Guest Post: Behind the Scenes of the Dancing with the Stars Season 27 Finale

I’m excited to welcome Laura as a guest writer today! She had the exciting opportunity to be an audience member at this past Monday’s live taping of the Season 27 finale of Dancing with the Stars (the one that’s causing a bit of commotion on the internet!). If you were surprised at the final results watching from home, then read on to find out what it was like in person!

Ever wondered what it’s like to be in the audience for a live TV show? Are you a fan of Dancing with the Stars? I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Season 27 finale earlier this week and thought I would take you behind the scenes with me…

IMG_4293To get in the audience for DWTS, you either go through this website or need to be a guest of someone associated with the show. Two ballroom friends and I were guests of one of the pro dancers, so that put us on a VIP list. That meant we did not have to arrive as early as other audience members, there were chairs waiting with our names on them, and we were allowed to keep our cell phones during the show.

When we got to the CBS studio, we were directed to a check-in tent right in the middle of the cast’s trailers…and we just so happened to be walking behind Maureen McCormick (Brady Bunch) and Kendall Long (“Grocery Store” Joe’s girlfriend)!  Some of the pros were chilling by the tent including a shirtless Keo and Alan (not mad!) chatting with Peta. There, we received a wristband and got our hand stamped before an assistant escorted us onto the set. Around a few corners, through a curtain, and boom! There we were on the set I’ve seen on my TV every Monday night for the last 10+ years. It was surreal.


Our seats were in the balcony right above the judges. Shortly after finding our chairs, there was an announcement that all audience members were invited down to the dance floor to dance on the ballroom floor – how fun! They played a few songs and then we went back to the balcony and practiced cheering loudly, so the audio team could get some sound bites. We were instructed that everyone in the balconies had to stand whenever the show was live and that we could sit during commercial breaks. Then there was a countdown and the show went live!

audience wrangler

Clap, people, clap!

They had prerecorded the finale intro during a shoot Saturday night, but we were able to watch that on large screens at both ends of the ballroom. We had an audience wrangler who would wave his hands in the air when we needed to clap. What surprised me a bit is that we often couldn’t hear what was being said, but the cast is mic’d so it didn’t matter for the audience at home. During each commercial break, the screens would show a countdown of how much time was left and we had to stand up when it got to 20 seconds. During those breaks, it was amazing to see how fast and efficiently the crew worked to change complex sets.

My favorite moments of the show:

  • Watching Artem and Sharna dancing to Dan+Shay’s live performance. Just gorgeous! The emotion and nuance of their movements are absolute #dancegoals for me.
  • Milo and Whitney’s freestyle. Seriously one of my favorite freestyles EVER.
  • Juan Pablo and Cheryl’s Argentine tango encore performance. So sharp. Excellent dancing.
  • A shirtless Nick Viall (previous contestant from The Bachelor) dancing on the judges table during Joe’s number. HOT.

Ok, so the results…

When they announced Bobby and Sharna as the winners, the ballroom was in shock. There were a few seconds of silence with jaws on the ground before people came to their senses and slowly started clapping. The other contestants & pros had been up in the skybox and were allowed to come to the stairs while they waited for Tom to say the winners. But when he announced Bobby & Sharna, even they stopped in their tracks instead of running straight out to celebrate the winners. It was crazy, I don’t think anyone saw that coming. With all the craziness this season (like Juan Pablo not making the finale despite being the only team to get a perfect score in the semifinals), it will be interesting to see if changes are made next year. Personally, I think a judge’s save needs to be implemented, or that the audience vote should determine the bottom two each week and then the judges decide which couple leaves the competition. Regardless, congratulations to Sharna on her first mirror ball!


The winners!

About the author: Laura has been dancing for 7 years, first on her university’s ballroom dance team and then as a pro-am competitor after graduation. She writes her own blog at Chai and ChaCha. You can also connect with her on Instagram to follow her dance journey!

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