Dancing With The Stars named Iraq war veteran JR Martinez as the winner of its 13th series on Tuesday evening (22 November 2011), despite a spirited comeback from Rob Kardashian, who was considered the favorite to scoop the prestigious mirror mall trophy going into the final night.
28-year-old Martinez, who also appeared on long running soap opera All My Children, had dominated the competition's early stages with partner Karina Smirnoff, but an ankle injury was deemed to have put an end to his chances. However, the veteran who suffered severe burns following a landmine incident in Iraq used his fighting spirit to impress the judges in the final two weeks and was named the winner on last night's show - Kardashian settled for second place, while talk show host Ricki Lake took third. Following his victory, host Tom Begeron called the veteran an "inspiration" to the audience, while the man himself thanked his partner Karina, saying, "You are amazing and I'm so grateful that I was able to be a part of your first mirror ball trophy". The two-hour show also included appearances from this season's eliminated contestants, including Courteney Cox's estranged husband David Arquette, singer Chynna Phillips and the writer and activist Chaz Bono, the son of singer Cher.
After the show, a clearly thrilled Martinez told Usa Today, "I just want to breathe and take it all in. It's been such an amazing journey". It is not clear what the veteran intends to do following his success, although it is rumored he could return to acting following the axing of All My Children.