And the "Dancing With the Stars" Champion Is...

J.R. Martinez wins the mirrorball, Rob Kardashian comes in second

Tuesday, Nov 22, 2011  |  Updated 11:37 PM EDT
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AP

J.R. Martinez, left, and his partner Karina Smirnoff won "Dancing with the Stars."

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J.R. Martinez was crowned champion on "Dancing with the Stars" Tuesday night. 

The Iraq war veteran and actor bested reality star Rob Kardashian to win the mirrorball trophy.

“Thank you, America, for believing in us,” Martinez said as he held up his trophy with his professional partner Karina Smirnoff. He said he was excited for Smirnoff to have won her first mirrorball.

Ricki Lake fell one dance short to be eliminated in the first hour of ABC's dance competition finale.

"I've loved basically every minute of this," she said after her dismissal. "This is a fantasy come true."

The three finalists each reprised their favorite dance of the season Tuesday to add to their judges' points. Judges' scores were combined with viewer votes to determine who was eliminated each week.

Kardashian and Martinez each had a samba routine to perform before the winner was named.

Kardashian came into the final episode in first place. He had shown steady development throughout the season, and on Monday, he and professional partner Cheryl Burke dazzled on the penultimate dance-off with an elegant waltz and a rip-roaring, swing-inspired freestyle routine that judges rewarded with a perfect score.

On Monday, Lake and Martinez, who each topped the judges' leaderboard throughout the 10-week competition, were tied for second place.

Like Kardashian and Burke, Martinez and Smirnoff earned a perfect score Monday night for their freestyle routine and had their eyes firmly focused on the prize.

Viewer votes counted for half of each contestant's overall score, but the last chance to cast votes was Monday.

The two-hour season finale also featured music by Lady Antebellum and appearances by this season's former contestants: TV personalities Nancy Grace and Carson Kressley, reality star Kristin Cavallari, actors David Arquette and Elisabetta Canalis, singer Chynna Phillips, activist Chaz Bono, basketball player Metta World Peace and soccer star Hope Solo.

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