The shock was real: Country star Kellie Pickler couldn't believe it when Tom Bergeron called her name as the new champion of Dancing With The Stars. "I'm overwhelmed with joy," said Pickler. "And I'm kind of speechless for the first time. Usually I'm spitting out words left and right. But now, I don't know what to say. I was shocked to have made it this far."
"We really are our harshest critics," said her pro partner Derek Hough, now a four-time DWTS champ. Hough said his proudest moment was dancing the all-important freestyle with Pickler on Monday night. He thought that the two clicked all season because they are very similar people. "We really are hard on ourselves and so when I'm talking to her, I know how to get past that," Hough said. "I see a lot of me in her. I show her things that I do for myself that help me get past getting down on yourself. That anxious feeling."
The only anxiety now may be coming from Pickler's husband, musician Kyle Jacobs, who just learned that his dancing queen wants him to take ballroom dance lessons when they get home. "I told him that if he didn't go with me, I'd have to get a Rent-A-Husband," said Pickler. Jacobs was crying during his wife's coronation. "I was like, 'Baby, were you crying?' And he said, 'I had something in my eye, confetti.' But the first thing he said tonight was, 'Baby, I love you and I'm so proud. You did it.'"
That's a long way from the moment, three months ago, when Pickler panicked at the thought of dancing on national television. "I remember going home after they announced the contestants on Good Morning America," said Pickler. "I was laying in the bed, looking at my husband, and it was like, 'What have I got myself into? It's too late to back out now, isn't it, because they've already announced I'm on the show.' And he said, 'Yup. Too late. Just enjoy it.'"
For ballroom expert Corky Ballas, father of pro Mark Ballas, it's no surprise that Pickler and Hough took the crown. "They won because they were simply the best since the first week," said Ballas. "And on top of that, her personality is so cute and hilarious. She's humble, warm and endearing. She sees the glass half full. You can sense that in her spirit, and it all comes out in dancing. That freestyle showed her whole life. She meant that, and we all felt it. It gave me chills, and I've been in this game a long time."
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