Contestants competing on the all-athletes edition of Dancing with the Stars saw their brief journey come to a close Monday. Fans who tuned in saw that the Season 26 Mirrorball Trophy was awarded to Adam Rippon.
Rippon, 28, is a figure skater who became the first openly gay U.S. male athlete to medal in a Winter Olympics. He earned a combined judges score of 58 out of 60 during Monday’s finale. Throughout this season's abbreviated competition, Rippon impressed judges with his dancing skills alongside partner Jenna Johnson.
"I've felt no advantage whatsoever. I've never competed or danced with a partner before," Rippon told USA Today May 7. "I have no idea of the steps that I'm doing. You're just being thrown into situations where you're not elite. It's something you don't know and you have two weeks to learn it."
Added Rippon, "It's funny. You think you’re moving beautifully on the ice until you work with a dancer who is like, 'What are you doing with those biscuits attached to your ankles?'"
Rippon competed in this season's Top 3 alongside footballer Josh Norman and former figure skater Tonya Harding. Early predictions from GoldDerby placed Rippon as the Season 26 winner. Harding, however, was pegged by oddsmakers as among the first athletes to receive the ax. Ahead of the season's debut, SportsBettingDime.com suggested Harding would be eliminated in week one and fellow figure skater Mirai Nagasu would succeed in winning the Mirrorball Trophy. Yet Nagasu was eliminated in the show's semifinals on May 14.
The three finalists showed off their dancing technique for the last time in two separate routines. The first was a choreographed number, but the second was the athlete's highly-anticipated freestyle routines. Each couple danced to the following songs:
Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson
Jazz — "Anything You Can Do" from Annie Get Your Gun
Freestyle — "Scooby Doo Pa Pa" by DJ Kass
Josh Norman and Sharna Burgess
Foxtrot — "Conqueror" by Empire cast, featuring Estelle and Jussie Smollett
Freestyle — "Walk on Water" by Thirty Seconds to Mars
Tonya Harding and Sasha Farber
Viennese Waltz — "The Time of My Life" by David Cook
Freestyle — "I Will Survive" by The Pussycat Dolls
In winning Season 26, Rippon is the successor to Jordan Fisher. Before earning the Mirrorball Trophy, Fisher's dance skills could be seen in Grease Live! and Disney's Teen Beach Movie. However, he was best known for his work on Disney Channel series Liv and Maddie.
ABC announced in March that the long-running reality series is coming back for Season 27. Unlike Season 26, the upcoming run is expected to premiere within the network's Fall 2018 lineup. ABC confirmed the show will air in its standard Monday slot, but no additional details have been revealed at this time.
Fans of the televised franchise will also be able to look forward to seeing the series take on new life in Dancing with the Stars: Junior. In this new addition, celebrity kids will be partnered up with young professional ballroom dancers. The show is also slated for a Fall 2018 premiere date.
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