On Tuesday night’s “Dancing With the Stars” finale, there was much pomp before the circumstance. By the time the dust settled, war hero J.R. Martinez and his partner Karina Smirnoff were crowned season 13 champs.
The three finalists — Ricki Lake, Rob Kardashian and Martinez — danced one last time before Martinez’s win was announced.
Lake and her partner Derek Hough were up first, redoing what they considered to be one of their best dances. The judges thought it was unforgettable. “This is one of the most memorable dances of this or any season. The first time around, I really liked it. I love it the second time around,” head judge Len Goodman told the pair. The judges scored them 30/30.
Next up, was Kardashian and his partner Cheryl Burke, redoing their emotional dance from earlier in the season, which Kardashian dedicated to his late father. The judges noted a quick mistake he made on a slide, but Bruno Tonioli said, “You really have improved beyond everyone’s expectations. You make even the little hiccup look charming.” The judges scored them 26/30.
Martinez and Smirnoff rounded out the routines by taking another shot at a jive, and even though they had a few missteps, judge Carrie Ann Inaba said, “You are such a catalyst for joy whenever you get out on this dance floor.” The judges scored them 28/30.
The judges finally revealed which of the three would be the first to head home. Surprisingly, it was Lake and Hough, who were favorites for much of the season.
“I’ve loved basically every minute of this. I really feel like I had the best partner, the best teacher and the best motivator. For someone’s who’s a middle-aged mom, I hope I made my children proud, my fiancé and my family. I really appreciate everyone who voted for me along the way,” Lake said.
With just a few minutes left in the show, Martinez and Smirnoff were announced as the victors.
“Thank you, America, for believing in us,” Martinez said, giving it up for the fans and his partner, Smirnoff, who has never won the coveted trophy before.
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