And the 'Dancing With the Stars' Winner Is...
SPOILER ALERT: This recap reveals the results for the Season 16 finale of "Dancing With the Stars."
It's a wrap! The 16th season of "Dancing With the Stars" is one for the record books, and what a season it was. After 10 weeks of grueling (yes, really!) competition, Kellie Pickler was crowned the newest mirrorball champ on Tuesday night's live show.
Kellie was so ecstatic — and clearly shocked — she could barely speak after host Tom Bergeron announced she had won. "This is amazing! Oh my God!" the 26-year-old country singer squealed as she leaped into Derek Hough's arms. The pro dancer, whose mirrorball tally is now up to four, gave his own shout out: "Grandpa Ken, we got you the trophy, buddy!"
Check out the winning couple's freestyle dance from Monday night:
The confetti swirled as third place finisher Jacoby Jones lifted the "American Idol" alum and newest "Dancing" winner on to his shoulders. Kellie seemed at a loss for words as she gazed around the ballroom with her trophy in hand.
Second place runner up, Zendaya Coleman, looked momentarily stunned when the results were announced. Of her time on the show, she said, “I’m very proud. I’m very happy and I get to leave here with an amazing experience.” The 16-year old also told her pro partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, “Thank you for being a part of me growing up.”
The two-part finale extravaganza kicked off on Monday and featured the final four couples — Jacoby and Karina Smirnoff, Kellie and Derek, Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas, and Zendaya Coleman and Val Chmerkovskiy — dancing freestyle, a judges' pick, and a cha-cha relay. After Tuesday night's final finale dance — an instant dance in which the couples were given their musical selection just minutes before their performance — the generous judges doled out the final scores of the competition, which ended up all being perfect 30s. Because who can be a grumpy judge on finale night?
But before that took place, an elimination was in order. Aly was the first to go, and even the judges — who've seen it all — looked shocked by Tom's announcement that she wouldn't be competing in the Insta-dance.
"My whole life all I've ever known is gymnastics, so to try something new has just been amazing and just one of the best experiences of my life," the Olympic gymnast said of her stint on the show.
[Related: Kellie Pickler's 10 Most Wow Looks on 'DWTS']
Widely regarded as the most important dances of the competition, this season's freestyle dances didn't disappoint. Zendaya, Kellie, and Aly all received perfect scores for their freestyles, with Kellie's emotional, stripped-down dance causing a teary-eyed Carrie Ann Inaba to tell the country singer, "You just bared your soul on the dance floor, and it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen." Even more memorable, Len Goodman gave the dance a 10 and added, "It should be an 11!"
After the performance, Kellie told People, "I just feel like I let all of my walls down and I just got out there and just did my little dance. I just let myself go. There was a freedom, in a sense, that I felt. I really don't even know how to put it into words. Regardless of what happens ... I feel like I've accomplished so much being here."