Viewers of Dancing with the Stars have flipped out over Artem Chigvintsev’s first mirrorball win. He and celebrity partner Kaitlyn Bristowe were named the winners of Season 29, which concluded on Monday, November 23. The couple was in the top two along with Catfish star Nev Schulman and his professional partner Jenna Johnson as they awaited the results read by Tyra Banks. Artem’s elation was evident as he threw his arms around Kaitlyn and hugged her close, then led her to the mirrorball and had her pick it up for the cameras.
In a post shared by the show, fans expressed their happiness over the news.
“I’m just happy for Artem. He was such an underrated pro. And Daniella is my favorite female pro!!” wrote one supporter.
“So happy for Artem for winning his first mirrorball,” penned a second follower.
“Awwwwh how happy Artem looks,” exclaimed a third Instagram user.
“Congrats Artem, you deserve this after all the hard work you have done on the show,” claimed a fourth fan.
Shortly after the results were called, Artem spoke to Entertainment Tonight about his thrill at winning the show’s most coveted trophy.
He shared that after his and Kaitlyn’s names were called, he was thinking about where he was one year ago when he was not part of DWTS’ previous season. Artem said he believed his dancing dreams were done and that he was never going to be able to perform on the series again. He said the win was a surreal moment that he never thought would come to be.
Artem won the U.K.’s Strictly Come Dancing with Kara Tointon in 2010. Prior to his first glittering trophy, Artem’s highest position throughout his time on DWTS had been 6th place. He achieved that alongside Back to the Future star Lea Thompson and Olympian Nancy Kerrigan in Seasons 19 and 24. He also placed 7th with his current fiancée, former pro wrestler Nikki Bella, and 8th with singer Patti LaBelle and Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick.
The winners’ slow and steady progression over the season won raves from their fans. Many believed that their late success was what the meaning behind DWTS was all about. They hit their stride over the past several episodes, with the duo receiving three perfect scores in a row after several disappointing weeks when judge Carrie Ann Inaba gave the couple low tallies and some harsh criticism in order to push them to succeed.