By Amanda Taylor
May 22, 2013 at 06:51 AM EDT
  • TV Show

The winners of Dancing With the Stars season 16 were revealed tonight in a two-hour season finale extravaganza (read our full recap here) and spoke to EW after the show.


With their matching haircuts and duct-taped “knobbly bits,” Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough tangoed, waltzed and jived their way to the top of the leaderboard, and voters’ hearts, making them the proud owners of a Mirrorball trophy.

Hough, who has won three previous seasons of DWTS, said this season was about pushing Kellie to her full potential.

“We never really thought about, or talked about winning.”

Indeed, Pickler seemed almost surprised by her win despite several weeks of perfect scores and continued improvement in the Ballroom. Her natural grace and strength were showcased in a reprise of the couple’s understated freestyle routine during tonight’s finale. After performing in several of the numbers during the show, she stood to hear her own name called as this season’s Star victorious.

“I was shocked to have made it this far, and standing there and there’s just two of us left — I was kind of playing the whole journey through my mind, visualizing every dance…. We’ve made so many memories on this dance floor and in the studio. We’ve all worked so hard to get here. It’s overwhelming, but in a great way.”

Pickler said she wanted to show some love to the places that had gotten her to this point, starting with the American Idol stage.

“Derek and I were just over there like two nights ago. They’ve torn down the whole Idol stage and now it’s just a big empty studio, and I’ve never seen it like that — I’ve only seen that room when the Idol stage is set up. So we’re standing there in that room and I look over at Derek and he’s like, ‘Hey this is where it all started, this room.’ And I looked at him and I was like ‘How do I hug this room and say thank you?’ Now, across the hall, I want to hug this room and say thank you, too.”

Kyle Jacobs, Kellie’s husband, said he thought the Mirrorball went to the right Star.

“For someone who’s never danced before, to win Dancing With The Stars is absolutely amazing and I couldn’t be more proud. I’ve seen her feet look like she’s walked over hot coals. I fully believe she deserved to win because she’s worked so hard.”

Jacobs said he wanted to support his wife’s new talent in a big way.

“I told her last night that I’m going to have to man up and I’m going to definitely take a dance class. We’re going to take them together.”

Kellie said there was nothing that would stop her from dancing now.

“I told him that if he didn’t take dance classes with me that I was going to have to find a rent-a-husband.”

Kyle and Kellie are looking forward to a relaxing getaway, and spending some time with their new puppy whose name is — tentatively — Tango. Inspired, no doubt, by DWTS.

Read more:

Tristan MacManus tours the ‘DWTS’ rehearsal space — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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