Circus artist René Casselly won the RTL show "Let's Dance".

With a mixture of spectacular acrobatics and soulful dance movements, the 25-year-old and his dance partner Kathrin Menzinger secured victory in the 15th season of the TV show.

The final was like a small triumphal procession: First, the expert jury put the couple in first place, then the television audience confirmed the expert vote.

Early on Saturday morning, Casselly jubilantly lifted the winner's trophy in the form of a thick disco ball.

The fact that he can now adorn himself with the title "Dancing Star 2022" only slowly trickled down to the 25-year-old.

"I still can't believe it, actually," he said.

He used to be "never the big dancer" - but rather the guy who always sat in the corner with a glass of water at parties.

Actually, he only wanted to survive the first show.

That gave him the necessary "serenity".

Compared to the verdict of the jurors, this self-description had to be seen as a blatant understatement.

They showered the artist with praise.

"A dream.

Just a dream,” said Motsi Mabuse after Casselly had performed a tango with Menzinger.

"Pure goosebumps," said Jorge González.

Even the strict and incorruptible adjudicator Joachim Llambi ("You can boo as much as you want - that doesn't bother me!") was so taken with the performance that he could hardly move.

"Why didn't I get up?" he asked after Casselly had been cheered by the audience in Cologne-Ossendorf.

"Because I was speechless.

Because I was speechless how sensational you did it here.” The artist himself said: “I definitely want to make Mr. Llambi proud.” Llambi told him like a father: “You made me proud.” From his point of view, he had Casselly offered the best performance in the final "by a wide margin".

Favorite Janin Ullmann is criticized

The moderator Janin Ullmann (40), who had been considered a favorite by many experts because of her preliminary work, was left behind.

It also got plenty of points, but also minor reviews.

Llambi warned about more "casualty".

"It was a bit over the top," he said.

Third place went to former Paralympic athlete Mathias Mester (35).

He had to listen to Llambi that he danced "maybe sometimes a little too hard, not soft enough".

But the 1.42 meter tall track and field athlete showed the most humorous performance of the evening.

Together with dance partner Renata Lusin (34), he danced across the floor as a blue-painted Smurf – and even fought off an attack by the nasty Smurf enemy Gargamel.

In the rather blue hustle and bustle, moderator Jan Köppen joked: "If you only switch on now: Schalke's rise is being celebrated here." Köppen represented the "Let's Dance" regular moderator Daniel Hartwich, who had to pass due to illness.

According to RTL, it was not a corona infection.

In "Let's Dance" celebrities dance with professional dancers.

Last year, ex-pro footballer Rúrik Gíslason clinched victory dressed as the hammer-wielding thunder god Thor.

Acrobatic contortions and daring jumps

At that time almost five million watched the finale, this time 3.94 million were in front of the screens, which gave RTL an average market share of 18.9 percent for the almost four-hour show.

This time Casselly and Menzinger didn't dig so deep into the costume box, but showed in their last dance in particular why they had made it to the final: acrobatic contortions, jumps and daring lifting figures - also using fireworks - alternated with intensive, rather quieter moments.

The aim was to show "things that had never been seen on "Let's Dance"", said Casselly, who had accidentally given Menzinger a bloody lip during the training in the zeal of the choreography.

The 25-year-old was born in Hamburg and is part of a circus family that is presenting artistry in the seventh generation.

He gained notoriety before "Let's Dance" with appearances on the RTL show "Ninja Warrior Germany", in which candidates have to climb through very difficult courses.

In 2021 he won there.

Winning RTL shows has become a certain tradition in his family.

Cousin Ramon Rosselly already succeeded in doing this in the casting program "Deutschland sucht den Superstar".