Kel Mitchell was arguably the most improved dancer of the season on “Dancing with the Stars,” to the point that he was regularly getting 10s from the judges in the last few weeks of the competition. So it was especially surprising when he was the only celeb in the Finale who failed to get a perfect 30 out of 30 for his freestyle routine, at which point the judges were at their most generous. Did Len Goodman rob him of a 10, and perhaps rob him of the Mirror Ball Trophy too? Watch Mitchell’s freestyle above.
Mitchell rose to fame on the 1990s sketch comedy series “All That,” and his pro partner Witney Carson hearkened back to that era with her choreography to “Jump” by Kris Kross. It was a throwback that made Carrie Ann Inaba‘s “inner Fly Girl so happy,” and Bruno Tonioli loved the “exhilarating” way the tempo of the music and dancing accelerated throughout the routine. But Goodman was a naysayer, arguing that the freestyle was too similar to the jazz routine Mitchell performed in the first round.
So while Inaba and Tonioli gave Mitchell and Carson 10s, Goodman gave him a 9, which was the only 9 anyone got during the freestyle round. In Goodman’s defense, the two dances were fairly similar — Carson played to Mitchell’s hip-hop dancing strengths in both routines — but his freestyle was certainly the stronger of the two, so if either routine deserved a perfect score it was that one.
Did that score have a consequential impact on the final result? Mitchell ended up finishing second behind Hannah Brown, even though Brown had finished one point lower than he did on the judges’ leaderboard for the night (Brown scored 58 out of 60, Mitchell scored 59). If Mitchell had gotten that one extra point from Goodman, would that have made the difference when combined with viewer votes? There’s no way to know for sure, though there’s a good chance Brown’s loyal fan base would have put her in the winner’s circle anyway; after all, she was the only contestant of the season who never landed in the bottom two.
What did you think of the finale? Did Mitchell really have the best freestyle of the night, and should he have won the Mirror Ball Trophy for it?