This season of Dancing with the Stars had some fierce competition, with many of the contestants having had seasoned dance careers or at least some past dancing experience. Erika Jayne, Glee actress Heather Morris, and Olympic gymnast Simone Biles were among those whom many expected to take home the coveted Mirrorball Trophy. However, as Season 24 continued and all of those contestants were eliminated, it became clear that the finale might not turn out the way everyone expected.
Former New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings and long-time staple on DWTS Emma Slater were named the Season 24 winners during the show's finale Tuesday night. It was an incredibly moving moment for both of them. Though most attention is usually given to “the stars” of the franchise, Emma has been on for seven seasons and had never made it to the finals with a partner before. In an interview with ET Online, Rashad said he worked so hard for himself and for Emma.
Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater holding their trophies.
"I'm her biggest fan, you have no idea!" he explained. "When you talk about the amount of hours we put in, part of that is because I want to see her go far."
In total, they said they practiced about 362 hours, begging for more practice every week. The pair beat out World Series champion David Ross and his partner Lindsay Arnold as well as Fifth Harmony star Normani Kordei and her partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy.
It seems like a passion for dancing has also taken over Rashad. Though he says he will continue to make football his number one priority, it was announced he’ll be joining Dancing With the Stars' live tour, Hot Summer Nights. It sounds like a lot of work. "We just have our show, which is a lot of great cardio, and then in the mornings you have all this time to really put energy into yourself,” said Rashad, adding, "I'm going to be training harder.”
Despite all their hard work, Rashad and Emma’s win was considered something of an upset. In fact, they were actually outdanced by their fellow contestants in the final round. During the scoring, Normani and Valentin received a 40/40 for their Argentine tango and foxtrot fusion dance. Rashad and Emma received a 39/40 for a cha cha and tango set. But when the votes were tallied, Normani ended up in third place, shocking the audience and some judges, if we’re guessing from their expressions. Happily, everyone remained gracious and celebratory on camera, and Rashad and Emma could enjoy their win as they deserved. They certainly worked hard enough for it.