Last night’s season finale of Dancing with the Stars took a surprising turn in the final elimination, leaving the season’s dark horse pitted against a longtime fan favorite.
The night’s first elimination saw early frontrunner and judge’s favorite Ricki Lake sent to the sidelines. Lake’s departure left late bloomer Rob Kardashian to battle frontrunner J.R. Martinez for the mirror ball trophy. Kardashian emerged with the higher scores of the night, but he couldn’t garner the votes to win against Marintez. Martinez, an Iraqi war veteran turned actor, won the mirror ball trophy.
“First and foremost, I want to thank everybody who voted for us for 10 weeks. Thank you America for believing in us,” Martinez said.
Talking to partner Karina Smirnoff, the 28-year-old said, “I’m so grateful that I was able to be part of your first mirror ball trophy. She deserves it … the fact that I was able to be part of that journey, I’m excited about that.”
Although Lake and Kardashian were sent home empty handed after weeks of hard work, neither was upset about losing to Martinez.
“I’m super thankful,” Kardashian said. “This is such a crazy experience. I’m definitely not sad. I won in my book.”
“I’ve loved basically every minute of this. I’ve done something that I really didn’t think I could do and for someone who is a middle-aged mom, I hope I made my children proud, my fiance and my family,” Lake added. “J.R. and Karina really deserved to win. And Rob and Cheryl, I’m so impressed with them both, so it’s great to be among the three best.”