'Dancing with the Stars' Season 18 Recap: Finale Part Two

By Michael Pascua,
Will Maks finally get his first win in 10 years?

We welcomed back all the celebrities and troupe, judges, and final three all in silver. We got to watch how Maks was in tears after his freestyle and Meryl was supportive of him. The winning Encore Freestyle was James and Peta, which allowed the final three to have a little bit of breathing time before they had to dance and not the extra pressure of dancing another routine before their last dance. James' performance was still as energetic as before, his wall-flip not as clean as last night.

After Amy's injury, we got to watch the Team Loca group performance for the first time. The timing wasn't as smooth as the rehearsal, but it didn't matter if they missed a pass or were as clean. The routine was still fun to watch, but it made me wonder how Danica would have compared against Amy and Meryl.

The performance of Iggy Azalea had a live moment where she couldn't figure out when to start. Poor Val looked at her confused as he tried to help her down the stairs but couldn't do anything. She tried to recover, but I think she knew that she was going to hear about this in the morning. She also needs to work on her breathing skills.

We had dances from Drew, NeNe, Danica, Charlie, James and a musical performance from Cody. Charlie must be cursed with his canes because he ended up breaking Sharna's umbrella this time around.

Our last champion, Amber Riley, got to perform her song "Colorblind" and a Walgreens sponsored routine where she sang and danced with Val.

Round 3 - 24 Hour Fusion Challenge

Amy & Derek
Fusion - Argentine Tango & Cha-Cha
Song - "Rather Be" by Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne
Ten weeks later, the two walked into their studio with pictures of their performances. Amy was in tears thinking about how much hard work and memories they made through this whole season. Amy sees the end of this show as a beginning for herself. I liked the legwork of the Argentine Tango as it started and the lean was beautiful. You could clearly see both styles incorporated and it was nice to watch. The cha-cha section wasn't the most technical, but it was a clean and pretty performance.

Len knew that Amy was an inspiration, but emphasized that she was a fantastic dancer. Bruno thought her dancing was the best. Carrie Ann told Amy that her performances were uplifting.

Score: 30 (10,10,10)
Final Score: 89/90

Candace & Mark
Fusion - Quickstep & Samba
Song - "Sir Duke" by Stevie Wonder
Candace smiled at her photos and told Mark that he was the best coach. She's excited that she's still standing and was grateful for the experience. Candace was all smiles in the beginning of her dance. The Quickstep felt oddly familiar, but the movements were nice. The moves felt a little slow and calculated. Candace had moments where she looked like she forgot steps or the transitions between some of the dances were awkward.

Bruno loved the charm and appreciated the hard work. Carrie Ann thought she nailed the dance. Len knew she was the dark horse and appreciated her work.

Score: 27 (9,9,9)
Final Score: 78/90

Meryl & Maks
Fusion - Foxtrot & Cha-Cha
Song - "Glowing" by Nikki Williams
Meryl was excited to see her pictures but the two went into practicing almost immediately. Maks pointed out how proud he was as a partner and as a friend. Maks knew that Meryl did more than she expected. I thought their dance felt the most content-full. The Foxtrot was actually noticeable and much more traditional than their original Foxtrot. I liked the clothing transition between the two. The fusion was less of a "fusion" but more like one dance followed by the other.

Carrie Ann let Meryl and Maks enjoy the applause and mentioned that the couple was the best of the season. Len saw this season full of twists and turns; he mentioned that it may be his last season and would have loved how this would have been a great ending. Bruno felt like he was discovering his first love of dance.

Score: 30 (10,10,10)
Final Score: 90/90

After a performance of "Human" by Christina Perri, Tom announced that the couple in third place was Candace and Mark. She pretty much knew that she was third from the look on her face. She felt like she already won even just being in third.

The final two couples were nervously watching as Amy and Derek looked at Meryl and Maks, knowing that they would win. Of course, Meryl and Maks won and Maks was ecstatic; Tony was jumping as high as Maks. Maks pointed out that 10 years felt like forever and this win was sweeter with Meryl.

Image credit: ABC, Photographer: Adam Taylor

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