After 11 long weeks of grueling routines and more than just a few injuries, Kaitlyn Bristowe and her pro dancing partner Artem Chigvintsev took home the Mirrorball Trophy during the Dancing With the Stars Season 29 finale Monday night. Their weeks-long quest to grab the top prize culminated in an emotional evening after they were crowned victors, the two winners admitting to Entertainment Tonight that while there was plenty of excitement, there were also a few tears.
Speaking to the outlet just after stepping off the stage for the final time, Chigvintsev reflected on the moment he heard his and Bristowe's name called as champions. As he stood on the stage alongside Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson, Chigvintsev said that he couldn't help but think "about where I was a year ago." The pro dancer had been cut from the pro lineup for Season 28, with Chigvintsev admitting Monday night that he "felt that [my] old dancing dreams were done and dusted, and that I was never going to be able to perform on that stage at all."
"And then just standing with Kaitlyn in the final and being called as the champion of the season? I mean, it was such a surreal moment that I never thought it would be, in the reality of this world," Chigvintsev said. "Yeah, it's absolutely crazy. It made me so emotional because of that."
The moment was just as emotional for Bristowe, who landed a spot on Season 29's celebrity lineup years after she was allegedly blocked from joining the series by The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss. Bristowe had reportedly been offered a spot in the competition several years ago, though Fleiss allegedly "said he didn't want people wanting fame after his show." Bristowe, however, had held out hope that she would one day get her chance to vie for the Mirrorball Trophy. Bristowe said the long journey it took to get her to where she is "makes it all so much better… That it was taken away, that I still believed in it, that I worked hard for it, that I stayed true to myself through it." She added, "you just never know when it's going to happen and the fact that everything just aligned for us and that we're here with the Mirrorball, like, what?"
Bristowe and Chigvintsev took home the Mirrorball Trophy after earning perfect scores for their repeat Argentine tango to Britney Spears' "Toxic" and freestyle "Sparkling Diamonds," routines that wowed the judges. Their win made Bristowe the second consecutive Bachelorette contestant to be crowned champion. Taking second place was Schulman and Johnson. Nelly and Daniella Karagach placed third, with One Day at a Time's Justina Machado and Sasha Farber finishing in fourth place.