Dancing With the Stars Season 14 was one of the most competitive seasons of the show yet. Any of the top three were deserving of the win. That said, here at Wetpaint Entertainment, we made no secret of the fact that we've loved Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd from Day One, and we couldn't have been happier when they took home the Mirror Ball.
We were thrilled to get a chance to chat with Peta about her win and her hopes for the All-Stars season at the Grand Opening of the Stamford, CT branch of Dance With Me Studios, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Tony Dovolani, and Val Chmerkovskiy's dance studio.
Wetpaint Entertainment: Congratulations on your win! What was the key to your success this season?
Peta Murgatroyd: Well, predominately football players always do well, because they have their athletic ability, and they have that drive to really want to get that Mirror Ball. So I was pretty lucky in that sense. But also, Donald had a natural ability to move, so I could really work with that, and he wanted to do this so badly.
You also had an athlete last season with Ron Artest, and that didn't work out as well. What was the difference between the experiences?
I think Donald just wanted to be there, and Ron had a lot of other things going on. He's an amazing person, Ron, so sweet to me, but we just needed to put more hours in, and it didn't quite work.
We're glad you got another shot with a different athlete.
It's like a Cinderella story. Rags to riches. First out and then this time a winner.
Your freestyle was amazing. How did you bring that together to be so standout?
I was really just honing in on what Donald would look best doing. But I also wanted him to do something out of his element for people to go Wow, this is crazy. So I thought country number. He's from Dallas so we've got the midwest vote, so why not do something like that? And he's good at hip-hop, he's good at those groovy things, so I put a bit of that in there too, and came up with this song, actually, and it was Cowboy Troy, so it was just an amazing fit.
Is there any chance Donald will want to come back to do the All-Stars season?
I doubt that very much. I think he's definitely going into football mode now, and family time. I've had him for enough time.
Who would you like to see come back for All-Stars?
I would like to see Evan Lysacek. I think he's amazing. And I think — he wasn't robbed when he got second, but I thought that he was just outstanding, and I think he'd be great to come back.
Are you hoping to come back next season and dance with one of the returning stars?
I don't know. We don't find out until a couple of days before. But hopefully. Hopefully! I won it. That puts me in good stead to be asked back.
And what about after All-Stars is over. Who would be your dream celeb partner?
There's a couple that I would love to dance with. Somebody who has rhythm and can maybe put a couple of steps together already. So, like Justin Timberlake, or Kellan Lutz. Somebody that's that hunky sort of hot guy. You know, George Clooney. Or even Michael Jordan, another sports guy.
What is the best and hardest part of being a pro?
I think the best part is the relationship that you create with your partners. Afterwards, hopefully you stay friends and you stay connected. It's this amazing thing because you share this bond for 14 weeks, and then you hopefully continue it afterward. That's the best thing. And the worst thing is how mentally draining this show is. It is absolutely exhausting, and it's non-stop from start to finish. You don't get one day off. I haven't had a day off in that whole time. I'm not joking.
What are you up to during the off season?
I'm working on a few deals at the moment. I have my South Seas Tanning Company that I represent, I'll be doing a lot of stuff with them. And a skin care line that I'm developing, and also hair care lines. So I'm doing a lot. And also dancing still, doing shows with the other pros. A lot of stuff!
For more from Peta, follow her on Twitter @PetaMurgatroyd
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaMartin47.
For more news about Dancing With the Stars, Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter.