The wait to compete on Dancing With the Starsproved to be worth it for Mirror Ball trophy winner Alfonso Ribeiro on Tuesday night.
“This was such an amazing ride. I was so lucky to have [pro coach] Witney [Carson]. We waited 10 years and if I’d have done it before last season, I wouldn’t have had Witney. It was the right time. It worked out perfect,” Ribeiro said following his win late Tuesday. “We so did not expect [to win]. I said to Witney right before, ‘Be prepared to hear Mark and Sadie.’ ”
The road to victory was a physical struggle for Ribeiro. Throughout the latter part of the season, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star suffered back and groin injuries. “It’s so hard because I can’t even pick up my kid. The only time I really get to cuddle with him is when lying down in bed and he can crawl on me a little bit.”
Although the journey to the finish line was highly competitive — season 19 was the closest race in DWTS history after all three finalists landed perfect 40/40 scores — Ribeiro’s vow to keep fighting in week 10, coupled with a supportive fan base, earned him and Carson the finale win and a spot on the show’s tour.
“It will be fun to hang out with all of the dancers and a few of the celebrities that come out and do some spot dates,” Ribeiro said.
Duck Dynasty’s Sadie Robertson and professional partner Mark Ballas came in a close second — exceeding even their own expectations. “I’m so proud of how far we’ve made it. I didn’t expect to make it this far, especially with the competition we had. To be right next to Alfonso at the end is really an amazing honor and feeling,” said Robertson, who is discussing spot dates for the tour.
While Ballas and his “princess” were the runners-up, the pro dancer admitted that his season with Robertson was his favorite to date. “It’s hard to explain what this is like until you’re in these shoes. It can be really tough at times. It can get stressful, there’s pressure, especially when you’re thrown multiple dances at once. And in those situations, after 16 seasons for me, she always kept me smiling and chill,” Ballas said.
Third-place performer Janel Parrish (Pretty Little Liars), also confirmed to tour alongside Ribeiro and her pro partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy, admitted that she will miss “dancing with him and creating moments.”