Amber Riley (from “Glee”) Becomes The Seventeenth Season Winner of “Dancing With The Stars”
I can take or leave Dancing with the Stars; I’ve watched a few times when shows that I wanted to see were starting later in the evening, and nothing else was on. I’ve also watched a few times when people you’d never think would be chosen as contestants were showcased, like B-listers Wendy Williams, Chaz Bono, Kirstie Alley, Hines Ward, Valerie Harper and Kristi Yamaguchi.
But big girl Amber Riley—her character Mercedes Jones having graduated from McKinley High School in June and being relegated to a recurring guest starring role on Glee—can dance as well as she can sing. Along with five-time, undefeated champ Derek Hough (pronounced huff), this light-footed lass has conquered the dance floor on DWTS. She’s definitely not an amateur, but a pro. A professional dancer. A natural. Not a step astray. As good as he is, Hough had nothing to do with her performance, other than be her partner—and equal. She may have big thighs, but she’s vigorous, and Amber can work and work hard. Even through the pain of knee problems.
Even her battered knees couldn’t stop her from waltzing away with the trophy. Amber Riley and her pro partner, Derek Hough, beat out Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff to win Season 17 of Dancing With the Stars Tuesday night. “I definitely feel beaten down right now,” Riley says with a laugh. The Glee star, 27, who has been plagued with knee injuries all season, is looking forward to giving her whole body a rest – probably in Hawaii. “I’ve always wanted to go there,” she says.
But not before taking her victory lap in Los Angeles and New York with the Mirror Ball trophy. “There were times when I could’ve quit,” she says. “I could’ve come back from the doctor’s office and said, ‘This is what he said that it is.’ But I tried to find every solution that I could. I had needles in my knees [painkillers] about four times, I got them drained and lubricated. Because I really just wanted to stick with this to the end. I’ve always considered myself a strong person, but this was a different kind of strength. This was the type of strength where I had every single reason to quit, but I didn’t.”
“When I first started, I just didn’t think there was any way that I could win. It wasn’t a thought for me. It was just like, ‘Go and do your best, do your best,’ ” she said on the confetti-strewn ballroom floor after Tuesday’s finale. “With every week, I kind of wanted it a little bit more and toward the end, I was just like, ‘Man, it’s actually possible. I’m in the finals.’ Getting through to the end was a reward in itself, but the trophy was the cherry on top.”
Riley used people’s encouragement “as fuel. I felt like, ‘All that you went through to get these knees OK, all the needles you’ve had to have in your knees, all the pain that you feel after you dance very time, you’re obviously going through that because you want it.’ “
Well, obviously, Riley wanted it and got it. She moved from strength to strength through many obstacles. I hope that this adds a big goose to her efforts to be taken seriously as an actress, singer and even dancer—in short, an all-round entertainer. Let’s hope the entertainment industry takes full advantage of this opportunity to showcase her skills once more in a new vehicle, be it drama or musical. That’s supposed to be the usual end result of such appearances: phone calls and talks leading to roles and salaries. The girl is good.
- Amber Riley Wins ‘Dancing with the Stars’ (essence.com)
- DWTS winner Amber Riley almost quit the show (contactmusic.com)
- Did Amber Riley Expect Her Emotional Reaction to Last Night’s DWTS Freestyle? (okmagazine.com)
- ‘Glee’s’ Amber Riley wins ‘Dancing with the Stars’ (rollingout.com)
- Glee’s Amber Riley Crowned Dancing Queen (popwrapped.wordpress.com)
- Amber Riley Celebrates ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Win on ‘GMA’! (getmybuzzup.com)