Nyle DiMarco, the deaf model who previously won America’s Next Top Model, just won the much-coveted Mirror Ball trophy in Tuesday night’s finale of Dancing With The Stars along with his dancing partner Peta Murgatroyd.
DiMarco jumped when he was announced as the winner. Before long, his partner Peta and friends engulfed him with hugs as they congratulated him for his victory.
“This is such an amazing feeling. This whole thing has been so incredible,” Murgatroyd said. “I owe everything to DiMarco.”
Nyle has become a fan favorite in the 22nd season of Dancing With The Stars since day one. Being deaf, DiMarco has faced serious challenges throughout the competition, and the way he rose above them all through sheer perseverance and love of the craft is nothing short of inspiring.
DiMarco being an advocate for the deaf community makes the victory even more special.
“I’m ready to take the world by storm and have them look at me and say, ‘deaf people can dance,'” he told People with the help of an interpreter earlier this year.
When DWTS co-host Tom Bergeron handed the winners the Mirror Ball trophy, DiMarco gave him a big hug with a big smile on his face.
VanZant, who came in second, told Bergeron that she was happy to have been part of the show.
“I’m going to remember it forever,” she said.
Zee came in third. Shortly after the results were revealed, Zee thanked her partner for giving her the rare distinction of being a meteorologist who can dance.
“I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to be here,” she added.
In an exclusive interview with ET, DiMarco said via his interpreter that his victory meant so much to him because inspiring people had always been his goal when he joined the competition.
DiMarco’s performance on Tuesday night’s finale was equally inspiring, in which he and Peta fused two dancing styles (cha cha and tango) into one routine with only one day of preparation. The performance earned them a perfect score from the judges.
“That was a beautiful way to end the season,” Inaba said after the performance. “But Nyle, I just want to say something to you. Because you’ve spoken to us so eloquently in our language of dance, I want to say this to you and I hope I get it right.”
Inaba then stood up and talked to Nyle using sign language.
“She said ‘Thank you,’ for sharing what’s in my heart, and that’s what really touched me because that’s my goal every week,” DiMarco told ET. “I really want to connect with the audience and teach them what it really means to be deaf.”
It was an emotional exchange that brought tears to Nyle, and it had the same effect on his mom, Donna, who shed tears of joy from the audience.
After the show, Donna joined her son for the ET interview to talk about the emotional exchange with Inaba.
“When he breaks down, it’s so easy for mom to break down,” Donna, who is also deaf, said via Nyle’s translator. “I just joined in on the emotion, and the emotional journey he was going through. He really deserves this.”
DiMarco also talked at length about his deep connection with Peta Murgatroyd, saying how his dancing partner helped him learn things about himself and how she pushed him beyond the confines of what he thought he could accomplish.
“The first week that we worked together, she was already starting to learn my language and my culture. She was very curious. She did the right thing right out of the chute,” he recalled. “It really was about learning about each other’s worlds and I think that message was really strong.”
Shortly after the event, Nyle took to Instagram to share an image of himself and Peta kissing the Mirror Ball trophy, along with the caption, “I CANT BELIEVE IT! WE WON! WE WON THE MIRROR BALL!!! This is for 70 million Deaf people in the world! Thank you all for your CONTINUING SUPPORT. @petamurgatroyd YOU ARE AMAZING. Thank you for embracing this journey with me. Thank you for pushing me and believing in me. I love you!”
What did you think of Nyle DiMarco’s performance on Tueday’s Dancing with the Stars finale? Feel free to share your thoughts below.
[Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images]