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Kellie Pickler Wins ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Kellie Pickler

Kellie Pickler has been named the winner of Season 16 of ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ besting Disney star Zendaya in the final two. “Grandpa Ken, we got you the trophy buddy,” partner Derek Hough shouted, referring to the man who raised Pickler. NFL player Jacoby Jones finished third, with gymnast Aly Raisman finishing fourth.

The final episode of Season 16 began with group dance, followed by the revealing of which dance from Monday night earned an encore. Fans chose Pickler’s and Hough’s freestyle, and the couple delivered an inspirational performance once again.

The show’s final two hours were filled out by guest performances from Wynonna Judd, Psy, Jessica Sanchez and rapper Pitbull in addition to clips of highlights and lowlights from Season 16. Those included a skit involving Andy Dick, a confession from Lisa Vanderpump and the answer to one great mystery: what Len Goodman told Bruno Tolioli two weeks ago during a tirade following Pickler’s Paso Doble.

“You can’t talk unless you stand up, your vocal chords are stuck up your a–,” Goodman shouted — a comment that was muted at the time.

There was one more competitive dance, the “instant dance.” The remaining three contestants — Raisman was eliminated during the episode’s first half hour — were tasked with setting their dance to a surprise song with less than an hour and performing it for scores from the judges. The tally was added to Tuesday night’s scores and fan votes to determine the champion. Jones and Karina Smirnoff scored a 30, Pickler and Hough notched a 30 (and a comparison to Julianne Hough) and Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy also tallied 30.

Pickler’s freestyle from Monday may have clinched the competition for her. Many viewers called it the best in the show’s history, while all three judges gave effusive praise to the country singer from North Carolina. From the very first week, it was clear she shared a special chemistry with Hough, who ended their final rehearsal be telling her that she can confidently call herself a dancer.

“This is amazing,” Pickler shouted during a brief interview. Husband Kyle Jacobs was shown celebrating in the crowd as all of the season’s dancers rushed the floor to congratulate the new ‘Dancing With the Stars’ champion.

Next: Relive Kellie Pickler's Freestyle Dance From Monday Night

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