After 10 weeks of competition, “Dancing with the Stars” ended its 30th season by crowning Iman Shumpert as the show’s first ever basketball player to win the Mirror Ball Trophy. What did we think of that ending? And will there be more historic pairings on “DWTS” in the future? Gold Derby contributors Jeffrey Kare, Cordell Martin, and I agree that this was one of the strongest seasons in recent memory. We broke it all down after the finale. Watch our slugfest above.
“I just thought it was great just to see his journey in him becoming a dancer and really embracing it,” says Martin about Shumpert’s growth throughout the season. In fact, he might be one of Martin’s 10 favorite Mirror Ball champions of all time. Kare agrees he’s “the best winner we’ve had in a while.” And I feel the same way, even though Kare and I were both rooting for JoJo Siwa to win. She and Jenna Johnson were the best dancers of the season in our estimation (and according to the judges’ scores), though of course the best dancer doesn’t always win “DWTS” since fans at home also get to weigh in, and they had Shumpert’s back all season.
Nevertheless, Siwa and Johnson’s runner-up finish was a breakthrough for a show that took 16 years to include a same-sex couple in the competition. Might we finally see two men dance together next season? A dream partnership for Martin would be Ricky Martin with Artem Chigvintsev considering how excited Chigvintsev was to meet the singer and actor in season 24. Kare and I suggest that Val Chmerkovskiy would be a strong choice to pair with a male celeb given his strong track record on the show and the fact that he’s married to Johnson, who just made history with Siwa.
Either way, Martin hopes the show will “continue having a diverse cast. That was another thing I loved [about season 30] was how diverse it was. Not only just in terms of race and ethnicity, but your age, your sexual orientation, things like that … not only for the celebrities, but for the pros as well.” After 30 seasons, there’s still a lot of history left for “Dancing with the Stars” to make.