Part one of the "Dancing with the Stars" season finale Monday night featured a performance judge Carrie Ann Inaba called "the best dance I have ever seen" in the show's 22 seasons.
While Nyle DiMarco, Paige VanZant, and Ginger Zee made for a strong final three, only one got that super-sized praise.
Inaba's honor went to deaf "America's Next Top Model" star DiMarco, who performed a freestyle to remember. He and partner Peta Murgatroyd danced to a cover version (by Disturbed) of "The Sound of Silence" that he intended to give hope to the deaf community, particularly deaf children.
At the end of the dance, DiMarco and Murgatroyd put their hands over each other's mouths to symbolize the struggle deaf people face. The pair got a perfect 30 for the emotional routine.
"I think we couldn't have had a better night. Every week I'm able to bring my story out," DiMarco explained to FOX411 after the show through an interpreter. "The deaf community really goes through a lot and [I was] really trying to explain how to raise a deaf child ... I'm happy we were able to make it happen.
"There's about 70 million deaf people in the world," DiMarco added, "and only two percent have access to education and 75 percent of parents don't sign to their deaf kids ... and I'm trying to get people to hear us out."
The model, who also scored a 27 for his cowboy quickstep and earned a total of 57 out of 60 points, stressed, "Tonight, my message is really personal."
With his teary-eyed partner Murgatroyd by his side, DiMarco said, "The show has made me realize how I can impact other lives. It's not really about me. It's about the millions of deaf people that live."
DiMarco hasn't heard a note of the "DWTS" music and noted how hard it's been "competing against people that have that hearing advantage ...I just tried to take it week by week and [Murgatroyd] pushed me hard as well.
"I feel like this dance will be something that people will forever reflect on," he said.
Meanwhile, VanZant and partner Mark Ballas wound up on top of the leaderboard for their two dances, the first of which was an energetic salsa that earned a 29 from judges (and served as redemption as it was a re-do of the dance Ballas wasn't able to perform earlier this season due to a back injury).
For their freestyle dance, VanZant and Ballas performed to "Somewhere over the Rainbow," paying tribute to how she overcame the severe bullying that had plagued her years earlier in school and caused her family to flee her hometown.
The freestyle earned VanZant a perfect 30 score for a total of 59.
VanZant told FOX411 the freestyle dance "felt great because I have opened up a lot and I feel like I've used this as a platform to share my story and hopefully inspire a few people out there.
"That dance…is I'm somewhere over the rainbow now, I went through something really hard and traumatic and now the skies are blue and there's positive things happening and I can finally be happy."
VanZant also received a good luck message on camera from her soon-to-be co-star Jean-Claude Van Damme. She will be appearing in an upcoming sequel to his "Kickboxer" movie.
GMA meteorologist Zee overcame a pelvic injury that left her with back spasms and doubt that she could even perform on Monday.
But Zee and partner Val Chmerkovskiy plowed ahead and after the show, she told reporters she had "a little back tightness but other than that, I feel awesome. We did it. We made it through."
The two received 28 for their first dance and 30 for their Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers-inspired freestyle for a total of 58.
Still, Zee admitted the injury suffered in rehearsal meant she hasn't been able to hold her baby son, born in December.
Her husband Ben Aaron, "has been taking care of him so well 'cause I haven't been able to hold him—the physical therapist said don't hold him," she said.
After Tuesday's dramatic finale, however, someone will be holding something even heavier—the mirror ball trophy!