Can’t Stop Watching: ‘DWTS’ Champs: Amber Riley & Derek Hough, A Quick Thanksgiving Dish, Kelly Rowland Engaged & More

Amber Riley and Derek Hough were crowned Season 17 Champions and awarded the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy, on the two-hour Season Finale on "Dancing with the Stars." (Photo: ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

I am two for two this week! I predicted that Chalky White and Daughter Maitland’s relationship would lead to heartache for him on “Boardwalk Empire.” Sunday's season finale for the HBO series backed my early suspicions. And Tuesday night, “Glee” star Amber Riley and her pro partner Derek Hough were crowned “Dancing with the Stars” season 17 champions. This morning, I'm watching the winners and finalists on "Good Morning America" (hey, it's an ABC show) and celebrating with them. Riley's also the first black woman to ever win (thanks, George Stephanopoulos for pointing that out!)As I previously shared, I've seen snippets of the show here and there but this is the first season I actually followed. And Riley and Hough were my favorites from the start. For me, it was Riley's good-natured spirit and determination coupled with five-time champion Hough’s talent and willingness to match her enthusiasm. They were dynamite. Oh, and Riley can move. Let’s remember that. For someone who never took a dancing class before, the plus-sized beauty looked as good as any professional, knee injuries and all. Challengers Corbin Bleu and his pro partner Karina Smirnoff were hot, too. They won me over Monday with their freestyle dance to Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.” However, Riley and Hough brought it with their freestyle as well, and earned a dial-in vote from me (I attempted to vote for Bleu and Smirnoff but the number disappeared before I could.). The Riley-Hough freestyle, which also incorporated stepping moves, was so popular that viewers requested an encore performance last night (yep, I tweeted #encoreAmber). They recreated that magic plus group dances and a fusion style piece, the latter they were judged.  Dancing to Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher” the pair showcased a saucy integration of the Samba and Quickstep. “It was like seamlessly and effortlessly going back and forth between two styles. It was like a brand-new style dance,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba raved while judge Len Goodman, who’s probably the most critical, cooed, “You are absolutely bedazzling.” Judge Bruno Tonioli told her, “I counted every beat you did not put a foot wrong.” They’re right; the performance was very tight. And they deserve to take home the Mirror Ball Trophy.  Don’t believe me? Watch day two of finale episode here

Watch Amber Riley and Derek Hough’s Winning Samba/Quickstep
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Here’s what else is poppin’…
The first time I had Brussels sprouts was during a Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ house. My sister suggested my mother add them as one of the many sides. And you know, they were delish! Although I love cabbage, I’d been turned off by Brussels sprouts since seeing Rudy Huxtable refuse to eat them on “The Cosby Show.” So watching “Black Nativity” star Tyrese Gibson help make caramelized “Mini-Me cabbages” recently on ABC’s “The Chew” earned a gold star from me. “[It’s] a great, last minute Thanksgiving side dish,” co-host Clinton Kelly said. You could roast them, as I do, or prepare them like Gibson. Watch them make those little suckers here. Gibson’s “Black Nativity” co-star Mary J. Blige also is in the holiday spirit. Aside from starring in “Black Nativity,” which hits theaters today, Blige has a one-hour holiday special, “A Mary Christmas,” airing Thanksgiving night at 9 p.m. EST on Revolt TV. The singer recently visited “Chelsea Lately” to discuss the special and confessed to host Chelsea Handler that she was nervous performing the national anthem during her World Series performance. “Before I go out there, I pray myself up, get my courage, and then I go out there and do what I’m supposed to do,” Blige says.”Something that big I’m consistently nervous through the whole thing.” The busy sista also heads to Oslo, Norway next week for the Nobel Prize concert “It’s a big year for you girlfriend,” Handler told Blige. Indeed. Watch the interview here. You know who else will enjoy Happy Holidays? Kelly Rowland. She’s reportedly engaged to her manager and boyfriend Tim Witherspoon. Engagement suspicions circulated when she was spotted in a friends Instagram video donning a nice sparkler. This will be the first wedding for “The X-Factor” judge and former Destiny Child’s member. Watch more here.

On my watchlist? What I’m tuning in to see and what I’ll catch up with XFINITY On Demand…
“Preachers of LA”: The controversial series about six Los Angeles-area pastors concludes. It airs at tonight at 10 p.m. EST on Oxygen. [Watch here]
“Chicago Fire”: You know I was watching “DWTS” last night so will catch up on XFINITY. It airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on NBC. [Watch here]

The Hot List: Who/What’s Hot, Not
HOT: Gladys Knight, her husband and family will star in a one-hour special, “Knight Life with Gladys,” that’ll air December 28 at 10 p.m. EST on OWN (Love me some Gladys Knight, the Empress of Soul!).
NOT: Dinesh D’Souza, the right-wing filmmaker behind the documentary 2016: Obama’s America,” referred to President Barack Obama as a “Grown-Up Trayvon in the White House!” (Really, dude, offer your opinions about Obama but was it necessary to mention Trayvon Martin?)

HOT: Amber Riley and Derek Hough winning “Dancing with the Stars” (Yes, I said it before and will say it again, Congratulations!).
NOT: Merrick McKoy posting a selfie of his 19-month-old daughter, Mia McKoy-Phanthavongsa, before fatally shooting her and wounding himself (This guy had issues and this act was selfishly unnecessary.).

Follow Aisha I. Jefferson on Twitter @AishaIman.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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