And the Season 32 winners of “Dancing With the Stars” are… Xochitl Gomez and Val Chmerkovskiy!
The actress and her pro partner took home the Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy Tuesday night, beating out Jason Mraz and Daniella Karagach (second place), Ariana Madix and Pasha Pashkov (third place), Charity Lawson and Artem Chigvintsev (fourth place) and Alyson Hannigan and Sasha Farber (fifth place).
“It hasn’t [sunk in yet]. I don’t think it’s going to sink in until tomorrow!” Gomez exclusively told Page Six in the ballroom after the show, with Chmerkovskiy saying it “feels great” to end the competition with a win.
“It feels like the culmination of a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice,” he added. “I’m just proud that this young lady, so early in her life, was able to prove to herself that when you put your mind to something, and you’re willing to work really hard at it, you can accomplish anything.”
Gomez, 17, had an incredible journey on the dance competition series and reflected on how much she’s grown over the past 11 weeks during our interview. When asked what’s the biggest change she’s seen in herself since premiere night in September, the Marvel star said it was just learning to “embrace” her laughter and be herself.
“I’ve always really been who I am and not really cared about what other people thought, but at this point in my career, there’s just a certain thing that you need, and this show is exactly what I needed,” Gomez, who portrayed heroine America Chavez in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” admitted.
“And just having the support, the family, the friends, and just people caring about me was really nice. It was just something I guess I just didn’t realize, so being here I was like, ‘Wow, like, people care and love me!’ And also just having someone like Val who was really protective and also really kind and thoughtful.”
Their victory marked a historic one for the show, as Gomez and Chmerkovskiy are the recipients of the first-ever “DWTS” trophy renamed in Goodman’s honor. The beloved head judge died in April at the age of 78 following a private battle with bone cancer.
“It’s a huge honor. Len Goodman was a champion of ballroom dance for many years as an ambassador on this show, as an adjudicator,” Chmerkovskiy, 37, explained. “He’s passed on a lot of his wisdom to me and it’s an incredible honor to pass it forward to Xochitl.”
He added that it’s “really fitting” for Gomez to have been the first celebrity to win it as she has introduced a whole new generation of viewers to the show with her legion of young fans on social media. Plus, she’s been a big fan of the show herself for years.
“Truly, through her, I think a lot of kids got a chance to learn about ballroom dance,” Chmerkovskiy said, with Gomez adding, “Just to see [my fans] be so excited about each week … ahh, it just brings me joy!”
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Chmerkovskiy previously won Season 20 with actress Rumer Willis and Season 23 with former Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, while his wife, Jenna Johnson, took home the Season 26 trophy with former Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon.
Ahead of Tuesday’s finale, the pro dancers shared adorable pics of their son Rome posing alongside the trophies via Instagram. Now, their little one will have another accolade to add to his collection.
“Yeah, this is going into Rome’s room,” Chmerkovskiy confirmed. “So that he can wake up and be inspired to win this thing [one day].”
As for Gomez, she plans to keep her trophy safe and in clear sight in her bedroom.
“I have a drawer that’s like right across the room from my bed and it’s going to be right there,” she excitedly told us. “So every time I go to sleep it’s going to be there and [ahhh!].”
And fans won’t have to wait too long to see Gomez back in her dance shoes as she’s officially joining the “Dancing With the Stars Live 2024” tour, which kicks off Jan. 11, 2024, in Richmond, Va.
“I’m so excited!” the “Babysitter’s Club” star gushed. “And I’m so happy that Val and Jenna are going as well, so is little Rome, and maybe I’ll get to have my babysitting journey there.”
Season 32 of “Dancing With the Stars,” which originally aired on ABC and Disney+, is available for streaming on Hulu.