Gearing Up for the Dancing With the Stars Finale

Lights fall over the empty Dancing With the Stars ballroom. Only time will tell who will take home the Mirror Ball.

Lights fall over the empty Dancing With the Stars ballroom. Only time will tell who will take home the Mirror Ball.

Meghan Kent, Staff Reporter

  With season thirty of Dancing With the Stars coming to an end next week, the four couples advancing to the finale were revealed in the Semi-Finals on Monday, November 15th. This year’s season has been full of growth, self-discovery, overcoming restrictions due to Covid-19, and shocking eliminations. Season thirty saw the return of judge Len Goodman and host Tyra Banks. Season thirty judges, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, and Derek Hough, commended the competitors over improvements since day one and the individual talents. Senior Emily-Rose Hall says, “This season has been fantastic! All of the dancers are very talented.” Hall’s opinion of this echo’s the overarching opinion of all fans.

  This season has been full of groundbreaking changes starting all the way back in the beginning. Dancing With the Stars made history showcasing the first ever same-sex dancer partners in the shows history: Nickelodeon star JoJo Siwa and her dance partner, Jenna Johnson. The pair was met with much enthusiasm from judges and viewers alike. Now, they are heading to the finale with the top score. This year’s finale is also breaking records with competitor Iman Shumpert, becoming the first NBA player to reach the finals. The judges praised Shumpert for being able to overcome physical struggles due to his height difference with partner Daniella Karagach. 

  Although it has been a groundbreaking season, Dancing With the Stars season thirty has not come without controversy. After the cast for the 2021 season was revealed, fans criticized the show for one competitor in particular, YouTube star Oliva Jade. Following her involvement in the 2019 college admissions scandal, fans and onlookers wondered if it was too soon to feature such a controversial figure on the show. Despite fan criticism, host Tyra Banks and Jade’s dance partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, stood behind Jade’s decision to compete on the show. When criticism over Jade’s casting calmed down, rumor began to swirl that Jade had a deal with Dancing With the Stars producers to not get eliminated in the first few episodes. Executives at ABC, the channel where the program airs, quickly shut down rumors about any sort of immunity from elimination. 

  Covid-19 had a big impact on this season, with several cast members testing positive. In late September, dance partners Cody Rigsby and Cheryl Burke tested positive and more recently, on November 16th, judge Derek Hough also tested positive. All three were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at the time of testing positive. Rigsby and Burke continued to compete and are now heading to the finale. 

  Overall, season thirty has had plenty of ups and downs, but has not disappointed fans. Going into the finale, it is any of the finalists’ games. Although the fan favorite is unclear, senior Emily-Rose Hall says, “I hope that JoJo and Jenna win in the finale!” All of the season’s finalists have fans on the edge of their seats wondering who will win.