It was a night of celebration in the ballroom on Tuesday, as Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy were named the winners of Dancing With the Stars Season 18! Star was on-hand at the show’s finale after party, and caught up with some fellow cast members about the duo’s win and the season as a whole.
What do you think of Meryl and Maks winning it all?
Karina Smirnoff: I’m excited! I’m excited for Maks. It’s been a long season. A long, long season and Amy [Purdy] did an amazing job. But Derek [Hough] has five Mirror Ball trophies already. He’s got plenty! So it’s really great to see Maks walk away with one.
Do you think they’ll continue their on-screen romance off-screen?
When you go to a movie and you see a romantic scene, you know they are actors. They are not necessarily a couple in real life, but they’re actors. And you believe them so much that you kind of believe they could be a couple in real life — that’s great acting. So when you’re on the dance floor and it’s a man and a woman dancing, you want to create that story and make something that people believe. They were able to do that. I am happy! I was rooting for them.
You look absolutely incredible. How do you maintain such an awesome figure?
I have my own workout that I actually take around the country and to Europe and Asia now. It’s a 50 minute, full-on cardio and I always get tired afterward and I feel sore. So, even my body doesn’t get used to it! But it targets love handles — you get long, lean muscles. You see more definition in your arms and your biceps, so I love it. And I get to teach and workout at the same time, so I get to kill two birds with one stone!
What did you think of Erin Andrews as a host this season compared to Brooke Burke?
She’s awesome! Erin is great. She’s very down to earth and is like one of us, so it’s fun. I mean, we all miss Brooke, too, but you’ve got to love both women. They both are amazing!
Do you see her coming back to host next season?
There are so many changes happening on the show constantly throughout the season that no one knows what’s happening. We all just hope we’re coming back!
If Justin Bieber wanted to be a contestant on DWTS, would you want him as a partner?
I think with his massive fan base, you don’t even have to dance. He could just stand in the middle and walk away with a trophy. That would be amazing and so easy! I would definitely do that. Where can I sign up?
Maks and Meryl won it all! Were you surprised?
Kyn Johnson: Not at all! I’m so happy for Maks. I’m so excited for him! He’s always deserved to win so many times and he’s so deserving to win it, especially with Meryl. Both of them together were absolutely incredible.
Who is the sexiest male and female on the show?
I think Cheryl Burke has got an amazing body. She’s just so sexy. As for the sexiest guy, I’d definitely say Maks. He’s got, like, a perfect body. It’s amazing. He knows he’s hot and how could you not? How could you not! He’s the sweetest guy. He’s adorable!
Do you think Meryl had an unfair advantage?
If you look at the history of the show, we’ve always had boy band members and people who, in the course of training for their careers, had dance experience. The differentiation is always ballroom dancing. No one’s done a lot of ballroom dancing, so it’s very telling. I hear it every season, but if you look at the history of the show, it makes a lot more sense.
Why do you think the show has been so successful?
People just love it and the ratings were incredible this season. It’s just this magical show that people can’t get enough of.
Did you expect Meryl and Maks to win the Mirror Ball tonight?
Danica McKellar: I was hoping and I am thrilled! I think Meryl and Maks did an amazing job. They have great chemistry and they’re both just amazing dancers, so I’m so happy for them. They definitely deserve it!
Was competing on the show easier or more challenging than you had anticipated?
It was much more difficult than I thought it was going to be…and I knew it was going to be difficult. Partially, because I did break a rib, so I had to deal with that, so it might have made things a little more difficult [laughs]. But it was also more gratifying because it taught me that I was tougher than I thought. I got to persevere and prove that you couldn’t stop me even if I break a rib. To actually come out through the other side was pretty awesome.
You have an insanely toned body! What’s your secret?
I do a lot of yoga. I do Pilates. I eat really healthy foods. I drink mostly just water. I don’t ever drink alcohol, I don’t drink soda. I don’t eat sugar for the most part. I mean, I splurge! But basically, I eat really, really healthy — a lot of vegetables, a lot of whole grain, no white bread. It’s 80% diet and 20% fitness. Now, Dancing With the Stars will get you the six pack and definition, but before this, it was mostly diet.
When do you feel most confident about yourself?
When? Right now! By far. I’m in the best shape of my life!
Which contestant were you surprised to become friends with on the show?
My friendship with Charlie [White] surprised me the most. He and I just get along and we just have this understanding. He’s so awesome in so many ways. I love Charlie! We’re going to keep in touch for sure.
What is your opinion of the results tonight?
Tom Bergeron: I’m very happy! I think it was great watching Meryl and Maks. I went over to them before they announced it and I hadn’t known who won. Usually on the weekly show they’ll tell me who’s going, but for the finale, I don’t like to know. So I went over to Derek and Amy and said, ‘Good luck,’ and I said, ‘You know, however this plays out, this means more to us than any other season.’ And I think that’s true. You look at what he and Amy did and the Mirror Ball trophy is just, like, whatever! But what they did was so inspirational.
Do you think Meryl and Maks were deserving?
It’s so great for Maks because he’s been real close so many times, and with Meryl, he just found a wonderful partner and they had great chemistry. I think, too, he’s a few years older and he brought a very different approach to the show this time and it really paid off. You got to see a side of him that I’ve always known was there, but that he never really let you guys see.
Will their chemistry continue after the show?
Here’s the thing — and I will cop to maybe being the naive guy here. I don’t buy that there’s a romantic relationship. I think they love each other, but I don’t think it’s that kind of relationship. I think they’re going to be friends for the rest of their lives. But we’ll see — we’ll see who’s right!
Viewers were shocked when Candace made it to the finals. What was your reaction?
Candace was even shocked! But that’s how the show works. Always surprises. The audience votes and she loves her fans, and they’re there for her. But you could see the look on her face, too!
Do you think she felt guilt that James Maslow got the boot before her?
No! Not at all! It’s just the way it works. Life’s a b—h!