It is official. NBA star Iman Shumpert made history last night being awarded the mirror ball trophy for the must-see season 30 of Dancing with the Stars. The finale was jam-packed with talented celebrities-turned-dancers—specifically Iman Shumpert, JoJo Siwa, Amanda Kloots, and Cody Rigsby—making it an extremely tight race.
Throughout the history of the show, no NBA player has ever made it to the finale of the beloved franchise, let alone win. Shumpert decided to beat the odds. The NBA star was considered the underdog of the season with the drastic height difference between himself, at 6'5, and his dance partner, Daniella Karagach, who's a foot shorter at 5'5. Since basketball players seemed to be cursed not to make it to the finals, the duo made it their mission to prove everyone wrong.
Just look at one of Iman and Daniella’s final performances; we would not want to be in a dance battle with these two.
For the finale, the iconic stars and their dance partners performed two final routines, a fusion dance where the duos would have to combine two dance styles, alongside a final freestyle routine to finish the star-studded event. The night began with Kloots with her professional partner, Alan Bersten, who both received a 38 out of 40 for their Viennese waltz.
According to fellow dancing pro, Julianne Hough, the talented duo “found the balance perfectly” while oozing the passion the audience was craving. They later performed a powerfully moving freestyle dance routine to the song “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay, receiving a 40 out of 40.
Rigsby followed with his pro partner, Cheryl Burke, who performed a paso doble and cha-cha fusion dance, receiving a score of 36 out of 40. The dance duo did not let that get them down as they wowed the judges and the crowd with their freestyle dance of the evening to a medley of "Beethoven's Fifth" and "Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels (Just Dance Version)" by Todrick Hall with the couple receiving a perfect score.
The third performance of the night was Siwa, who also made history this season being the first same-sex dance pairing in the series franchise with Jenna Johnson. The pairing performed a tango cha-cha fusion, which received the first perfect scores of the night, leaving the audience and judges wanting more. They later performed a freestyle to “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, which garnered them yet another perfect score of the night.
Her freestyle was meant to be a celebration, but for JoJo it was paying homage to her own personal journey this year. The triple-threat who came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in January has been able to live her truth openly for the first time in years. JoJo Siwa was stiff competition for the NBA star, but Iman used that professional athlete competitiveness as fuel to kill his final performances.
Shumpert and Daniella performed a lively foxtrot cha-cha fusion receiving a perfect score and high praises from the judges. Bruno called Iman the “king of the ballroom,” while Len shared that, “sometimes underdogs bite back, and that’s what you’ve done tonight.” Pretty kind words from the candidly honest judges.
The couple ended off the night with an over-the-top freestyle routine that left us speechless. The duo danced to a medley of "Lose Control" by Missy Elliott featuring Ciara and Fat Man Scoop and "Bounce" by DJ Clent, with the couple receiving another perfect score of 40 out of 40. JoJo and Iman were truly neck and neck last night and left no crumbs for the viewers.
The final ranking was Banks in fourth, Rigsby in third, Siwa in second place, and Shumpert his dance partner Karagach in first place receiving the coveted mirror ball trophy last night. The historic win was well-deserved, and Iman Shumpert beat the odds with his powerful performances this season.
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