Season 29 of Dancing with the Stars began in September of 2020 with a bang. The original cast of 15 singers, actors, and reality stars were all given the opportunity to show off their skills.
Who won 'Dancing with the Stars' Season 29? A look at the winning couple and past contestants.
WINNER: Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev
Former Bachelorette and current Off the Vine podcast host Kaitlyn Bristowe was immediately one of the frontrunners of Season 29. With extensive dance experience — she pursued it professionally in her early adult years — Kaitlyn was always the one to beat.
For the second season in a row, DWTS crowned a former Bachelorette. Hannah Brown won Season 28 with her partner, Alan Bersten.
Before Hannah and Kaitlyn won their Mirrorball trophies, former Bachelor runner-up Melissa Rycroft won All Stars.
After injuring her ankle on the Sept. 21 episode, Kaitlyn almost had to cut her time on the competition short. But, she managed to still perform, and she maintained her first position status on the leaderboard.
The reality star has previously spoken about how it has been a longtime dream of hers to win the show. With her victory secured, it's clear that dreams do come true!
ELIMINATED: Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson
Let's be honest — who was expecting the Catfish host to have some skills in the ballroom? Not us, but Nev Schulman continued to impress viewers week after week. Nev remained on the upper half of the leaderboard throughout the show, and he never had any major stumbles.
He just missed winning the show, as he came in second place.
ELIMINATED: Nelly and Daniella Karagach
The "Ride Wit Me" singer performed to his own song in Week 1, and he's largely stayed in the middle of the pack since then. He even secured a few 10s in the semi-finals. With his backflips and the coolest dancing shoes on the floor, Nelly made his mark on the competition.
After securing a spot in the final episode (which polarized viewers), Nelly wrapped up the season in third place.
ELIMINATED: Justina Machado and Sasha Farber
The One Day at a Time actress took her DWTS experience one week at a time, and many were convinced that she could win first place.
Each week, Justina took on complicated routines, which the judges definitely noticed. Though she made it to the finale, Justina and Sasha came in fourth place.
ELIMINATED: Johnny Weir and Britt Stewart
Johnny is no stranger to effortless performances on the ice, but the ballroom is entirely different for the figure skater. He got to perform to a Lady Gaga song during his second week, who is one of his all-time favorite artists, but it wasn't enough for the first place finish on the leaderboard.
He escaped elimination a few times because the judges valued his consistency and clear dance skills. But, he was eliminated just ahead of the finale.
ELIMINATED: Skai Jackson and Alan Bersten
The Disney darling and activist was another top contender for Season 29, but she also was eliminated right before the finale. Alan will not be securing his second consecutive victory with Skai, though many thought that the 18-year-old had the makings of a champion.
ELIMINATED: AJ McLean and Cheryl Burke
Though AJ has dance experience as a member of the Backstreet Boys, the band's choreography could not prepare him for DWTS.
During the most shocking elimination of the season, AJ and Cheryl landed in the Bottom 2 alongside Britt and Johnny. Despite being a longtime frontrunner, AJ and Cheryl got the boot from Bruno and Carrie Ann.
ELIMINATED: Chrishell Stause and Gleb Savchenko
After Week 1, Chrishell and Gleb were at the bottom of the leaderboard, with only Carole Baskin and Charles Oakley beneath them. The Selling Sunset agent and soap opera actress improved throughout the competition, and they received high scores on their contemporary dance during Week 6.
The couple was cut in Week 8, which was originally intended to be a Double Elimination Night (until Jeannie Mai had to drop out ahead of time).
ELIMINATED: Jeannie Mai and Brandon Armstrong
The Real host certainly caught the judges' attention in Week 1 when she did some acrobatics with partner Brandon during their salsa. They received a total of 18 for the first week, and they evaded elimination. The TV personality performed a cha-cha for the second week, and she got the exact same score.
Though Jeannie and Brandon were one of the strongest pairs on Season 29, they had to drop out of the competition ahead of the Nov. 2 episode because of an issue with her throat.
"It saddens me that I will not be able to continue with the competition on DWTS. My doctors discovered a health concern with my throat which requires immediate attention and surgery. I am heartbroken that my DWTS journey has to end here," Jeannie said in a statement to Us Weekly. "The last several weeks have been an amazing learning experience. I have pushed myself to new limits physically and mentally, and I am so proud of how far we've come."
Jeannie went on to thank Brandon for being such a "supportive" partner, and her fans for voting for her. She was the first contestant of the season to quit because of an injury. Kaitlyn Bristowe dealt with an ankle issue at the beginning of the season, but she was able to continue dancing.
ELIMINATED: Monica Aldama and Val Chmerkovskiy
Though the Cheer coach is all about precision and nailing the choreography when critiquing the Navarro squad, she admitted that she's been struggling with those elements herself on the show.
Monica and Val were one of the few duos who actually went down in score after their second performances. They landed in the bottom once before they were ultimately sent home during Halloween week.
ELIMINATED: Vernon Davis and Peta Murgatroyd
The former NFL tight end and Super Bowl winner is used to performing at his best. He had a solid debut in Week 1 with the foxtrot, and Derek admitted he was "surprised" by Vernon's abilities.
He improved his score by one point in the second week with his passionate Paso Doble performance (during which he also showed off his abs).
Vernon has held steady at a 22 for his third and fourth week dances, but he was eliminated the week after he first landed in the bottom two. The judges chose to save Johnny and Britt instead.
ELIMINATED: Jesse Metcalfe and Sharna Burgess
John Tucker Must Dance!
The actor and heartthrob impressed the judges with his quickstep in Week 1 (which is known for being one of the toughest dances featured on the show). He improved his score by two in the second week, which is a good sign for any competitor.
However, the actor finished at the bottom of the board in Week 3 and was hoping to once again impress the judges the following week. But, Jesse once again was one of the lowest-scoring couples of the night and was ultimately put up for elimination against Vernon Davis and Peta Murgatroyd. Unanimously, the judges decided to keep the latter, and Jesse and Sharna were sent home.
ELIMINATED: Anne Heche and Keo Motsepe
The actress and mom of two surprised her own kids with her dancing abilities, but she wasn't the one to help Keo secure his first win on the show.
After landing in the bottom with Carole Baskin during Week 3, it was clear that the writing was on the wall for Anne and Keo.
ELIMINATED: Carole Baskin and Pasha Pashkov
Despite performing to "Eye of the Tiger" in Week 1, nothing could help Carole become one of the top competitors for Season 29. To add insult to injury, her former husband Don Lewis' family even paid for a commercial to run during the premiere about how they believe the animal activist is involved in his disappearance.
The Tiger King alum narrowly missed the first elimination by getting saved by Derek Hough. She was cut from the show in the third week of competition (and she was the second star eliminated overall) after performing to The Lion King during Disney Night.
ELIMINATED: Charles Oakley and Emma Slater
The former Chicago Bull is accustomed to winning on the court, but he couldn't make it happen on the dance floor. His footwork was the subject of criticism from the judges, and he floundered at the bottom of the leaderboard for two consecutive weeks.
He was the first dance hopeful to get cut from the series, after receiving votes from both Carrie Ann and Derek. While some viewers were convinced that Carole was only saved for the purpose of ratings, it was evident that Charles wasn't likely going to make it to the finals anyway.