“It really should not have been that surprising in hindsight because Kaitlyn had the fan base,” says Gold Derby contributor Jeffrey Kare about Kaitlyn Bristowe‘s upset victory at the end of “Dancing with the Stars” season 29. The users who had placed their bets in our predictions center thought Nev Schulman and Justina Machado had better chances, but we should’ve known that the built-in fan base Bristowe had as an alumna of “Bachelor Nation” would be enough to push her over the top. I debated the finale with Kare and Cordell Martin after the finale. Watch our video slugfest above.
“Going in I thought maybe she would place no higher than third just because I thought, okay, there’s no way they’re gonna give the Mirror Ball Trophy to another ‘Bachelorette’ contestant,” Martin explains about his initial skepticism. Would the viewing audience really be that eager to crown a second straight star from that dating series? But “the narrative started to change in favor for her … a couple of weeks ago when she did her Argentine tango … I should’ve known the cards were stacked in her favor.” So maybe it was a good thing after all that Bristowe was getting so many harsh critiques from judge Carrie Ann Inaba because it gave her a triumphant dramatic arc that ended with Inaba declaring Bristowe’s dances some of the best she’s ever seen on the show.
“For some reason I just assumed it was going to be Nev with Nelly as the runner-up, and I was hoping for a Justina surprise,” Martin adds. All three of us were strongly rooting for Machado given her consistency, her personality, and her showstopping freestyle. “Normally, you would think Justina’s freestyle would have put her at least top two. In previous seasons she would have probably won or would’ve come in second, so that was a little surprising.” But fans might already have had their minds made up before the contestants even danced, because Machado ended up fourth, while Nelly took third, Schulman was the runner-up, and Bristowe took the trophy.
Now Kare thinks “it’s about time ‘Dancing with the Stars’ cuts back on having ‘Bachelorette’ alumni compete for the Mirror Ball Trophy because they’re becoming a little too obvious.” What did you think of the end result of season 29? Should “Bachelorettes” be retired from the ballroom from now on?