They may have come in second place to former Bachelorette Hannah Brown and dance partner Alan Bersten, but in Witney Carson's eyes, she has already won the mirror ball trophy by working with Nickelodeon star Kel Mitchell. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Carson reveals what it was really like to work with the former child star and if he's the same person off-screen as the persona his fans know and love him for.
"He's such an incredible, positive person. I think people see him as already this funny, positive guy, but he's really like that in person and he's just so uplifting," she revealed to PopCulture.com. "He was a great teammate. He constantly was calming me down in the chaos, which is so funny because I feel like a pretty level-headed person. But there were times in the season where I would get really stressed and he would just calm us down and he was super great about that."
Carson even said he was like an "older brother" to her, adding how he was also a "great, great student."
"He learned very quickly and he was able to correct everything that I was giving him. That's why I feel like he was the most improved," she said.
This was Carson's second year earning the runner up title, but that didn't get her down, not one bit. "I felt like I had already won because of the routines that we did and the growth that he'd shown," she admitted.
Frustration was shown by many last year after radio host Bobby Bones won because some fans felt there were far better dancers. However, the judges scores only count for 50 percent, the rest is on America to vote, and that's something Carson acknowledges, is a "popularity contest."
"I just kept thinking I've been here before, been here before and I really want that mirror ball so bad," she responded. "I've been so close to it so many times and it's been a long time since I've actually won. Just to be there was obviously an honor, everybody was amazing, but of course you want to win. It's a popularity contest and America chose who they wanted and it wasn't us, unfortunately and that's just something that you have to know. It's fine. So we made it as far as we possibly could and I guess it was very, very close, so it's all good!"
Carson adds that she's honestly very "happy about the dances and the routines and most importantly Kel's growth as a dancer," adding how she too learned so much in the past season and isn't mad at all. "I felt honored to be there," she said.
Carson is now taking some much needed time off after a busy 11-weeks on the popular dance competition before she gears up for Dancing with the Stars Live! which is set to start in January 2020. Carson is intent on spending quality time with her family after losing her father-in-law to pancreatic cancer not long ago. In fact, it made such an impression on her, she hopped on board with "Stand Up To Cancer" for "National Family Caregivers Month," which was in November. She even invited a woman named Shelby Nish and her mother, who is the caregiver, to an episode of DWTS.
"It's always just such a hard time when you go through this together for the caregiver and for the person going through cancer, it's just a miserable time that you have really nothing to look forward to. So I felt like this is really important for them to get to come to a show and they were huge fans and they were super sweet and just so nice and they were lovely and they had an amazing time. So, I'm glad that we were able to do that for them," Carson said.
To see Carson and the rest of the dancers perform at DWTS Live! and ticket information, click here.