In a powerful Season 13 finale, the "Dancing with the Stars" mirror ball trophy went to J.R. Martinez and his partner Karina Smirnoff!
The soldier-turned-actor, whose triumph over severe burns received in Iraq brought raw emotion to the ballroom, had excelled throughout the competition. During Monday's performances, J.R. and Karina came in second, but danced a daring, high-energy freestyle to "Whine Up" by Kat DeLuna. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba said the lifts were the "sickest" she's ever seen. Watch the performance that gave the dancing duo a perfect 30!
Ricki Lake and her partner Derek Hough were eliminated earlier in Tuesday's show, leaving Rob Kardashian and his dancing mate Cheryl Burke to perform one last time against Smirnoff and Martinez. After the votes were tallied, Martinez was named the winner.
Smirnoff covered her face and began crying when she heard the news. "First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who voted for us for 10 weeks," Martinez said. "Thank you, America, for believing in us."
Then he addressed his dance partner, telling Karina, "You are amazing, and I'm so grateful I was able to be a part of your first mirror-ball trophy."
Kardashian felt the same way, despite coming in second. "I'm super thankful. This is such a crazy experience. I'm definitely not sad. I won in my book."