Despite a poor showing during this week’s performances due to an ankle injury, J.R. Martinez has made it to finals of Dancing with the Stars in his quest to become the first Hispanic-American to win the show’s coveted mirrorball trophy.
For the first time this season, the 28-year-old wounded-war-vet-turned-actor and his partner Karina Smirnoff saw themselves in the bottom two during Tuesday’s results show after their third place showing on Monday.
But it appears Martinez’s public support is stronger than ever as soccer star Hope Solo was the celebrity sent packing.
Upon learning he was moving on to next week’s finals, the former All My Children star took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
During backstage interviews, Martinez said he was “frustrated” with his hurt ankle.
“The expectation was still high for myself despite the injury,” Martinez told Access Hollywood. “All week when we were rehearsing, it was like ‘oh man if I nail this…it would be an opportunity to show America a different side of J.R. Martinez than what they’ve gotten to know.’”
Martinez could now become the second Latino and first Hispanic-American winner in show’s 13-season history. He’ll compete against Ricki Lake and Rob Kardshian in next week’s finale shows.