Dancing With the Stars' Carrie Ann Inaba certainly didn't expect former Bachelorette Hannah Brown to take home the Mirrorball Trophy in Monday's Season 28 finale. After Brown's big victory alongside pro partner Alan Bersten over Kel Mitchell, Lauren Alaina and Ally Brooke, the judge opened up to Us Weekly about her surprising feelings on how the season wrapped up.
“It’s not what I expected,” Inaba admitted to the outlet. “But this whole season has been filled with ups and downs and unexpected twists and turns. I think, always, the right person wins on Dancing With the Stars because it’s a collaborative vote between the judges’ scores and the audience. And what the audience says is very important and we honor it.”
Despite Brown's numerous perfect scores throughout the season, Inaba acknowledged “a lot of people were shocked tonight in the ballroom,” which is something she had never seen before.
“I’ve never felt that from the ballroom when a winner was announced like tonight,” she said. “I think Hannah has had a really challenging journey, but I think in the end she rose, and I’m really proud of her.”
“To be honest, I don’t know if I had a specific idea [of] who I thought was going to win,” she added of her expectations. “I just knew that all four — and even all five, actually, even James [Van Der Beek] — could have been up here and it would’ve been great to see anybody win. It was just, for some reason, I don’t know why that was shocking.”
Brown was also reeling after her big win, telling Entertainment Tonight after Monday's finale, "I'm in complete shock. When they said our names, I thought it was for the runner-ups, so I don't think I even know how to process how I feel right now."
"But I'm super thankful for the experience. Even the hard times, the fans just stuck it out with us. I cried a bit earlier today, but I just felt a sense of peace come over me because I knew that I gave it my all ... I'll probably cry later when it actually sinks in," she continued. "I'm just so thankful. Let's just keep on the up and up, OK? I think I learned that I can be confident. I just felt so empowered on this journey and people have just really have made me feel like this -- I sometimes don't understand why this is happening to me, but the fans and the people who have loved me around this whole experience have made me feel like I do deserve it. Thank you guys. I love you all!"
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