Returning to reality TV competitions, Pickler joins Dancing with the Stars's sixteenth season, partnering with Derek Hough. "Having Derek as my partner is an answered prayer," she tells PEOPLE. "Right before I left Nashville for L.A., my Grandpa Ken, who is a huge fan of the show, told me he was praying that Derek would be my partner, because that's his favorite male dancer on the show." An early fan favorite, Pickler and Hough go on to bring home the mirror ball trophy during the show's May 21 finale. "This is amazing!" she says, later telling PEOPLE, "I just tried to take it one week at a time, one dance at a time."
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Kelsey McNeal/ABC