Dancing With the Stars Season 13 Finale Recap: And the Winner Is... [Updated]

How do you go about upstaging the ritual presentation of the mirrorball trophy during the Dancing With the Stars‘ season finale? Try having Carson Kressley carried onto the stage by a chest-baring Chmerkovskiy brother to the tune of Madonna’s “Vogue,” then completing his performance with a self-booty-spank.

Then again, I’m not quite sure it was really possible to distract anyone from the announcement that’s been 10 weeks in the making. Here’s how it all played out:

Read TVLine’s Dancing With the Stars Performance-Night Finale Recap Here!

The first major act of the night involved the final three couples — JR/Karina, Rob/Cheryl, and Ricki/Derek — reliving a “greatest hit” from earlier in the season. Rick and Derek wisely chose their thrilling “Psycho” tango, which had all of the prickly tension, inherent danger, and gasp-worthiness the second time around. J.R. and Karina, who were waaaaay underscored for their initial attempt at a “Jump Jive and Wail”/Newsies! Jive (in Week 2) decided to try it again, removing the Carrie Ann-offending lift (complete with a nifty, finger-wagging fakeout) and scaling back the emphasis on Lindy Hop that had Len reaching for the “7” paddle. The encore was so lively and quick I knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick I couldn’t imagine why Len had just moments prior praised lumbering Rob for having perhaps the best footwork of any guy who’s been on DWTS. On that note, Rob and Cheryl’s “Fly Me to the Moon” Foxtrot was decent enough, but there’s still a paint-by-numbers quality to the young Kardashian’s approach that keeps him from fully conquering the art of dance. And with that, the leaderboard was updated (with the judges offering up a 30-28-26 total for first- through third-place):

Judges’ Leaderboard (Total for Monday Night + Scores for Tuesday Night’s Encore Dance)
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough: 54 + 30 = 84
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke: 57 + 26 = 83
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff: 54 + 28 = 82

Eliminated Before the Instant Dance Round and Finishing in Third Place
Ricki and Derek

TVLine Flashback: Who’s Most Likely to Win Dancing With the Stars Season 13?

“I’ve loved basically every minute of this,” said Ricki, adding that as a middle-aged mom, she hoped she’d made her kids proud. Derek, for his part, added that his celeb partner had “knocked it out of the ballpark the entire season. And with that, the couple took to the floor once more, where Derek lowered Ricki to the floor and twirled her in a fabulous, circular floor sweep. “Spin the star!” yelled Tom Bergeron. Yes, folks, that’s how you make an exit.

And then it was time for an “Instant Samba” round — to the tune of “Shake Your Bob-Bon” that had me wondering, “Will the judges use these scores to complete Rob’s boy-to-man journey and conveniently throw a consolation Ziploc baggie of glitter to J.R. and Karina to soothe their riled fan base?” Well, yes and no.

When it was all said and done, Carrie Ann, Len, and Bruno put tough critique aside and brought out the 10 paddles for both finalists, even though I didn’t see a single samba roll in Rob and Cheryl’s performance compared to a lengthy and difficult sequence of that signature move for J.R. and Karina. What’s more, while there were a few moments where J.R.’s overall energy seemed to lag, he still managed to bring genuine sexual heat to the routine, whereas Rob and Cheryl delivered all the chemistry of awkward cousins at a family reuinion. (Anyone else notice Rob’s mechanical hand extensions were almost identical in the Foxtrot and the Samba?) So yeah, J.R. got robbed a little, but at least the judges didn’t completely sabotage him, right?

Here’s how the leaderboard looked going into the final moments of the telecast:

Judges’ Leaderboard (Total for First Three Finale Dances + Carrie Ann, Len, and Bruno Scores for Instant Samba)
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke: 83 + 10, 10, 10: 30 = 113
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff: 82 + 10, 10, 10: 30 = 112

And then it came time to announce which couple had the highest overall total of judges’ scores and viewer votes.

Winner of Dancing With the Stars Season 13 and the Coveted Mirrorball Trophy!
J.R. and Karina (¡¡¡YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!)

J.R. promptly thanked the DWTS nation for voting him onto victory, then turned his gratitude toward Karina. “You are amazing,” he said. “And I’m so grateful I was able to be a part of your first mirrorball trophy.” (If I’m being honest, as much as J.R. has been my favorite celeb this season, I’ve been equally rooting just as vigorously for his earnest pro partner, who truly leaves everything out on the floor every time she performs.)

Naturally, Karina didn’t get to share her own feelings on the win — this never would’ve happened to Derek! — but the smile and the misty eyes kinda said it all. After that, it was Brooke stiltedly getting a few words out of Rob and Cheryl. “I’ve won in my book,” said Rob, who honestly seemed stoked to not have finished third.

And thus we came to the end, but not without one more wonderful ism from our robot cohost. Take it away, Lady of Steel and Circuitry! “I’m Brooke Burke Charvet, and I’m eating confetti.” Yes, she actually said that, and I have to admit, it was pretty/intentionally funny.

What did you think, DWTS watchers: Did the right couple win? Were you okay with the overall order of the Top 3? And what was your favorite dance of the telecast? Hit the comments and share your feelings! And for all my reality recaps and interviews, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Donna says:

    The best man won! Rob had improved greatly and that was wonderful, but in the end, it was JR all the way. Even with the stilted judges scores, he pulled ahead. His upbeat attitude is infectious and America chose him. Well done JR, you deserved the win.

    • Kate says:

      I agree! Nothing against Rob, but J.R. was the whole package. He was the best dancer, had the best attitude, and was just an all around nice guy.

  2. CastleBuffySVU says:

    GO JR!

  3. annehedonia says:

    Yes! The right couple won! Best win ever!

  4. Deb says:

    The show may have dodged a bullet. Imagine saying Rob Kardashian was the winner of “Dancing with the Stars.” At least JR has an established career as a soap actor.

  5. Melissa says:

    Well said! I would like to add that I am SO happy that Karina finally won her trophy.

  6. Rick P. says:

    J.R. Was the winner from the very start. His score because of his injuries during the last two weeks should not be counted. He richly deserve to win. And a great congratulation to his mentor, Karina.

  7. Regina says:

    So happy that JR won! He was the most talented and also the most likeable. He and Karina rocked the freestyle! Loved him all season!!! Go JR!!!

  8. ldo says:

    I prefered Ricki over JR, but am happy that Karina won finally.

  9. Zandra says:

    Hurray for JR and Karina!!! IF it could not be Ricki and Derek then I am so glad the mirror ball went to JR!! I first met JR on All MY Children and was thrilled to learn that he was going to be dancing for season 13. It was welcome news after All My Children was rudely canceled! He has come so far since that first day on AMC. He is an inspiration especially his positive attitude in dealing with his scars. I am so proud of him not letting this injury change his life for the negative but for taking his injuries, dealing with them and pursuing his dreams!! I know others have been personally inspired by him. I look forward to seeing more of JR and shout out Congratulations to him and Karina!!

  10. Ava says:

    Congratulations America for picking the right couple to win! Yay! JR, you’re the best! Rob was nowhere close to your talent. The judges are blind but the viewers are not! Woohoo!

  11. Silas says:

    Wanted Ricki to win.

  12. Kat says:

    JR won because people wanted to be politically correct.

    • incredulous says:

      Seriously – did you watch this season?!

    • Raquel says:

      Not even close!! He was the best dance in the group with Rikki a close second. Have you ever done Samba rolls? Those things are SO hard. People did not root for JR to be politically correct, they rooted for him because he was a great dancer and had a very positive attitude.

  13. jp says:

    Congrats to Karina and JR. Tho I was hoping for Rob to win. All 3 were well deserving participants. With nobody having any prior dance experience from the past it was fair this season. Finally

    • deedee says:

      I beg to differ about the dancing experience. Rikki Lake was cast in Hairspray & did a lot of dancing!!

      • gitte says:

        Have you seen the original Hairspray that Ricki starred in? It was before it was a musical and Ricki had almost no dancing in the movie. Plus it was more than 20 years ago and she weighed over 200 lbs at the time.

      • chistosa says:

        Rikki did not prior dance experience. She was in the orginal non-musical version of Hairspray, which was not about dancing, more about racial discrimination.

  14. misstee says:

    I agree with Ido. I love Ricki. But it’s J.R.’s night! Oh I respect that.

  15. Andre says:

    Work it JR.!!!!!!

  16. Sylvia says:

    Absolutely the right couple won….yippeeeeee!! J.R. has shown such courage in his life, and is now an inspiration to millions on how to rise above adversity. I just loved the free style dance they did….they just totally rocked it. Bravo, bravo to J.R. and Karina!!!

  17. olivia says:

    Sooo happy J.R won. He deserved it from the start. He’s worked so hard I love him.

  18. Maria says:

    Rob did a great job! Not sure why you saying judges were blind. Congrats to JR and Rob!

  19. felicia says:

    Another win for the world of soap operas:):) great actor and dancer.

  20. Mike says:

    J R @ Karina were the best.
    Rob is like his Sister all about the money

  21. Disappointed says:

    Many People Are Unhappy With The Choice, saying Its Out Of Pity! If You Go On Twitter and Facebook You Will See That Alot Of Viewers Will Not Watch The Show In The Future. I Myself Think That Ricki Lake Or Rob Should Have Won! Reason For Ricki Is Because She Had The Least Publicity and She Danced To Her Fullest Ability. Rob Really Spiced Things Up Each Time He Danced With His Partner..each Week For Rob Was A Milestone! It Doesnt Matter The Background Of People.. Its About Dancing and That Should Only Be The Reason They Win! Good Luck Trying To Find Viewers For The Next Season Of DWTS!!

    • Ronnie says:

      Bitter, table for one…

      PS: You’ll totally be watching again next season. Stop lying.

    • Carson says:

      GO GO, people will not really

      m i s s y o u

      You JR are best

      Hands down.

    • Dancefan says:

      JR won because of his talent & spirit-pity had nothing to do with it. Who cares what “alot” of twitter followers (Kardashian fans, perhaps) have to say. Ricki worked hard, lost weight became confident but she wouldn’t have gotten as far without Derek-he literally carried her through their routines. Rob improved greatly but never came close to the musicality of JR. I feel the judges scored him too highly in many cases. I’m sure DWTS will have no problem getting viewers next season.

    • em says:

      Saying that DWTS should be only about dancing is way off-base. We wouldn’t have seen Kristin or Chynna leave so early this season, and we wouldn’t have some pretty bad dancers make it so far. Maybe you haven’t watched long enough to see Donny Osmond’s year, but Kelly Osbourne improved dramatically (like Rob) and Mya had the technique down (Ricki) but Donny was a good dancer with a great personality (JR). They’re only getting a mirrorball trophy. Chill out!

    • realist says:

      wah wah (mini violins). Every season disgruntled viewers who are upset about the outcome say they won’t watch next year and oddly Nielsen ratings say the show’s viewership continues to grow every year since it’s been on. Shake off the disappointment and just enjoy the ride.

    • zoot says:

      What do you mean she had the least publicity?..she parlayed this show all the way into a new talk show for herself. She was riding the publicity train and got her next gig lined up! Where as Rob will go back to reality t.v. and millions more will watch..yuk. And JR will probably do speaking and help healing wounded vets..like he has been. JR is deserving not only in his dancing, but in the way he conducts himself in life

  22. EVILANGEL says:


  23. EVILANGEL says:


  24. Jerry says:

    J R and Robi were both great but my choice was
    Karina. She was really rooting and supporti9ng her partner

  25. Deana says:

    Well done . U deserve it . U light up the ball room and encourage any of people with disabilities. Woohoo!!!!!!!

  26. Sharone says:

    I was shocked that Ricki was got bumped but thats the beauty/reality of this show…you just never know how many fans out there are voting. But, I did know that everytime I voted for JR from the first week on, the “all circuits are busy, try your call later” message came on the phone. Im proud of them all but my vote was for JR & Karina all along. “Job well done & well deserved!” And thanks for making it fun for us at home. <3

  27. JoJo says:

    Hahahahaha…Jimmy Kimmel just had a spot with JR and Karina on the couch – almost an hour BEFORE the final results are to be broadcast!!! So. What else to do but go to TVLine and start reading…

    Perhaps I over interpret, perhaps all three couples had their chance on the couch and have been shown in spots (or will be) as time passes. If so, clever, clever.

    Anyway. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!! Right couple IMHO. Way to go JR and Karina! JR’s energy and joy and their great working relationship has been absolutely inspiring, no need for the back story to feel that way about it (as inspiring as that was as well).

  28. Sharone says:

    So NOT true. He is a talented young man that just happened to have a story outlining his character…just like all of them. He deserved to win just like they all did. He just did better, longer. Thanks ABC…your show is a bright spot in my Monday & Tuesday nights. :)

  29. JoJo says:

    Yes, yes, again. Right person, JR, right couple. I have to say, though, that Rob has really seemed genuine and quite sweet for weeks – especially tonight. I can see him apart from the K clan and really appreciate what he’s accomplished.

  30. Tess says:

    So happy JR and Karina won. As an AMC fan, I was already rooting for JR from the moment his name was announced as part of the cast but his dancing ability was what made me vote for him. His talent was unmatched imo, this season, and even with the ankle injury in the end, he was still putting his all in it. I get some bitterbots are claiming he won solely on his backstory, but I completely disagree…let’s face it, you can have the greatest backstory in the world but if you don’t have the ability to actually dance, you’re not going to win. Sure there is a certain amount of popularity to it, but of the final 3, he had been the least known of them coming into this season, and at least he wasn’t relying on his family’s twitter followers to drum up votes for him. He deserved his win for his hard work and the effort he consistently put out. So happy for him and Karina for her first win!

  31. Jillian says:

    Go JR!!!!

  32. Robin says:

    Yay!!!!!!!!!! So happy JR won!!! Rob, was most improved dancer of the season, but JR really had it going on all along. It is just icing on the cake that he is such a great guy and a real hero too. His girlfriend is one lucky lady. Yay for Karina’s first win too!

  33. Debbie says:

    I am so glad to hear that JR won. The right person was chosen. Thank you fans for voting for the right. You have restored my faith in the show again :)

  34. GingerSnap says:

    The viewers really decide who the winner is. JR may not have danced his best dances the past 2 weeks due to his ankle injury, but he was the most inspirational performer all season. So happy for Karina, and you can tell that they were a team! It was the right results.

  35. Denise says:

    The right person won!! JR was the best!! And while in the beginning I couldn’t believe Rob was even on the show,he did wow me in the end. I am soooo happy that Ricki didn’t win or even get in the final 2. She was iritating with her attitude and I can’t stand Derek! She acted all season like she was gonna win! Congrats JR and Karina!!!

  36. CARSON says:


    • Comfy says:

      I agree. Not only was their dancing exciting and beautifully executed, but their attitudes were happy and inspiring. I think if Rob or Ricki had won, JR would have had the same huge smile on his face. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

  37. Yovana says:

    Jr. & Karian *Congratulations*and for some people out there (Stop) w/all this negativity about Rob Kardashian, because many of you didn’t think he would get this far, but he did 2th place is still pretty awesome for someone that comes from a reality show (No acting exp. Just keep it 100% real) so Rob you did awesome and you’re family and fans out here are soooooo happy for you <3

  38. `` says:

    You know a lot of stuff on reality shows is planted/forced/acted?

    • `` says:

      Fark, I forgot to hit reply :<

    • mazie says:

      I’m not complaining about the winners, I’m complaining about the “surprise”. Didn’t anyone notice the promos showing JR and Kim sitting on the couch of the late show host as winners of DWTS and their scheduled appearance on GMA? I thought the show was live, and, if so, how come the promos before the decision. Hoodwinked again but not anymore.

      • candacetx says:

        I would assume that they pre-tape all three finalists on the couches to have them at the ready the moment the winner is announced. Same way the pre-tape all of the contestants exiting The Apprentice for the “go home cab” all at once prior to the show because when they actually taped them as they were voted off, people started noticing and leaking the order of castoffs before the season started. (Notice, the cab is always the same #number and the contestants are always wearing a trench coat that completely obscures their clothing so that you don’t notice that they are wearing different outfits than you saw in the boardroom).

  39. JT says:

    I’m happy for J.R.! He deserved to win. However, I think all of the people out there bashing Rob need to chill. (I’m looking at you Slezak). Rob has improved each week since the beginning, and that is really what this competition is about. He, too, worked his butt off like the other contestants and deserved to be in the finale tonight.

  40. Margo says:

    The right couple most definitely won! Yayyyyy for J.R and Karina! Ive never really been a fan of Karina, but J.R brings out the likable side of her. Totally one of the best couples to ever hit the show, the guy is a natural at dancing, was highly consistent all season long not to mention the only one who got a perfect score (60) of the season. Also Karina is a great dancer, after being on the show for so long its nice to see her hard work finally rewarded, she put together some exquisite and certainly memorable dances this season, she cannot be counted out for coming up with the routines and then teaching them to JR :)

  41. em says:

    I’ll be honest. I wanted Rob to win, and I think Ricki danced better last night overall. That said, I think JR was an equally deserving winner because of his energy and enthusiasm, as well as his innate talent. And I had no idea how much I wanted Karina to win a trophy until tonight. She’s been here for so long, but never tried to use the DWTS stage to further herself or outshine her partner. I just wanted to hug her!

  42. marienoel says:

    I am glad J.R. and Karina won. No I don;t think it was a sympathy
    vote. They worked hard and her routines for their dances were great.It was has always clear if the judges had their way Derek would have won again. He gets partners with dance experience all the time who he can work difficult routines with. This year however he did literally carry Ricki many times across the dance floor. Ricki got hurt and judges fell all over themselves has usual when Derek’s partners get hurt with the so brave, so good praise. J.R. got hurt and Len’s comments of “It is what it is” when scoring J.R. lower showed their bias and a lot of people were tired of it. Go J.R. and Karina

    • Virginie says:

      I saw more favoritism towards Rob than towards Ricki throughout the season. The judges were all over him, giving him a 30 for his fresstyle, same score as JR even though it wasn’t as good. Len saying Rob has the best footwork he’s ever seen on DWTS, really? Evan, Appolo or Gilles to name a few were much much better. The judges clearly were rooting for Rob to win, and as much as I like Rob as a person, He didn’t deserve the second place. HE can thank the judges, not Ricki.
      With that said, I’m sooooo happy that JR won, that guy is incredible.

  43. bmc9999 says:

    I am very happy that JR and Karina won. I think they have been underscored many times and I loved the grace and athletic ability they have shown all season. That said, who thinks Rob Kardashian has the most class of anyone in his family? It was truly a surprise to hear his generous comments in the face of booing from his horrible siblings.

  44. Lisa says:

    I am happy for 1/2 the win, happy for pro dancer Karina, she was long over due for a a win. Not as happy with the celeb, personally, I preferred Ricki over J.R. but again, hooray for Karina.

  45. ngh18 says:

    I think Brooke and the host of X Factor are the two worst hosts I have ever seen. They ought to do a show together so we would not have to watch!!

  46. ann says:

    Yes, J.R. and Karina had the most consistant exciting and sensual and exciting dance moves. Their enthusiasm was boundless. It bothered me that the judges NOW seem to be trying to promote THEIR favorites onto the public and thinking we will vote for who they want to win. Rob is a good dancer and HAS come along way. But no way is he better than J.R. and on the whole he still has a long way to go compared to Ricki and J.R. Many reviewers were correct I feel. Little things Rob did were not to be mentioned, Any little mistake that J.R. made was certainly mentioned and made a big deal of. I noticed that when Sarah Palin’s daughter was on. She is a nice young lady and did a fair job. But she did not deserve to get as far as she got. The judges hardly ever criticized her, and when they did it was for minor things. Were they afraid they would make Mama Sarah mad? I think Bruno was rude to Chaz, also. I think that was uncalled for. Like Chaz said, you can be an overweight lady on the show and it is applauded. But if overwieght dude, it is like they want to penalize you. But the dance he did with Lacey’s Dad, Buddy, was a cool and classy way as making a statement to Bruno. Chaz seems like a nice person, brought up to be a fine person by his Mama Cher, who is one of my idols. Chaz is always polite and never rude, and I have seen him on other shows. But I feel it was, for me, the best season, as the cast all seemed very close and rooting for each other.

  47. Jill says:

    I’m happy that Karina finally won her first trophy. She postponed her wedding so that she could completely focus on dance, and winning that mirror ball. So glad that it worked out for the two of them.

  48. Corby says:

    I think they may have announced the wrong winner. When they tallied in the viewers votes with the judges votes after the 2nd last dance, Rob and Cheryl were ranked 1st and JR and Karina were ranked 2nd (Ricki and Derrek were 3rd and were eliminated). Then came the “instant salsa” in which Rob and JR both got perfect scores. So would that not mean that those two perfect scores would balance eachother out, leaving Rob and Cheryl still ahead and ranked in 1st place?