JR Martinez Wins “Dancing with the Stars”

Iraq veteran JR Martinez and professional partner Karina Smirnoff were crowned champions of “Dancing with the Stars” season 13 on Tuesday, besting reality TV star Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke for the Mirror Ball trophy.

Talk show host Ricki Lake and her partner Derek Hough settled for third place. All three final pairs delivered outstanding performances on the last performance night, but Martinez’s inspiring story apparently connected with the voting public. Lake, who consistently was among the top dancers the whole competition, was voted off in the first half of the two-hour finale before Martinez and Kardashian delivered their final showdown.

After their victory, Martinez and Smirnoff, who won for the first time after ten season on DWTS, thanked the audience. “At the end of the day we wanted to impress the judges, but we wanted to impress you at home,” Martinez said. “Thank you for believing in us as a partnership.” Smirnoff said: “With everything we went through … it’s like this mirrorball would justify everything.”