It was supposedly thisclose in the end, but season 22 of Dancing with the Stars has named its winner. First, though, a spoiler alert! Don’t read if you don’t want to know Tuesday’s winner!
Nyle DiMarco, the deaf model who came to DWTS as the final champion of America’s Next Top Model, was awarded the Mirror Ball Trophy Tuesday. UFC Fighter Paige VanZant came in second place, and Good Morning America’s Ginger Zee came in third.
“This is for the 70 million deaf people in this world. That’s the reason I’m here,” DiMarco told reporters after the show. “They are the reason. That’s why I did so well every week. They really gave me that inspiration. I’m so grateful for that.”
“This is such an amazing feeling,” said DiMarco’s partner Peta Murgatroyd. “This whole thing has been so incredible because of this man. I owe everything to him.”
In their final number together, DiMarco and Murgatroyd signed a thank you to one another before dancing a cha cha/tango fusion that judge Bruno Tonioli described as “equally brilliant.” It earned a perfect 30.
“You’ll get no sympathy votes from me,” said judge Len Goodman. “I just judge from what I see. You deserve to be in this final.”
VanZant’s jive and salsa with partner Mark Ballas featured a killer spin but wasn’t as show-stopping as Monday’s contemporary performance. Still, the judges showered her with a final round of praise.
“You have set the standard from day 1 of this competition, and you continue to set the standard,” said Carrie Ann Inaba, who together with Goodman and Bruno Tonioli gave them a 30.
Zee’s final dance with Val Chmerkovskiy — an Argentine tango combined with a foxtrot — earned three 9s despite a flub in the middle of the number. “You came out and attacked the dance like a hurricane,” said Tonioli. “But you know, weather is unpredictable.”
Check out our interview with Nyle below: