Despite notching up a perfect score of 40 from the judges, Courtney Act and her dance partner Joshua Keefe failed to take home the Mirrorball Trophy in Sunday night’s grand finale of Dancing With The Stars: All Stars.  

The pair were in line to become the first ever same-sex dance team to win any of the franchises of the show, but instead had to be happy with once again taking the runner-up position.

Courtney wrote on Instagram, “Out of all competition reality shows I’ve lost over the last 20 years, I’ve had the most fun losing this one.” The winner of the Mirrorball Trophy is decided through a public vote. 

Bringing Mardi Gras To The Ballroom Floor

Courtney (whose non-drag name is Shane Jenek) and Joshua danced a freestyle routine to Harry Styles’ Treat People with Kindness. Courtney admitted “It’s going to be tough to top our last grand final dance” and following their performance, told the judging panel that, “We wanted to bring a little Mardi Gras to the ballroom floor.”

In the pre-performance clip, Courtney said, “I think what we will do differently in this dance is really focus on the technique and the dancing.”

Joshua described the routine saying, “We’ve got lifts, we’ve got tricks, we’ve got about five different dance styles in there. I hope Shane can handle it all. I’m sure he will.”

“I think we can’t do enough. I think we need a big start, we need to do an amazing middle and a furious crazy end,” said Keefe.

Following their dance Courtney praised the show and her experience being a part of it. “This has been the healthiest work environment…Who’d have thought, a drag queen, an AFL player … people from totally different walks of life getting along and having a great time. It’s just the most beautiful show on TV.”

Be Yourself

Judge Mark Wilson praised the pair, saying, “You really validate what community in life is about now, non-judgement and complete acceptance. It’s a special moment in Dancing with the Stars, it’s a special moment in Australia’s society to look and say we are all one. Thanks for being a part of this.”

The previous week, the team (with Jenek dancing out of drag), performed a dance representing a gay love story.

“Our last dance was like a dream. I just felt this sense of relief that we had done our boy-meets-boy love story justice,” Courtney said of her performance in last week’s episode.

“I loved it. It was beautiful choreography but the story I thought was so important to bring to the stage,” said Mark Wilson.

“If you can be yourself and be celebrated for it, that’s the most wonderful thing ever,” Courtney said.

The final performance was bittersweet for the dance team. “There’s something so special about what Josh and I have, about this partnership that we’ve forged and now that we’re going to the end it feels like that little bubble is going to burst soon, which is really sad because doing this is my favourite thing to do in the world,” Courtney said.

Grant Denyer Wins ‘Dancing With The Stars Australia

Many had expected Courtney and Joshua to triumph in the finale as the team had consistently ranked high in judges scores throughout the competition. Sportsbet reported fans of the show had predicted that Courtney would nab the trophy with odds of 1.35.

Courtney, who was runner up (along with Keefe) in the 16th season of Dancing With The Stars in 2019, was dancing in support of indigenous suicide prevention charity Black Rainbow.

TV presenter Grant Denyer, who won the mirror ball in 2006, was declared the winner, along with dance partner Lily Cornish.

“I vowed 15 years ago to never dance again because it was the best memory of my life,” Danyer said. “I thought I could never top that so why would you even bother. I’m so glad I changed my mind and did this because it’s been the best sensation.”

It’s been a busy time for Courtney Act. The drag icon is also currently starring in the Sydney Theatre Company’s re-mounting of the Noel Coward classic Blithe Spirit, which is running at Sydney Opera House until May 14.


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