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‘Dancing With the Stars’ grand finale crowns season 18 winner in style

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In our 18 seasons of watching “Dancing With the Stars,” there has never been a better season finale or a more deserving winner than what we witnessed Tuesday Night. Yahoo! Celebrity said on Tuesday that “DWTS” crowned a winner but, given the caliber of the performances from the final 3 contenders to the singers and returning contestants, everyone involved in that episode was a winner.

The show was loaded with guest stars including Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande, Christina Perri, and reigning “DWTS” champ Amber Riley, who performed 2 numbers on the season 18 finals episode. James Maslow and partner Peta Murgatroyd, who were eliminated in Monday night’s part 1 of the finals, were selected by viewer tweets to do the encore performance of their freestyle number.

Throughout the evening, the season’s earlier contestants returned to perform dance numbers that were out of this world. Charlie White and partner Sharna Burgess reprised their ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” routine from earlier in the season. When originally performed, Charlie dropped the cane he was using as a prop. Last night, the umbrella Sharna was using broke…in Charlie’s hands, forcing host Tom Bergeron to dub the couple, ‘Sharna and the Cane Killer, Charlie.’

Another highlight was getting to see the Team Loca live version of the team dance that was not shown live during the competition because Amy had injured her back during the live episode before the number could be done. Originally, fans saw a tape of the dress rehearsal performance. Three of the four team members were the season 18 finalists. Danica McKellar returned with partner Val Chmerkovskiy and joined Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas, Amy Purdy and Derek Hough and Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy to do it live. Wow!

The 3 competitors then performed ’24-Hour Fusion Dances,’ a combination of 2 dance styles assigned to them following Monday’s night’s show. They had 24 hours to choreograph a routine for the judges. All three performed admirably and earned high marks and praise form the judges. And then it was time for the winners. The coveted Mirrorball Trophy went to Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy. While the plastic trophy may not compare to the prestige of an Olympic gold medal, Meryl looked ecstatic.

Chmerkovskiy, who has been with the show for 13 seasons and never won, was elated almost beyond words. He told Bergeron, "It's just plastic, but it means so much. And to [win] it with Meryl is a dream come true. There's a reason it didn't happen before. It's because I was meant to do it with her."

When it was announced, Maks’ brother Val and friend Tony Dovolani, fellow pro dancers seemed to leap from the audience and engulf him in hugs. It was a moment 13 seasons in the making.

Paralympian Amy Purdy and her partner, Derek Hough, took home second place. Her dedication and perseverance makes her a winner in our books.

Candace and “DWTS” partner Mark Ballas, who suffered a dislocated shoulder on Sunday, took third place. The former child actress was delighted with her final performance and praised her partner for being by her side through it all. She also thanked her dedicated fan base.

The season 18 finale of “Dancing With the Stars” was probably the most entertaining and best done episode the series has ever aired. Despite concern about the changes being made earlier in the season, this one will go down in the history books.

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