-Finals, and they all performed two routines on the final night of the competition: a repeat of their favorite dance of the season (this time joined by their adult mentors) and then a holiday-themed freestyle. Then the judges’ scores and studio audience votes from both the Semi-Finals and the Finals were combined to pick a winner. So was it Miles Brown, Sky Brown, Ariana Greenblatt or Mackenzie Ziegler?

Reprise Round

Mackenzie flashed back to Juniors Choice Night for her reprise dance. She took another crack at her cha cha to her own song “What If” with her pro partner Sage Rosen and their adult mentor Gleb Savchenko. The judges thought this was an improvement, but only slightly if the scores were any indication. Her original performance received straight 9s for a total of 27 out of 30. This time she got 9s again from Mandy Moore and Val Chmerkovskiy, but a 10 from Adam Rippon, giving her a total of 28.

Ariana followed, giving us a second helping of her “Rolex” jazz number, which was also from Juniors Choice Night. Their original performance was a landmark moment for her and her pro partner Artyon Celestine since it received the first 10 of the entire competition. The second time around when they were joined by mentor Brandon Armstrong, Rippon said it was “incredible,” Chmerkovskiy called it “iconic” and Moore thought it was “magic.” The result: 10s across the board for a total of 30 out of 30.

Then it was Miles’s turn. He turned the clock all the way back, revisiting his salsa from the very first week of the competition with his partner Rylee Arnold and their mentor Lindsay Arnold — Rylee’s big sister. Chmerkovskiy thought it was “awesome” and admitted to Miles, “I was hard on you” when he performed it originally. This time Miles got a 10 from the formerly cranky Chmerkovskiy, but Rippon and Moore held back with 9s. That tied him with Mackenzie with a score of 28 in the first round.

Last up in the first round was the ever-heartwarming Sky. Just like Miles she picked  a salsa from week one as her reprise, and the judges were even more enthusiastic about her performance with partner JT Church and mentor Alan Bersten. Moore told the young skateboarding phenom, “You embody what this show is all about.” Rippon added that Sky has “grown the most” of any contestant on the show. And Chmerkovskiy echoed those sentiments. She got 10s across the board for a total of 30 out of 30, which was actually her first perfect score of the entire season — better late than never.

Freestyle Round

Freestyle dances have been make-it-or-break-it moments in every “DWTS” competition, and it was no different for the kids. ‘Tis the season, so these freestyles all took on a Christmas theme. For Mackenzie, it was a dance to “Drummer Boy” by Justin Bieber and Busta Rhymes — because nothing says Christmas like that musical combo. Their unconventional routine became a full-on hip-hop battle — Moore thought it was “flawless,” and Chmerkovskiy called it “the best of all worlds.” And it was all 10s for the “Dance Moms” alum.

Ariana followed that by embodying Cindy Lou Who for a freestyle number to “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” as performed by “DWTS” season 25 runner-up Lindsey Stirling featuring Sabrina Carpenter. Chmerkovskiy thought it was “incredible” and full of “star quality.” Moore loved it too and praised it for being so “well choreographed.” And Rippon felt it demonstrated exactly why Ariana deserves to be in the competition — like there was ever any doubt. But it wasn’t quite perfect. She got a 10 from Moore, but 9s from Chmerkovskiy and Rippon, giving her a total of 28.

Then Miles went on a deliriously fun and funky “Sleigh Ride” which threw in touches of Charleston and a hip-hop breakdown. Seriously, there was no one quite like Miles in the competition, and Chmerkovskiy thought this performance was not only “exceptional” but might encourage hesitant young boys to start dancing themselves. Moore said that Miles has “the mark of a true performer.” And Rippon called him a “superstar.” The scores reflected that: another round of perfect 10s for a total of 30.

Sky closed the night by taking Christmas to the beach with Kelly Clarkson‘s “Underneath the Tree” — in this case, underneath a Christmas-decorated palm tree. Moore called it another “excellent job.” Rippon thinks she’s a “real hero to a lot of little girls.” And Chmerkovskiy said, “The bottom line is not about how you dance, it’s about how you dance with your heart” — though I think she dances pretty well with her feet too. That was good enough for another perfect score from the judges, giving Sky a perfect night with 60 out of 60.

Results

Sky came out on top for the night in terms of the scores, while Miles, Mackenzie and Ariana were all tied with 58 out of 60. But when those numbers were combined with last week’s semifinals it was actually Mackenzie who came out on top with 118 out of 120. Sky was in second place with 117, then Miles with 116 and Ariana trailing with 114. It all came down to the studio audience to decide who deserved to be the first ever “Juniors” champion.

After the last two weeks of audience votes were combined with those close scores, it was Sky Brown who prevailed. I was personally rooting for Miles, but honestly I’ve got no complaints about the end of what has been a surprisingly satisfying season of “DWTS: Juniors.” To be honest, I think the adult version of the show was a disappointment in the end with the inexplicable victory by Bobby Bones, so the delightful Sky Brown — who could dance circles around Bobby — ends a topsy-turvy 2018 for “DWTS” on a high note. Do you agree? Vote in our polls below to let us know what you thought of the finale.

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