09:34 AM EDT 12/04/2013
Originally posted 05/21/2013 09:25AM
It wasn't just teary-eyed viewers who were left speechless after Kellie Pickler's flawless, dramatic freestyle performance with Derek Hough on Monday night's Dancing with the Stars finals. The country starlet herself was also at a loss for words.
"I just feel like I let all of my walls down and I just got out there and just did my little dance," Pickler, 26, told PEOPLE backstage after her performance. "I just let myself go. There was a freedom, in a sense, that I felt. I really don't even know how to put it into words. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, I feel like I've accomplished so much being here."
Hough, 28, who admitted he and Pickler struggled with the routine during rehearsals, said, "We were super, super nervous, but right before we went on there, I kind of gave Kellie a little pep talk. I was just like, 'This is your dance. There is nobody here that can do this dance but you. This is what you're meant to do.' "
Originally posted 05/20/2013 10:30PM
The final four couples performed three routines each on Monday's Dancing with the Stars. By the end of the night, one pair were in the lead with a perfect score for all three dances.
However, the episode kicked off with an imperfect – though energetic – jive.
Karina Smirnoff and partner Jacoby Jones – who judge Carrie Ann Inaba previously called "the number one entertainer of season 16" – were told by judge Len Goodman that they showed improvement, but that "you got excited at times and lost it."
Originally posted 05/20/2013 08:00PM
Who's going to take home the coveted mirror-ball trophy?
The top four couples on Dancing with the Stars – Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough, Alexandra Raisman and Mark Ballas, Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy, Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff – are hitting the ballroom one last time Monday night in hopes of earning high scores from judges and lots of votes from viewers to win the competition.
And the competition is fierce! Kellie and Zendaya have been clear frontrunners from the beginning, while Alexandra has also scored big and Jacoby is finishing strong, charming the judges and picking up enough votes to make it to the finale.
We want to hear from you about Monday's show. Share your thoughts on Twitter @peoplemag and we'll post the best Tweets right here.
Originally posted 04/29/2013 10:30PM
The ballroom heated up on Monday night's Latin-themed Dancing with the Stars.
Seven weeks into the competition, almost all of the remaining couples came up with impressive routines. But it was Alexandra Raisman and Mark Ballas who landed their first 10s of the season, with a salsa that Len Goodman – who gave the pair a nine – called, "tasty and refreshing."
The pair got 10s from the other two judges, which put them at a total of 29 points out of 30. They also received an additional three points for winning a dance-off against Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess.
Raisman and Ballas tied with regular high-scoring duo, Derek Hough and Kellie Pickler, who wowed judges with their samba to Ricky Martin's "Shake Your Bon Bon."
Originally posted 04/23/2013 10:15PM
It was another week of low scores for Andy Dick and Victor Ortiz, who performed on Monday's Stevie Wonder-themed episode of Dancing with the Stars.
Dick and partner Sharna Burgess struggled through an 18-point samba and earned 25 additional points for their group dance as part of Team Samba. And Ortiz and partner Lindsay Arnold failed to impress the judges with their rumba, which earned 18 points. They later added 22-points as part of Team Paso.
Did Dick or Ortiz get the boot at the end of Tuesday's elimination episode? Or was there a surprise dismissal? Read on to find out ...
Originally posted 04/22/2013 10:40PM
Stevie Wonder was the guest of honor Monday night on Dancing with the Stars. Between performances by the iconic singer, the eight remaining couples competed with two dances each to his hits.
Once again, Kellie Pickler and Zendaya were atop the leaderboard – and both earned 10s for their respective routines.
Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy's cha cha to "Do I Do" was "full of snap, crackle and pop," according to Len Goodman. Carrie Ann Inaba called the routine "perfection in motion." They earned 29 points.
Kellie and Derek Hough's quickstep to "Part-Time Lover" was "the best dance I've seen on season 16," Len said. Carrie Ann added, "Everything about it was perfect except there was some space in your hold." They also earned 29 points.
But Kellie and Derek finished slightly ahead of Zendaya and Val after the second routine, a team dance in which four couples performed at the same time.
Originally posted 04/11/2013 06:00AM
They're pals even off the parquet!
After performing together on Dancing with the Stars this week, Kellie Pickler and pro Derek Hough enjoyed a night out with fellow DWTS pals (and Picker's husband Kyle Jacobs) at the Sayers Club in L.A.
The country star, in skinny black pants and a black sweater, spent most of her time with her hubby and a brunette friend – but then she was front and center as Mark Ballas took the stage (at 12:35 a.m.) for a seven-song concert. Pickler was spotted cheering and clapping along to the music, though by the fourth song or so, she seemed to be a bit tired and headed over to the tables where her dance partner Hough was watching the show.
Pickler caught the rest of the show at the table, sipping water from a bottle, before heading out with her hubby.
Originally posted 04/02/2013 10:50AM
Derek Hough almost took a break from Dancing with the Stars this season. Is he ever glad he changed his mind.
Hough and Kellie Pickler have been tearing up the ballroom this spring, mostly recently with a killer "Footloose" jive that snagged them the top score Monday during prom night – leaving Hough, 27, once again astonished at his partner's dancing skills.
"She's got that ability, which for me is so fun to discover," he told PEOPLE of his country-singer partner after Monday's show. "It's wonderful."
Originally posted 04/01/2013 10:45PM
There can only be one king and queen of any prom – and Dancing's prom-themed show was no exception. So, which couple made magical memories in the ballroom Monday night?
Derek Hough and partner Kellie Pickler reigned once again this week, according to tough judge Len Goodman, who declared the singer "queen" for their "Footloose" jive. Carrie Ann Inaba called the performance "ridiculously amazing." They earned the top score of 25 points.
Hot on their heels were early frontrunners Zendaya and partner Val Chmerkovskiy, who earned 24 points for a Viennese waltz that Bruno Tonioli called as "enchanting and charming as Venice in the moonlight."
NFL star Jacoby Jones was sexy and shirtless for an impressive, 24-point rumba with partner Karina Smirnoff. "This had a refinement," Len said. "It had quality of movement."
Originally posted 03/26/2013 10:00PM
Following a week safe from any elimination, one couple is heading home after Tuesday night's Dancing with the Stars.
At the bottom of the leader board for two consecutive weeks were: D.L. Hughley and Cheryl Burke, Wynonna Judd and Tony Dovolani, Victor Ortiz and Lindsay Arnold and Lisa Vanderpump and Gleb Savchenko.
Read on to find out if one of these couples were the first to hang up their dancing shoes on season 16. Spoilers ahead ...
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