From American hero to “Dancing With The Stars” champion: J.R. Martinez was able to Cha Cha and Jive his way to the top spot in the popular celebrity dancing show.
When it was announced that Martinez and his partner Karina won the Mirror Ball trophy, he immediately picked her up into the air as sparks flew while the crowd in attendance stood up and cheered.
Martinez beat out runner-up Rob Kardashian who afterwards said “I am definitely not sad” about losing. Former talk show host Ricki Lake was the first of the three finalists to go home Tuesday night.
Martinez, a former Iraq War veteran, was a favorite among fans of show for being an inspirational figure after suffering severe burns while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2003. When he was 19 years old, the Humvee Martinez was in hit a landmine, causing him to suffer from smoke inhalation and severe burns. He has since become a motivational speaker and was an actor on “All My Children.” He was then able to tell his story to the millions of viewers that tune into “Dancing With The Stars” each week.
Martinez was in for a tough fight going into the two-hour season finale that included appearances from other celebrities who were contestants on the show this season.
On Monday, judges weren’t impressed with his Cha Cha, but Martinez was able to turn the night around after landing a perfect score in the freestyle.
“I want to thank everyone who voted for us for 10 weeks. Thank you America for believing in us,” Martinez said, before turning to his partner and saying, “I’m so grateful that I was able to be part of your first Mirror Ball trophy.”