Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater!
#TeamShadSquad were announced as the dance competition show's season 24 champions during Tuesday night's finals, happily accepting the coveted Mirrorball trophy and hopping into a car with hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews.
For their last dance, Rashad and Emma performed a cha cha-tango fusion, receiving 39/40 points from the judges, totaling 119/120 for the two-night finale.
“I don’t know if you were necessarily born to win this competition, but you’ve certainly earned it,” said Carrie Ann Inaba, as Bruno Tonioli called the NFL star a “pro’s dream.”
Julianne Hough chimed in, telling the duo, “This is a great way to finish the season. Unbelievable!”
Host Erin Andrews revealed the 32-year-old athlete spent a total of 362 hours in rehearsal, the most of any contestant on the show. “I push myself so hard, because working hard is all I know,” Rashad said. “I just wanted to come out here, get to know myself and fight for this.”
“I wanna thank Rashad for letting me create,” added Emma. “I’m sad because I don’t know if I’ll get this again.”
Luckily, the two will be dancing together over the summer. It was announced during the finale that Rashad is officially joining the DWTS Live! Hot Summer Nights tour
, and will travel with the pro and troupe dancers for as long as he can, pending his No. 1 priority, football.
“While the NFL is my No. 1 priority, I can think of no better way to stay in shape, combined with my intensive football training, until that team calls,” he explained.
The duo also performed their cha cha routine to Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic,” the dance that initially showed just how great Rashad was going to be, right off the bat.
David Ross and Lindsay Arnold, whose last dance was a mix of the foxtrot and salsa, came in second place. The two received a 36/40 from the judges, totaling a score of 109/120 for the finals in addition to viewer votes.
“This experience is something I’ll remember forever,” he said. “I’ll never forget it.”
“People did not expect to see you here,” added Lindsay, who acknowledged her partner's been an underdog not just on the show, but in baseball as well.
“Whatever happens tonight, you already are, to me, the people’s champion,” said Bruno.
Earlier in the night, David and Lindsay also performed their Magic Mike-inspired jazz routine to 50 Cent feat. Olivia’s “Candy Shop,” which they first danced to during Vegas Night.
Shockingly coming in third place, NormaniKordei and Val Chmerkovskiy. #TeamValmani opted for a blend of the Argentine Tango and a foxtrot for their fusion, at one point executing the same arched-back lift from the night before, and absolutely slaying it once again. Unsurprisingly, they received a perfect score of 40/40, totaling 118/120 points over the two-night finals, but unfortunately, it wasn't enough to come out on top.
“It looked like you’d been practicing that for two months,” Julianne shared. “It was flawless, absolutely gorgeous. You are stunning.”
“This was a very special season for me,” Val said. “I’m going to miss dancing with Normani.”
“I just feel like that little girl’s dream came true,” the Fifth Harmony singer said at the beginning of the show. “I have a family!”
Ahead of the “24-hour fusion dance,” Normani and Val performed their sexy week six salsa to “When I Grow Up” by the Pussycat Dolls, but there was a twist! Judges Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman hilariously crashed it, jamming out alongside the troupe dancers in the background.
A pre-taped package of the pro dancers discussing their guesses on who would win the Mirrorball trophy aired ahead of the announcement, with many marveling over Normani’s undeniable talent.
“I wanna be Normani, literally,” Peta Murgatroyd exclaimed.
Previously eliminated contestants Simone Biles, Heather Morris, Bonner Bolton, Nick Viall, Nancy Kerrigan, Erika Jayne, Charo, Mr. T and Chris Kattan all returned to the ballroom on Tuesday and danced to their favorite routines from their time on the show. Hear more highlights from season 24 in the video below!