Xochitl Gomez is dancing on the ceiling…
The 17-year-old Mexican American actress and Marvel star and her professional dancing partner Val Chmerkovskiy have become the first pair to win Dancing With the Stars’ Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy.
Gomez and Chmerkovsky claimed the trophy during the Tuesday, December 5, season 32 finale of the long-running ABC celebrity ballroom dancing competition, making her the fourth Hispanic celebrity to win Dancing with the Stars and the first celebrity of Mexican descent to claim the trophy.
“I don’t want this show to end, and I think it’s gonna be really good for me to keep coming back,” she joked after her big win during the finale.
After redeeming their foxtrot and bringing it home with a fiery freestyle, Gomez and Chmerkovskiy received two back-to-back perfect scores from the judges. With their scores from the semifinals also included in their judges’ totals Tuesday night, they were the only couple to earn a perfect score of 120 across all four dances.
“Gosh, I didn’t think that [we did that]. I forgot until there had been like a little thing that said, this is your score something out of something, and it was the score. I was like, ‘What? We did that?’ Yeah, we did that. I’m proud of that,” Gomez said.
Ahead of Tuesday night’s performances, judge Bruno Tonioli visited Gomez and Chmerkovskiy in the studio to reassign them the foxtrot and give Gomez some pointers on how to improve in the dance style. Tonioli said during rehearsals that he was hoping to see more “refined sophistication” than the couple’s first attempt at the foxtrot in week three.
Gomez was the last to grace the stage for the redemption round, but certainly not the least. She made her latest foxtrot look effortless, earning praise from all three judges, including Tonioli, who told her she is a “delight” to watch.
Gomez told Deadline the judge’s advice in rehearsals was invaluable to be able to perfect her foxtrot, especially when it came to lengthening her arms.
“That was one of the things that I tried to do, but I was never that successful. And I tried a lot, but it was hard. So for someone else to have a different voice and tell me, ‘This is something that is one of your weakest points. So fix it.’ And also for him to show me how to do it. I thought that was really nice and definitely helped me out for the foxtrot,” she said.
Chmerkovskiy expressed pride for his partner, beaming as he explained he was most impressed with “how much dance she’s learned.”
“I mean, we put in the work at the studio. But usually we like do a lot more warming up and practicing during the show leading up to the performance. Today, we just trusted ourselves and came out and just danced,” he said.
In the final moments of the Season 32 finale, Gomez and Chmerkovskiy stood on stage next to Jason Mraz and his partner Daniella Karagach, anxiously awaiting the news on who’d eked out the victory. Just as host Alfonso Ribeiro was about to announce the victors, he instead cut to a final commercial — prompting a loud groan from the audience.
“The whole night was special. I keep saying it feels bittersweet because, for us, every week that we had a great performance felt like exactly like this feeling. Truly, every time we got called safe, we felt like we were winning. So tonight, it felt like that times 100.”
Here’s the list of the DWTS winners of Hispanic descent:
Season 5: Hélio Castroneves (Brazilian) and Julianne Hough
Season 13: J.R. Martinez (Salvadoran American) and Karina Smirnoff
Season 23: Laurie Hernandez (Puerto Rican) and Val Chmerkovskiy
Season 32: Xochitl Gomez (Mexican American) and Val Chmerkovskiy