‘DWTS’ Finale Backstage Notes: J.R. Talks Win, Rob Talks Turkey

War veteran and actor J.R. Martinez won the mirror ball trophy on Tuesday night’s “Dancing with the Stars” grand finale. And J.R. was so happy about it that he said he was going to sleep with the award!
Backstage after he had bested first runner up Rob Kardashian and third place finisher Ricki Lake, J.R. cracked up reporters by revealing, “Right now I’m going to put [my trophy] in bed and I’m going to tuck it in and it’s going to roll around with me and after that, once we’ve kind of grown apart, I’m going to put it on the hood of my car and drive around Los Angeles and honk my horn and it will be my own parade!”

Meanwhile, his partner Karina Smirnoff, who stood by his side, also has a place for her matching mirror ball–in her Woodland Hills dance studio. “I have a space with spotlights and I’m going to polish it every morning,” she deadpanned.

But seriously, J.R. told the media that the DWTS experience itself was as important as winning the trophy. “We’ve been on an amazing journey for the past three months and…we’ve been able to create a lot of magical moments on the show. To top it off with this is amazing.”

Karina added, “This was the perfect ending to the perfect journey.”

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J.R. touched America by sharing his war story of how his Humvee hit a landmine, leaving him with devastating injuries. But he persevered to become an actor on “All My Children” and now, DWTS champion. When asked what he had learned about himself through doing the ABC reality show, J.R. said, “There’s a lot of challenges we go through in life. Unwillingly, we are put in situations like what happened to me in Iraq and of course, this, I willingly joined the show. But in those challenges, you have to continue to maintain a positive attitude. You’ve got to believe in yourself. You’ve got to be patient and understand that good things will come to you. I just proved to myself that I really can accomplish a lot of things when I really put my mind to it and when people believe in you and people push you 100 percent, you’ve got to see those signs and just go with them and [Karina] trusted me 100 percent to dance and show the world who I am.”

J.R. admitted the emotional final show was a lot to deal with: “We’ve been screaming and yelling and I just want to take a moment and just breathe and take it in. We’ve created a lot of magical moments on this show that we’ll carry and cherish for the rest of our lives. She’s a beautiful person. I’m glad I was able to see that and America was able to see that as well.”

Karina finally won her first DWTS after toiling for many seasons on the show and J.R. said, “I’m grateful I was able to be a part of that journey. She deserves to be in that category with people who have won on the show.”

J.R. said of his mom Maria, who rushed onto the ballroom floor after he got his trophy, “I had everyone coming up and congratulating me and I was feeling someone tug on my suspenders and it was my mother who is four foot eleven and the poor thing, she’s way down there and I just kissed her and said, ‘can you imagine that eight and a half years ago you were part of the people who were teaching me how to walk and now for me to come out in front of millions of people every single week and dance is beyond [anything]’”.

The war veteran, who plans to write a memoir, continue acting, and do motivational speaking, said Rob and Ricki should also be very proud of their DWTS success. “They did an amazing job and pushed us to be better dancers as well.”

Rob told reporters after the show he still felt like a winner. “I could not have asked for a better ending. I had an awesome experience with [partner] Cheryl [Burke] and shocked myself week after week and even tonight, I improved. I am super happy with the outcome of everything. We gave everything we got. J.R. truly deserves to win.”

After his post-DWTS press rounds are done in New York, Rob will rush back to Los Angeles to have a very Kardashian Thanksgiving with his family. He expects to “stay at home [and] watch football while the girls cook. I’m enjoying family time.”

Rob revealed he’ll continue appearing on the Kardashian reality shows: “we’re constantly filming and I’ve got some projects in the fashion world that I’m working on.”

Lastly, third place winner Ricki Lake said she “kind of had a feeling” about where she’d end up with partner Derek Hough after Monday night’s freestyle because “we didn’t get the tens.” But the former talk show hostess was grateful she had even made it to the finals. “I did a kick ass tango as my last dance and my final move on the floor so I can’t complain and I think J.R. and Karina were so deserving and Rob and Cheryl so impressive so I’m proud to be among the three.”

Ricki will be far from idle now that DWTS is done. She’ll have a memoir coming out in May, a new talk show is in the works, and she’s planning her wedding to boyfriend Christian Evans. She might even try to teach Christian some wedding dance moves now! “We talk about taking dance class. We do want to learn, maybe salsa. Yeah, he’s up for it.”

And the star who lost more than 25 pounds doing the show needs to go shopping for new clothes! “I don’t have a pair of jeans that fit me [anymore]. They come off without unbuttoning them, so Friday, my sweetie and I are going shopping. I’m definitely two sizes down.”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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