Laurie Hernandez has won ‘Dancing with the Stars’.
The 16-year-old gymnast – who was partnered with dancing professional Val Chmerkovskiy – took home the mirror ball trophy after Tuesday’s finale (11.22.16), beating IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe and his professional partner Sharna Burgess into second place, while retired NFL player Calvin Johnson, Jr. and Lindsay Arnold came third.
Despite winning rave reviews throughout the season, Laurie – the show’s youngest-ever winner – insisted she wasn’t expecting to win.
She said: "I wasn’t sure at all.
"We went against three of the most amazing competitors, and I’m glad to call them my family. This season has been so amazing, and I’ve really grown for this."
Laurie’s professional partner Val – who previously scooped the coveted mirror ball trophy with Rumer Willis in season 20 – insisted he was more proud of his second win than his first because he wanted to help the teenager "set an example for her generation".
He said: "This is better than the first.
"I’m working with such a young and inspiring lady. I wanted to set an example through her. I wanted her to set an example for her generation. Anything is possible. Stay hungry. Stay humble, and she’s a testament to that."
On the second night of the live finale, the three remaining couples battled it out in front of judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Julianne Hough with new routines that blended two styles together.
The fusion dances saw Laurie and Val impress the judges and the audience with their take on the Foxtrot, Argentine Tango, James and Sharna dance a Quickstep/Jive routine, and Calvin and Lindsay tackle a Foxtrot/Viennese Waltz.
On the first stage of the final, the couples were tasked with showcasing a redemption dance and freestyle.