The ballroom is now closed, because a new winner has been crowned on Dancing with the Stars. The Season 31 finale saw final four contestants Wayne Brady, Charli D’Amelio, Shangela, and Gabby Windey compete one last time for the Mirrorball trophy — and all of them went out with a bang. For their final two dances, the stars performed a redemption dance, a re-do of a previous routine that was mentored by one of the four judges, and a freestyle routine that allowed each contestant to show off their true personalities and growth on the show.
Along with crowning the newest winner of DWTS, the Season 31 finale also commemorated the departures of beloved DWTS cast members. Longtime pro dancer Cheryl Burke performed her final dance on the show after competing on 26 seasons, while head judge Len Goodman received his own mirrorball trophy in honor of his deserved retirement after 31 seasons. In addition, all of this season’s contestants, including Teresa Giudice, Jordin Sparks, and Selma Blair, who had to leave the competition due to multiple sclerosis complications, returned for one last dance in the ballroom.
But in the end, there would be no finale without a winner. Read on to find out who won DWTS Season 31 — and what Twitter had to say about it.
Shangela Puts Her Partner In Drag
For her redemption dance, Shangela and partner Gleb Savchenko worked with Bruno Tonioli to re-do their quickstep, which all of the judges agreed was a major improvement. But it was their freestyle that stole the show, with Shangela performing the ultimate Drag Race routine. As the voice of Goodman declared that it was time to dance for her life, that’s just what she did, complete with her throwing a chicken leg at the judges, putting some of the pros in chicken costumes, and having her partner dress in his new drag persona, Natasha. Twitter erupted in joy and the judges gave the duo a perfect score. RuPaul would be proud.
Gabby Gives It Her Best Shot
Bachelor Nation women who compete on DWTS nearly always make it to the finale (the same can’t be said for men), and Windey carried on that legacy. For her redemption dance, Derek Hough had Windey and partner Val Chmerkovskiy re-do their cha cha routine, earning a perfect score this time around. For their final routine, the duo performed a freestyle to “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago in a routine that the judges said was so full of her personality and “charisma” while also reflecting how far she had come on the show. Even a wardrobe malfunction couldn’t stop her from earning another perfect score, and Twitter cheered her on the whole way.
Charli Sends The Judges To Tears
D’Amelio has been at the top of the DWTS leaderboard with partner Mark Ballas every week in the competition, and the finale was no exception. The duo’s redemption dance, a re-do of her jive routine, earned a perfect score this time around, with the judges deeming her the new “queen of jive.” But it was their freestyle routine, which tracked D’Amelio’s dance journey from her childhood to DWTS, that really sent everyone to tears, including judge Derek Hough, her mom Heidi, and sister Dixie. Even her naysayers on Twitter were impressed — even if they still poked fun at her boyfriend Landon Barker with memes.
Who Won DWTS Season 31?
After all the contestants earned a perfect score for the final freestyle routine, the results were finally revealed. Given how Shangela and Brady received lower scores for their redemption dances, they automatically tied for last place, while D’Amelio and Windey were tied in the lead. With fan votes factored in, Shangela landed at fourth place, while Brady was eliminated in third place, leaving the TikTok star and the Bachelorette in the final two.
After moments of suspense, D’Amelio was announced as the winner of DWTS Season 31, which also marked Ballas’ first victory in 13 years, and she barely had time to take it all in. “Oh my gosh, it happened so fast!” she told PEOPLE after the finale. “I couldn't even really comprehend what was going on, and then they put me in the air.” While some Twitter users were elated at her victory, others had a more mixed reaction, saying her past dance experience gave her an unfair advantage.