8:35pm PT by Michael O'Connell
'Dancing With the Stars' Winner Revealed: Who Took Home Mirrorball No. 13?
Another season of Dancing With the Stars has come to an end, just before every overexerted celebrity muscle within 50 yards of the Stage 46 ballroom ripped apart from months of pressure.
The three couples with the most stamina and staying power -- Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke, Ricki Lake and Derek Hough, J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff -- headed into Tuesday night on a relatively even playing field, but another batch of dances decided the final ranking.
First, the finalists took on one of their favorite dances from the season. Ricki revisited her Psycho Tango to great success, while the judges swooned over Rob's Foxtrot sequel. J.R.'s Jive seemed to impress the panel the least. He was the only one to be singled out for mistakes, but when the rankings came out, he was not in last.
Rob took third, with J.R. in the middle and Ricki on top again. That switched up the rankings a bit -- with a point spread of only one between each -- going into the first elimination.
That honor went to Ricki Lake. The perennial high-scorer was the first to leave the ballroom, seemingly thrilled with the outcome, making the final hour and change of the broadcast a complete bro-down.
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And what bro-down would be complete with out an "Instant Samba?" Not one we'd care to watch. So while the boys headed off to shake the old bon-bons to their selected music, the show unleashed a parade of eliminated contestants making plays for redemption.
Kristin Cavallari and Chynna Phillips both did a good job of making viewers feel guilty for letting them go so early in the season, but Carson Kressley outdid everyone else during the halftime show.
Alternately straddling Val Chmerkovskiy and Teddy Volynets to Madonna's "Vogue," nothing so absurdly self-parodying or delightful has ever happened on this show.
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A few more irrelevant dances and Lady Antebellum jams later, J.R. and Rob returned for the most high stakes orchestral arrangement of a Ricky Martin song in history.
Instant reaction to the Instant Samba: J.R. seemed to have an advantage, not that the judges gave any tell before the final scores -- straight 10s for J.R. and straight 10s for Rob. (Surprise!)
So was a one point advantage after 5 dances enough to give Rob Kardashian a victory over the TV's new darling, J.R. Martinez.
Not so. The All My Children alum and Army vet brought home the first mirrorball trophy for seasoned pro Karina Smirnoff.
It seems like the most appropriate win for a season that dismissed some of the more notable names early on. J.R., a relative unknown before he stepped onto the floor, had to work the hardest to win over the viewers. And that's something he clearly accomplished.