Dancing With the Stars: Season 20 winners talk victory and what's next
It’s time to pack up the fringe, glitter, and spray tan machines, because season 20 of Dancing With the Stars is a wrap. Rumer Willis and partner Val Chmerkovskiy nabbed the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy after a tight competition against Riker Lynch and Noah Galloway, who came in second and third place, respectively. Fresh off their win, Rumer and Val stopped by the EW offices to talk about the show and where they plan to display their newest hardware.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How do you feel after last night’s win?
RUMER WILLIS: I’m so ecstatic. I could not be happier.
What were your thoughts going into last night’s results show?
WILLIS: Honestly, I was just excited. I knew that the work that I had put in and we had one last dance to do, and I just wanted to make it something that I really enjoyed.
How does it feel to be the winner of season 20? It’s been a really special season.
WILLIS: So awesome. I couldn’t be happier that we won in general, but to win also on such a big season. This season they really pulled out all the stops with everything. I feel like everyone who was competing just really brought their A-game. I know it was tough. The dances that were happening and the freestyles that happened at the end were all so incredible, so to have it come down to us was pretty incredible.
Val, this was your first win. How has this season been different for you?
VAL CHMERKOVSKIY: Well, it’s my first win. So that’s already different. But it’s just been a great season. I feel like we approached everything really honestly, and I feel like everything came out genuine. I feel like that’s why people really got behind us and were able to relate to Rumer and her journey. It was great to be a part of that.
What will you miss most now that the season is over?
CHMERKOVSKIY: Performing together.
CHMERKOVSKIY: That’s the biggest thing. There’s so much stress that goes into actually creating the numbers and the rehearsals and the time crunch and preparing that you never really have a chance to appreciate what you’ve done. So I’m going to take a moment to realize what we just did and reflect on that. And then we’re probably going to start missing each other.
Rumer, other than Val, who on the show did you become really close with this season?
WILLIS: Obviously I loved Miss Patti LaBelle, and not just because she’s legendary. I sing, and to watch especially her performance that she gave last night [on the results show] was absolutely breathtaking. But I honestly got really close with Chris Soules. I think that he is so awesome. He is so sweet, so supportive. We got close and kind of bonded when we were doing the team dance. His energy and his joy that he brought to it was so refreshing, because I feel like so many masculine men could have come into this scenario and been like, “Oh, a dancing show. I don’t really care. Whatever.” But he loved it.
CHMERKOVSKIY: He loved it and he improved.
WILLIS: Watching him get better every week and have a desire to get better every week was so fun to watch for me.
CHMERKOVSKIY: He came back to the finale a couple of days early so that he could practice and prepare.
Do you get to keep the Mirror Ball Trophy?
WILLIS: Yup. That’s mine.
Where are you going to put it?
WILLIS: I don’t know. Somewhere where I can look at it a lot.
So it will be displayed prominently?
WILLIS: Oh, yeah. Most definitely.
CHMERKOVSKIY: I’m going to melt the gold off the Mirror Ball and get a chain or something.
WILLIS: You could make a crown.
CHMERKOVSKIY: Make a little gold chain!
The pros get a trophy too. So where are you going to put yours, Val?
CHMERKOVSKIY: I don’t know. Probably in the bathroom somewhere. Maybe the guest bathroom so people know what’s up. It’s symbolic for so many things. It’s so funny. I’ve never really embraced the show for being that big of a deal for me personally. I always looked at it as, you know, it’s a good gig, and I have fun doing it, and I really want to win it. But I feel like this season in particular, it just meant so much more to me than just another season on Dancing With the Stars. I’ve grown to really appreciate the show and the opportunities that it gave me personally. The way it changed my family. I’m an immigrant from Ukraine. I moved to Brooklyn; grew up in Brooklyn. I’m a New York kid who never dreamed that he would be on national television ballroom dancing like that. It’s not something that I would have ever imagined. I went to college. I thought I was going to open up a business and run some entrepreneurial things. But dreams come true, and I feel like I’m living out the American dream and there’s a lot of pride in that. And this trophy represents that.
Anything else you want to add?
CHMERKOVSKIY: The Sway tour is coming up. Hammerstein Ballroom June 5 and 6. Meryl David, Amy Purdy, Rumer Willis, Artem [Chigvintsev], Henry [Byalikov], Sharna [Burgess], Peta [Murgatroyd], Val, Tony [Dovolani], Maks [Chmerkovskiy]. And then all the summer, I’m going on a nationwide Dancing With the Stars tour.
WILLIS: It’s a huge 10th-anniversary tour. It’s going to be epic. Sixty shows. All over America.
CHMERKOVSKIY: It starts June 13 and goes all the way to August 11.
The Dancing With the Stars: Live! Perfect Ten Tour begins June 13 in Atlantic City, and will travel to over 40 cities, concluding in Rockford, IL August 11. Tickets and more info are available here.