Speaking to Good Morning America a humble and excited J.R. still couldn’t believe he won! “It’s amazing. We’ve all been putting over three months of work into this. To be able to hold that [mirror ball trophy] up was a tremendous honor.”
J.R.’s partner Karina Smirnoff, who landed her first win on the show, also could not believe it! “I think I was screaming so loud, I lost my voice. It is an amazing feeling,” she said of learning they won. “And what a person to share it with.” Awwww… I love them together!
“I’m just so grateful that I was able to be part of the journey to help get her first mirror ball trophy. She deserves it. She should be in the elite category of people who’ve won on this show,” J.R. told The Hollywood Reporter about his partner.
The duo credits their win to non-stop grueling practices; even beyond the work some of their co-competitors put in! “We’d take a break but instead of going to sit down, we’d go to everyone else’s rehearsal. Just trying to keep everyone’s energy up,” J.R. explained. “That was the cool thing about it. It was never competitive among us. It was all fun and we cheered everybody on.”
Rob Kardashian echoes that sentiment and despite his second place finish he is proud of his performance. “I literally couldn’t have asked myself to have done any better. I went as far as I could go,” Rob revealed “J.R. deserved that trophy.”
Even though J.R. was a total prankster on set; even hiding Rob’s phone and Cheryl Burke’s shoes! “For two hours he didn’t rehearse because he was looking for his phone,” J.R. laughs. So that was his secret!
Rob admitted he loved participating in the show because he was able to escape his annoying sisters; particularly working with Cheryl. “I genuinely did like kind of learning a new dance,” he revealed. “You start over every single Wednesday, that’s the worst part of the week and then you have to learn a whole new dance again in four days, but I enjoyed it.”
Third place finalist Ricki Lake explains the show is exhausting and exhilarating at the same time; adding that the weight-loss benefits weren’t bad either!
“This really is putting everything on the line. Your body is at its limit. You get emotionally caught up in it. You want to win. You know, it’s very scary to do these moves in front of 20 million people,” Ricki described.
J.R. won more than just the hearts of the American public; he impressed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as well!
The Iraq war veteran received a special shout out, congratulating him for both his win and the message he sent to other veterans! “Your strength and spirit captivated the nation, and your victory sends a strong message about the strength and resilience of our wounded warriors,” Panetta wrote in a letter reported by the Washington Post. And apparently Panetta would like to personally speak to J.R.!
Hopefully J.R. will be able to fit Mr. Panetta into his busy schedule! Because following his win J.R. will be co-hosting CNN’s Heroes: An All-Star Tribute on Dec. 11 and also participating in CNN Heroes: Where Are They Now? special which airs this Thursday.
Congratulations J.R. and Karina! I, for one, think you definitely deserved the win not only for your dancing, but your hard-work, class and showmanship!
[Photo Credit: DJDM/WENN.com]
THOUGHTS ON J.R. AND KARINA’S POST-WIN INTERVIEWS? ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS?