‘Dancing with the Stars’ Finale recap: Who won the season 30 Mirror Ball Trophy? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

It all came down to this. Season 30 of “Dancing with the Stars” concluded on Monday night, November 22, after 10 weeks of performances in one of the most competitive seasons in recent memory. Four finalists emerged from the 15 celebs who started when the season began in September: “The Talk” co-host Amanda Kloots, Peloton fitness instructor Cody Rigsby, basketball player Iman Shumpert, and pop singer JoJo Siwa. So who took home the title? Scroll down for our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments and commentary throughout the night.

Siwa went into the finale as the front-runner, according to the predictions of Gold Derby users who have been placing their bets all week. She’s been the favorite for the Mirror Ball Trophy for most of the season, and it would be a historic victory since she’s the first contestant in the show’s history to compete with a same-sex partner (Jenna Johnson). But Shumpert and Rigsby were the only celebs who went through the entire season without landing in the bottom two or bottom three after judges’ scores and viewer votes were added together at the end of every show, so we knew they had passionate fans voting for them every week.

Sometimes diehard fans can trump judges’ scores on “DWTS” — just ask Bobby Bones — so we couldn’t count anyone out. The contestants had two more chances to convince judges and viewers at home. In the first round, the finalists performed fusion dances that combined two different styles into one routine, which was as much a challenge for the pro dancers’ choreographic creativity as it was for the celebs’ dance skills. Round two brought the long-awaited freestyle dances where there were no choreographic restrictions.

There was a last-minute switch behind the judging table, though. Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli were on hand to score the performances, but Derek Hough recently tested positive for COVID-19 — the show’s third breakthrough case this season — so he was replaced in tonight’s show by his sister, fellow dancer, and fellow “DWTS” alum Julianne Hough. So how did the night unfold, and most importantly, how did it end? Follow along below starting at 8:00pm (times listed are Eastern).

Daniel Montgomery, 8:02pm — Really nice intro with the eliminated dancers. But makes we wish we got to see more of Melanie C and that Suni had made it to the finals.

Jeffrey Kare, 8:05pm — Nice to see Julianne Hough filling in for Derek.


Amanda Kloots and Alan Bersten (Viennese Waltz/Paso Doble Fusion)

DM, 8:05pm — This strikes me as an odd fusion of dance styles, so it’s going to come down to Alan’s choreography because Amanda’s technical dance skills are on point. Her clip package is showcasing the constructive criticism about her posture and her sync, acknowledges her bumps in the road with Alan, and celebrates the perfect scores she got (probably should have gotten  couple more, just sayin’).

Cordell Martin, 8:09pm — Nice transition from one style to another. Beautiful, Amanda is in it to win it

JK, 8:09pm — Excellent from beginning to end!

DM, 8:09pm — Kudos to Alan for the choreography. He made great use of the music to blend the waltz and the paso.

CM, 8:10pm — I expect a 40.

JUDGES — Julianne thinks Amanda journey has been beautiful and consistency is her strength, plus she found the right balance between grace and passion. Bruno thought the waltz was like air and the paso was like fire, but Amanda “succeeded beautifully,” she has beauty, talent, and range. Carrie Ann thought she looked a little tentative at first, but she broke out during the paso.  Oh, and Carrie Ann also noticed a slight mistake towards the end. Len feels she’s like a “total eclipse of the sun,” it doesn’t come around often but it’s spectacular.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (10), Julianne (9), Bruno (10) = 38

JK, 8:14pm — More like two 10s and two 9s.

CM, 8:14pm — Wow.

DM, 8:14pm — Oof, doesn’t seem like that much of a shortfall, but I think those two nines are gonna hurt.

JK< 8:14pm — I did just move her down to third place shortly before the predictions center closed.

CM, 8:15pm — They’re setting her up for a 4th place finish.

Cody Rigsby and Cheryl Burke (Paso Doble/Cha Cha Fusion)

DM, 8:17pm — This has been one of the most surprising and unusual stories of the season. I wouldn’t have guessed that the Peloton guy would turn out to have one of the biggest fan bases of the season, but his results don’t lie. Throw in both him and Cheryl getting COVID, and you’ve got a topsy-turvy ride. Given that he’s always been safe even when he was at the bottom of the leaderboard, he could easily finish first or second depending on where the judges put him on the leaderboard. I don’t see him finishing lower than third.

DM, 8:21pm — He looked a little tentative and unsure of himself at times, but if he’s going to win the Mirror Ball it was always going to be off the freestyle. So we’ll see what happens there.

JK, 8:21pm — I thought that was some of their best work together.

CM, 8:21pm — It was a solid performance.

JUDGES — Bruno thought it was “mission accomplished,” though it’s not clear if he’s talking about the journey or this particular dance. Carrie Ann thought he was strong with good posture and form. Len loved the mix of the two dances, but he wanted to see more shaping. Julianne notices how much he’s worked on his footwork from last week.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Julianne (9), Bruno (9) = 36

DM, 8:24pm — If the judges don’t go any lower than 9s tonight, that’s gonna almost guarantee a top three finish for Cody.

JK, 8:24pm — Very possible.

CM, 8:25pm — As long as he doesn’t end up first or second I’m good.

DM, 8:26pm — I wonder, if hypothetically JoJo finishes with the highest scores and Cody finishes with the lowest, if Cody has enough juice to get past her into second place.

CM, 8:27pm — Please don’t speak that into existence.

DM, 8:27pm — I also wonder if whoever has the last freestyle has the same problem Amanda had last week of it coming too close to the end of voting.

JoJo Siwa and Jenna Johnson (Tango/Foxtrot Fusion)

DM, 8:28pm — I’m excited for these two to make it this far, not just because they’re the best dancers or because they’re making history as the first same-sex couple on “DWTS,” but because the last time Jenna won the Mirror Ball Trophy was with Adam Rippon during that four-week “Athletes” season. This would be her first proper journey to the Mirror Ball. But the fact that she was in the bottom two on “Queen Night” despite super high scores, I’m worried she won’t have enough support for the title even if she tops the leaderboard. This dance style combo sounds fire, though.

DM, 8:31pm — Oh, I’m already living the “Chicago”-style “JoJo” sign in the background.

DM, 8:32pm — I think they put a couple more styles in there in addition to foxtrot and tango LOL, awesome performance, but a little confusing stylistically. Not that I mind.

JK, 8:32pm — I thought that performance was incredibly perfect!

JUDGES — Carrie Ann thinks JoJo is a “woman transformed” and she “shined so brightly. Len calls them “magic.” Julianne says that JoJo shows everyone can be all things they are capable of being. Bruno thought it was awesome, like “nuclear fusion.” He calls it perfection.

DM, 8:34pm — Sounds like it’s gonna be a 40 to me.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Julianne (10), Bruno (10) = 40

JK, 8:35pm — Indeed it is.

DM, 8:36pm — Feels like they’re setting up JoJo for the top of the leaderboard. They didn’t nitpick like they did to Amanda. I think I’m gonna use all my votes on JoJo tonight, go big or go home because she’s my personal pick to win.

CM, 8:37pm — Jojo has been killing it all season.

DM, 8:38pm — Before the next routine, Derek is shows up via webcam from quarantine to show that he’s on the mend. A pandemic can’t stop Derek from perfectly styling his hair, dammit!

Iman Shumpert and Daniella Karagach (Cha Cha/Foxtrot Fusion)

DM, 8:39pm — I have a feeling that if Iman is anywhere in the top three on the judges’ leaderboard, he wins the Mirror Ball Trophy considering how strong his fan base has been ever single week. The clip package showcases how Daniella has used their height difference to their advantage, unlike other NBA contestants on this show who have never made it this far. That’s a credit to Iman, but also to Daniella for knowing how to choreograph to his literal strengths.

CM, 8:43pm — That was cute.

DM, 8:44pm — Not his best work, a little too loose, but he had really good posture and rhythm

JUDGES — Len thinks he’s an underdog who bites back. Julianne never thought he was an underdog, and she appreciates that he has never lost his personality in his performances, he has incorporated them into his dances. Bruno says he’s the “king of the ballroom.” Carrie Ann thinks Daniella has evolved him in a way that’s “beyond words,” and she brings him joy.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Julianne (10), Bruno (10) = 40

CM, 8:46pm — Uh oh!

JK, 8:46pm — Clearly, Iman is being set up for the final two.

DM, 8:47pm — He just won the Mirror Ball Trophy. I did not think he was gonna get straight 10s in the first round.

DM, 8:48pm — Feels like they kinda threw Amanda under the bus with those 9s. This was not a 10 dance from Iman. I think they’re setting up a JoJo vs. Iman narrative, but I’m not sure there’s a way Iman loses if he’s tied at the top with JoJo at the end of the night.

Melanie C Performance: “2 Become 1”

DM, 8:51pm — As a fan of the Spice Girls, I’m glad they’re giving Mel a chance to sing, especially since she was always the strongest vocalist in the group. But they have her singing over a clip package of the past season like it’s an “In Memoriam” segment.

CM, 8:54pm — I will say this season turned out to be one of my favorites.

JK, 8:54pm — Yeah, I thought it was a good one.

DM, 8:55pm — Same here. A caliber of contestants that’s way above average. No obnoxious “controversy” contestants (except Olivia Jade, whose controversy they hardly brought up, and she turned out to be really damn good).


Cody Rigsby and Cheryl Burke

DM, 9:02pm — Cheryl has been on the show for 20 out of 30 seasons. She has won two Mirror Ball Trophies. But this is her first time in a long while for her to make the finals. This clip package emphasizes her connection to Cody, with whom she’s really had great chemistry. “I couldn’t have done it without you,” says Cody. “Let’s go slay this.”

DM, 9:06pm — Well, if the Peloton things doesn’t work out, Cody has a future as a go-go boy. His voguing was on point, though his pole work could use a little work LOL.

CM, 9:07pm — LOL

JK, 9:07pm — That was nicely flamboyant.

JUDGES — Julianne thinks his true self is shining through and she feels more alive watching him. Bruno compares it to Jennifer Lopez in “Hustlers” and Gina Gershon in “Showgirls.” Carrie Ann accurately calls it the show’s most flamboyant freestyle. Len thought it was “wild, wacky, and wonderful.” And Tyra Banks throws in that he brought the ballroom to the ballroom.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Julianne (10), Bruno (10) = 40

JK, 9:09pm — Now, Cody has not only gotten at least one 10 tonight, but also a perfect score.

CM, 9:09pm — Good for him.

DM, 9:10pm — Yeah, you’d have to screw up pretty bad not to get a 10 during the freestyle round. And I appreciate Cody making the ballroom as gay as humanly possible. Werk.

CM, 9:11pm — He couldn’t let Jojo out do him LOL.

DM, 9:11pm — Haha, she’s dancing to “Born This Way,” so she still might.

Amanda Kloots and Alan Bersten

DM, 9:12pm — “I don’t know if I have a bond like this with anyone else in my life right now,” says Amanda about taking this journey with Alan after the loss she suffered in the past year. I wonder how Alan is going to choreograph this freestyle, though. Amanda is a very technical, elegant dancer and not a flamboyant showstopper like the other three contestants.

DM, 9:17pm — I love the way Alan put so many dance styles into one routine to show off her technical skill and her journey through the season. And the group work with the rest of the pros was beautiful. Not sure it’s going to be one the audiences vote for, though.

CM, 9:17pm — Great routine. Yeah Daniel, I’m not sure if it will push her past 4th place.

JK, 9:17pm — They went all in on not only that dance, but also the theatrics. It was absolutely brilliant!

JUDGES — Bruno thinks we’ve seen a star reborn before our eyes, and she’s shining brighter than ever. Carrie Ann says she is “hope and resilience personified.” Len has loved her lyrical dancing all season. Julianne says there’s a whole universe inside of her.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Julianne (10), Bruno (10) = 40

JK, 9:19pm — At least she just got a perfect score.

DM, 9:19pm — So JoJo is next, then Iman. Does it help Iman to go last or does it help JoJo to have more time for people to vote after seeing her routine?

JK, 9:20pm — Either way sounds plausible.

JoJo Siwa and Jenna Johnson

DM, 8:23pm — Okay JoJo, go get this! I really hope Jenna pulled out all the stops on the choreography for this one. JoJo feels like she has transitioned into a grown woman through performing on this show. She credits Jenna with helping her grow. “She really is my best friend.” Of the remaining couples, JoJo and Jenna definitely have had the strongest emotional connection to each other, and JoJo is extra-inspired to be dancing to “Born This Way” for how positively it made her feel about being queer.

JK, 9:27pm — Win or lose, that was such an awesome high note for JoJo to go out on.

DM, 9:27pm — I loved that freestyle, tons of fun, tons of joy. The side by side elements were fantastic, and so were the lifts.

CM, 9:28pm — Another flawless routine.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann thought it was “beyond amazing,” and JoJo as a role model makes her feel safe for the future. Len liked the samba and cha cha elements, and they’ve been a standout couple all season. Julianne is “floored” by her, and how JoJo is in the perfect age range to be a change-maker in the world. Julianne is officially a “Siwanator.” Bruno wishes JoJo were around when he was a kid.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Julianne (10), Bruno (10) = 40

DM, 9:30pm — That cements JoJo as the highest-scoring celebrity of the season.

JK, 9:31pm — Very well deserved!

DM, 9:31pm — Now I’d be very very surprised if Daniella’s feet ever touch the ground in the next routine LOL

Iman Shumpert and Daniella Karagach

DM, 9:35pm — The rest of the freestyles have been great, but this has the potential to blow them out of the water considering what Daniella choreographed for their “Horror Night” routine inspired by “Us,” which is still the performance of the season. “He was the perfect person for me to try new things with,” says Daniella, who indeed has turned their height difference into a strength instead of a liability. If this season has a pro dancer MVP, it’s Daniella.

JK, 9:39pm — So highly energetic.

DM, 9:39pm — I think Iman is going to win the Mirror Ball Trophy and Daniella is going to win a choreography Emmy. Best freestyle of the night. Not the best danced (that’s JoJo or Amanda), but the best overall routine

JK, 9:40pm — That would be great for both of them.

JUDGES — Julianne is speechless. Bruno thought the footwork was inspired. Julianne says it’s her favorite freestyle in 30 seasons, so clearly she shares her brother’s gift for hyperbole. Carrie Ann thinks it was “sick” how good it was, and Daniella showcased her partner exceptionally well.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Julianne (10), Bruno (10) = 40


1. Iman Shumpert — 40 + 40 = 80
1. JoJo Siwa — 40 + 40 = 80
3. Amanda Kloots — 38 + 40 = 78
4. Cody Rigsby — 36 + 40 = 76

CM, 9:42pm — Iman got this.

JK, 9:43pm — If he does win, I won’t be complaining.

CM, 9:43pm — Me either. Daniella deserves it for her amazing choreography.

DM, 9:44pm — Same here. I still think JoJo and Jenna are the best team, but Daniella is far and away the best pro of the season. And she’s only been on the show a couple of seasons.

JK, 9:47pm — Which would make a victory for her here all the more impressive.


DM, 9:50pm — We’re going to find out who wins the Mirror Ball Trophy on the other side of the commercial break. Coming off a Jimmie Allen musical performance where we learned that Jimmie and Amanda Kloots will be joining the “DWTS” tour.

DM, 9:54pm — I’ll be happy as long as JoJo isn’t lower than second.

CM, 9:54pm — Yeah my personal rankings is Iman, Jojo, Amanda and Cody.

DM, 9:55pm — Tyra announced that there was a record number of votes, so now to the results … after another tribute clip package. Come on, guys!

DM, 9:57pm — Damn, Amanda getting love from Finneas, and Cody getting a shout-out from Tinashe. I kinda want to know the backstory of how these people know each other more than I want to see the results.

DM, 9:57pm — Okay, NOW the results. Fourth place goes to … Amanda Kloots. Third place goes to … Cody Rigsby. Just as I expect so far.

DM, 9:59pm — The winner of “Dancing with the Stars” is … Iman Shumpert! First basketball player winner in history! JoJo Siwa gets a well-deserved silver medal! Well, not a literal silver medal, but still. Good for her too!

CM, 10:00pm — Knew it LOL

JK, 10:01pm — Everything pretty much went according to what we speculated.

DM, 10:02pm — Haha, I correctly predicted the four placements before the night even started. Don’t think I’ve ever done that before.

JK, 10:02pm — There’s a first for everything.

CM, 10:07pm — For the third season in a row the winner never ended up in the bottom two.

JK, 10:07pm — Looks like something we should really be paying attention to throughout all of next season.

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