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J.R. Martinez’s Stirring Journey Ends With Mirror Ball (video)

J.R. Martinez's Stirring Journey Ends With Mirror Ball (video) 1

Iraq War veteran J.R. Martinez captured DWTS’s Mirror Ball in tense competition. (Photo: ABC)

J.R. Martinez was just too compelling a story to let Rob Kardashian and the Kim Kardashian pr machine roll over him on “Dancing With the Stars.” The Iraq veteran won the Mirror Ball in a tense finale.

Give Rob, 24, credit; he didn’t sail on popularity or politics like Kate Gosselin or Bristol Palin from previous seasons.

His performances were certainly worthy of the trophy. Let’s hope he can now find a job, or at least his sisters stop picking on him.

But Martinez, 28, was an unstoppable combination of fluid dance moves and a compelling back story. The Iraq war veteran overcame horrible wounds to be on the show.

Ricki Lake, who made it to the final three before getting booted last night (Nov. 22) was also a credible performer. For the first time, no slackers made it through.

She received a perfect 30 for her final tango where she and Derek Hough danced to the Psycho theme tune.

J.R. and his pro partner Karina Smirnoff seemed just a stunned as anyone when their victory was announce. It was Karina’s first win.

“You are amazing,” the always gracious soldier said to his partner. “I’m so grateful I could be a part of your first mirror-ball trophy.”

The winner is picked by a combination of judges’ points from Monday’s show, and viewer votes, so popularity and fan base count.

Rob not only showed he could dance, landing a perfect 30 score for his freestyle, but he also he had the full force of Kim, Khloe and Kourtney in his corner. Combined, they have about 14 million Twitter followers.

The sisters shamelessly promoted him to their followers. Kim even played dirty, tweeting Rob’s number to vote while telling her fans it was Justin Bieber’s.

Kim and the Kardashian clan were in the audience for the finale, and some speculated that her wedding scandal may have weighed on Rob’s chances.

Maybe so, but that shouldn’t take away anything from J.R’s performance, or Rob’s. Martinez was gracious in victory.

“First and foremost, I want to thank everybody who voted for us, for 10 weeks,” he said. “Thank you, America, for believing in us.”

Martinez was just 19 when he enlisted in the Army and was deployed to Iraq. The truck he was driving hit a land mine and he was burned over 40 percent of his body.

Rob and J.R went head-to-head for the trophy with and ‘instant’ samba to Ricky Martin’s 1999 hit “Shake Your Bon Bon.”

Rob’s slight slip on the dance floor may have cost him. He ended with a score of 26 to J.R’s 28.

“You are such a catalyst for joy,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba told the soldier.

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