Published May 22, 2013
It’s official: Fan favorite Kellie Pickler is now the proud owner of a “Dancing with the Stars” mirror ball trophy.
The “American Idol” star looked stunned when host Tom Bergeron announced that she and partner Derek Hough were the winners of season 16.
“Oh my god,” exclaimed an ecstatic Pickler, as Bergeron congratulated the country singer and asked if she had visualized her triumph. “No, not at all. This is amazing. Oh my God,” squealed the country star, 26, as gold confetti rained in the background.
“Grandpa Ken, we got you the trophy, buddy,” cheered Hough.
Picklers’ grandfather, Ken Morton, is a longtime fan of ABC’s dance competition, and actually asked for divine intervention when he learned his granddaughter would be competing on the latest season of “Dancing with the Stars.”
"Right before I left Nashville for L.A., my Grandpa Ken, who is a huge fan of the show, told me he was praying that Derek would be my partner, because that's his favorite male dancer on the show," Pickler explained to People magazine back in February. "Now I think I will tell him to pray that we win!"
Grandpa Ken’s prayers seemed to work, as Pickler and Hough earned two perfect scores of 30 on Monday night, along with another perfect score of 30 for her “Instant Dance” to the jive on Tuesday.
Even though Picklers and Hough landed in 2nd place for their Cha Cha relay on Monday night for a combined total of 94 points, they had won a majority of the fans’ votes– who had cast their ballot via phone, text and Facebook– to tip the scales in their favor for the win (due to “technical difficulties” during the East Coast broadcast on Monday night, votes cast to ABC.com were not counted).
After Pickler was handed the mirror ball trophy by Bergeron, third place runner-up Jacoby Jones lifted her high upon his shoulders in triumph, as dancer Mark Ballas did the same for Hough.
Meanwhile, Disney star Zendaya Coleman–who had a combined perfect score of 95 for her performances on Monday and Tuesday nights–was gracious in her defeat.
"I'm very proud and I'm very happy," a poised Coleman told host Brooke Burke-Charvet. “And I get to leave here with an amazing experience, so I’m very happy.”
Coleman’s partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, left “Dancing with the Stars” with more than just an amazing experience– the Ukrainian-born dance pro also left with a permanent scar over his right eye.
“It’s good. I’m still pretty,” a bruised Chmerkovskiy joked to Burke-Charvet. “Fourteen stitches, five on the inside and nine on the outside.”
Good thing Chmerkovskiy was in a ballroom and not on a football field.
Jones, the Baltimore Ravens wide receiver who, after receiving a flurry of fan votes, was catapulted to third from fourth place after earning the lowest combined score among the finalists, was philosophical about his experience on the show.
“Well, out of all my trainers that I’ve had, I’ve never had a woman that’s pushed me like she did,” Jones told Burke-Charvet of his partner, Karina Smirnoff. “So, when I go back (to the NFL), all this gracefulness, footwork, everything...I’ll be catching the ball like this,” he said, miming a pirouette.
Despite having a higher combined score than Jones, Olympic gymnast Alexandra Raisman landed in fourth place and was eliminated at the beginning on Tuesday night’s show.
"This has been the best experience of my life," said the Massachusetts native who won a gold medal in London last summer. "My whole life, all I've ever known has been gymnastics, so to try something new has been amazing."
The four finalists were not the only celebrities to hit the dance floor during the live two-hour finale. Comedians Andy Dick and D.L. Hugely, Olympian Dorothy Hamill, soap star Ingo Rademacher, “Real Housewife” Lisa Vanderpump, “Bachelor” star Sean Lowe and boxer Victor Ortiz all returned to the ballroom to shake their groove thangs one last time.
Former contestant Wynonna Judd, however, opted instead to briefly roll out on a “Mall Cop”-style personal transporter along with partner Tony Dovolani.
Perhaps Judd was preserving her energy. Later in the show, the country superstar performed “I Want to Know What Love Is.”
Also helping to prolong the suspense of who would win season 16 was Pitbull, who sang his new single, “Hands Up,” Korean pop star PSY, who sang and danced to his latest quirky single, “Gentleman,” and finally, “American Idol” fave Jessica Sanchez, who performed a version of Pitbull’s “Feel This Moment.”
Next Up: Big changes are in store for season 17 of “Dancing with the Stars.” Instead of airing two nights a week, ABC plans to run the show during one two-hour block on Monday nights.