Retired NFL star Calvin Johnson never ever made it come a super Bowl through the Detroit Lions. But Tuesday night was his possibility to win the at sight Mirror sphere – the glittering trophy that"s the ultimate prize top top ABC"s "Dancing with the Stars."

The former broad receiver provided it his every on the final night that season 23 that the long-running truth competition. But even despite he to be the MVP of motor City pan (and many, many others), Johnson finished in third place.

You are watching: Calvin on dancing with the stars

The winner to be Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, a favorite to reach the optimal spot since the celebrity contestants to be announced in so late August. Race auto driver James Hinchcliffe was the runner-up

It to be the very first time in the show"s history the all 3 finalists to be athletes.

►Related: 5 factors Lions great Calvin Johnson have to win "Dancing with the Stars"

"This is an suffer that will continue to be with me forever," said the soft-spoken Johnson throughout a taped rehearsal segment. And why not? Megatron defied the preseason buzz the he couldn"t dance and also won end viewers with his charisma.

Approaching the Tuesday finale, Johnson was the underdog. He perfect in third place Monday night ~ above the "DWTS" leader board through a full of 75 points because that his two routines, following Hinchcliffe in 2nd with 77 and Hernandez an initial with 78.

During Tuesday"s two-hour illustration that brought earlier all 13 contestants, Johnson had a chance to repeat his October tango come "Hotel California" v pro partner Lindsay Arnold and joined his bromance pal Hinchcliffe for an all-male ensemble dance to the new Bruno Mars song “24K."

He also faced the judges one last time in the 24-Hour blend Challenge, a blend of two dancing styles that the final three pairs had simply one day to perfect.

Performing a quickstep-jive combo to tiny Richard"s "Tutti Frutti," Johnson to be a research in speed and also accuracy. But the combination choreography didn"t give him a opportunity to present off the spectacular lifts the made him and Arnold the most daring contenders.

It didn"t matter. The judges gave him a perfect score that 40 and also lavished him with sufficient compliments come make him sound prefer a "DWTS" hall of fame candidate.

"There"s not sufficient rhinestones in this people or that jacket come shine together bright together you," said Julianne Hough. Carrie Ann Inaba topped that by declaring, "You simply make the civilization a better place as soon as you dance, Calvin, because you"re the everyman"s male dancing,"

Hernandez and also her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, and Hinchcliffe and also his partner, Sharna Burgess, also scored 40s.

In enhancement to all of the dancing, there were breaks for live performances native the Grove in Los Angeles. Returning contestant Vanilla Ice, performing his hit "Ice ice cream Baby," shared the phase with one more season 23 contender, previous Texas governor and also potential Trump room member Rick Perry.

When co-host Erin andrew asked Perry what was much more surreal, sharing the phase with the "90s rap star or visiting President-elect Donald trump in new York City, Perry make the efforts to leave it at a no comment, then blurted, "Being with Vanilla ice is always number one!"

So is the town hall Megatron dance.

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Contact Detroit totally free Press writer Julie Hinds: 313-222-6427 or jhinds