Haven’t We Seen This Before? Did Val Chmerkovskiy Rip Off A Dance in The ‘DWTS’ Finale?

Corey Cesare
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Val Chmerkovskiy and Laurie Hernandez on 'Dancing With the Stars', Val Chmerkovskiy and Gabby Windey on 'Dancing With the Stars'Photo by: ABC, Photo by: ABC/Eric McCandless

Since the finale of Dancing With the Stars season 31, fans have begun to look back at previous seasons. While reminiscing on the dancers previous Mirrorball wins, fans noticed that a dance with former partner Laurie Hernandez looked very familiar…


Did Val Chmerkovskiy Reuse a Routine in the DWTS Season 31 Finale?

In Monday night’s Dancing With the Stars finale, Gabby Windey and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy danced a freestyle routine to “Cell Block Tango” from the musical Chicago. The pair totally finessed the dance, earning a perfect score.

Since the finale has aired, fans have been quick to notice that Chmerkovskiy has performed to this song before with his season 23 partner, Laurie Hernandez. The pair performed the song in week nine of the competition, in the style of Argentine Tango.

Right off the bat, it was extremely obvious how similar the concepts of these dances are. Both Windey’s freestyle and Hernandez’s Argentine Tango include a red lit ballroom, moveable jail cells, sexy background dancers, and lingerie based dance attire. The biggest differences include the gender of the background dancers, the jail cells themselves, and the dance styles.


@_celych @Laurie Hernandez @valentin @Dancing with the Stars #DWTS #dancing #argentinetango #tango #ballroomdance #latin #gymnastics #olympics #lauriehernandez ♬ Don't I Make It Look Easy – Meghan Trainor

The Freestyle Routine’s Origin

Ahead of the energetic dance, Chmerkovskiy and Windey discussed the creation of it in their package. Within the segment, the professional dancer mentions wanting to make Windey the leading lady of their final dance, much like her time on The Bachelorette.

“When I think of Gabby, I think, strength, I think sexy, and I want to pack that into one performance and really show our growth as a couple, kind of like a Broadway show,” he said.

While watching a side by side of the two dances, it’s apparent that they are quite different (give the style differences). Given the circumstances, I wouldn’t say the professional reused the dance. Instead, I would say the concept was reused.


On the flipside, some may assume that Chmerkovskiy attempted to reuse the concept for an automatic perfect score. For those who don’t know, the professional dancer went on to win a Mirrorball with Hernandez, two weeks after their “Cell Block Tango” Argentine Tango.

@saechti #dwts #dancingwiththestars #disneyplus #week10 #finals #mirrorball #fyp #freestyle #redemption #thebachelorette #gabbywindey @gabbywindey ♬ original sound – saechti

Jenna Johnson Choreographed The Freestyle Routine

This routine quickly becomes a slippery slope, since Chmerkovskiy openly admitted that he didn’t choreograph it. For those who may not know, Chmerkovskiy revealed in the finale that his wife, Jenna Johnson, choreographed the freestyle routine for Windey. So, perhaps this wasn’t purposeful.

“The best part was having my wife support me all season, she’s a pro on the show, Jenna Johnson,” Chmerkovskiy said. “She actually choreographed this piece, our freestyle.”

Since Chmerkovskiy won his last Mirrorball with Hernandez, was he trying to edge in front of Charli D’Amelio and Mark Ballas with this dance? Or was it simply all a coincidence? Let us know how you feel in the comments below.

@omgitsmaddieeee I‘m proud of gabby for stepping out of her comfort zone with this dance #BetheReasonVisa #IntuitTouchdownDance #AEHolidayCard #gabbyandval #dwts #fyp ♬ original sound – maddie🤪
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