Iman Shumpert Triumphs on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars"

By Behind the Scenes in Hollywood Archives
Cover image for  article: Iman Shumpert Triumphs on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars"

Last night on ABC's Dancing with the Stars the fantastic final four -- Iman Shumpert (with Daniella Karagach), Cody Rigsby (and Cheryl Burke), Amanda Kloots (and Alan Bersten) and JoJo Siwa (and Jenna Johnson) -- went head-to-head in their quest to take home the coveted Mirror Ball trophy. The night kicked off with a show-stopping opening number featuring the season's past contenders, and after some fancy footwork, outstanding performances, and the combined viewer and judges vote, it was decreed that the Season 30 winners were Shumpert (the first NBA star to make it to the end of a season, let alone win) and Karagach. Their steamy Cha Cha/Foxtrot fusion, followed by a Hip-hop extravaganza freestyle, awarded them a total score of 80/80.

Coming in a close second were Siwa and Johnson, who made history as the first same-sex couple to dance together and introduced more same-sex partnered pros in their freestyle to "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga. Despite also receiving a perfect score for the night, it wasn't enough to beat out Shumpert and Karagach, who constantly referred to themselves as this season's underdogs. "Honestly, it was just so much fun, and we just had such a good time," Karagach beamed after the win. "That's all we cared about. All we wanted to do was just have a good time. It's the finale, so it's the last time we get to dance together, and we enjoyed the crap out of it."

When it came to his partner, Shumpert had but nothing but praise for the pro that made him a champion. "I know my name will get talked about a lot for this, but I couldn't have had a better coach," he declared. "I couldn't have made a better friend. Seriously, like if this is not an ode to all the incredible work [Daniella has] done over [her] lifetime of being a real professional dancer … To be able to cram years of experience into three months, and see the end result being me, holding the mirror ball trophy! You're an incredible person, an incredible teacher, an incredible coach, and an amazing friend. So, thank you Dancing with the Stars for pairing me with DJ Yella!"

For Siwa, given the race to the finish was so close, she was just happy to have been the first runner-up. "This journey has been magical," she shared. "I see a new me every day and it's been such a fun adventure. Out of 15 incredible couples, who are all talented in their own way, we got second and I will take it. We were right there! We made it to the finals! It was an honor since day one."

As for the presentation of same-sex-partnered dancers in her freestyle (a first for the show), Siwa leaves the show elated. "I was so proud of it," she revealed. "I didn't tell [Jenna] this but I was crying in my little egg before I went out. I had a talk with myself, and said, 'Pull it together really fast, otherwise Jen's gonna kill you!' I just was so happy, yet sad, because I knew everything was going to be over in two minutes. But it was two minutes of my life that were on fire and that I'm so grateful for."

The duo was also elated to be able to be the first to congratulate the winners, as they were the closest when it was announced. "It was amazing," Johnson said. "I think that it really is a testament to what the show is. We are family. No matter if we win or lose, all the eliminated couples rushed to the floor to celebrate Daniella and Iman, and that was amazing."

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