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HOME > Dancing with the Stars > Dancing with the Stars 13

J.R. Martinez: 'Dancing with the Stars' win an honor, icing on the cake

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/23/2011 

J.R. Martinez says being crowned Dancing with the Stars' thirteenth-season champion with professional partner Karina Smirnoff was an incredible yet nerve-racking moment in his life. 

"I said to Karina actually -- I looked back at her and said, 'Can they just tell us already?!' Because it seemed like the moment was just lasting forever when they were building up the suspense. But it's amazing. We've all put in months of work into this and that's the ultimate goal, so to be able to hold up [the mirrorball trophy] is a tremendous honor. So, it was just the icing on the cake," the Iraqi war veteran and former All My Children soap star said during a Wednesday morning appearance on Good Morning America.

While Martinez -- who appeared on GMA alongside Smirnoff, Ricki Lake and her partner Derek Hough and Rob Kardashian and his partner Cheryl Burke -- felt winning Dancing with the Stars was the cherry on top of the cake, Smirnoff said she was especially thrilled about their victory because she earned her first mirrorball trophy.  

"It feels amazing. I think I was yelling so loud I lost my voice, but it is an amazing feeling and what a person to share it with!" Smirnoff, who had competed in the finals before but never actually won the title, said.

Kardashian, who finished as the runner-up during Tuesday night's season finale, said Martinez was the right man to win the competition but all the finalists deserved recognition for their hard work.

"I literally did the best that I could do in my book. I literally couldn't have asked myself to have done any better. I went as far as I could go and J.R. deserves that trophy, but we all worked so hard. So, I feel like we're all here together," the Keeping Up with the Kardashians sibling explained.

Burke agreed with Kardashian and said he had grown as a person and a dancer throughout the season, while adding he was the best partner she had ever been paired up with on the show.

"Absolutely. This journey has been so unique. Just being able to be a part of Rob's transformation has really meant a lot to me," Burke said.

Lake -- who came in third place -- explained that Dancing with the Stars was an emotional rollercoaster for her, but she believed she was "absolutely" in the best hands by being partnered with Hough.

"It's such a journey. It's such a process that I'm used to sort of growing up on TV and people seeing me and my hardships, but this really is putting everything on the line. Your body is at its limit. You get emotionally caught up in it," the former talk show host said.

"You want to win, but you also just want to -- it's very scary to do these moves in front of 20 million people and forgetting your steps is something you think about all the time. But I'm really so grateful. I had the best partner. I'm sorry guys. Derek Hough is the man. I really learned so much. I respect him so much and he made me look good every week."

Hough also had nothing but good things to say about Lake in return.

"She was great. She was fantastic. She really exceeded my expectations, her own and everybody else's I think. I mean, look at her right now. She looks fantastic and I'm just so proud of her, so proud," the three-time Dancing with the Stars champion said. 

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