(NEW YORK) — After season 15 of Dancing with the Stars came to a close Tuesday night with reality star Melissa Rycroft being crowned the winner, all the stars traveled from Los Angeles overnight to join ABC’s Good Morning America in Times Square Wednesday morning for an All-Stars After Party.
The all-female finalists and their partners, Melissa Rycroft, Tony Dovolani, Derek Hough, Shawn Johnson, Val Chmerkovskiy and Kelly Monaco gave GMA the inside scoop on everything that really went on behind the scenes as the ballroom battle heated up.
And as to be expected, first-time champ Rycroft was emotional while discussing her win, in what may have been the biggest Dancing upset ever.
“It’s unreal,” Rycroft said on GMA. “This whole season, I think Tony and I underestimated ourselves and thought we were underdogs. It’s totally unexpected and such a surprise.”
On Tuesday night’s Dancing finale, Rycroft said she was too excited to be nervous. She agreed with Lara Spencer that having that mentality was what helped her just enjoy the ride.
“I think feeling like we didn’t have anything to prove meant that you go could out and not be nervous and leave it all on the dance floor. And if you’ve made yourself happy, leave it at that. And I think that just gave us the ability to go out with confidence,” Rycroft explained.
Her partner, Tony Dovolani, said their win couldn’t have come at a better time, as it was already a very emotional day for him and his family.
“I have to tell you, it couldn’t have come at a better day,” Dovolani said. “It was my wife’s and I anniversary, 13 years. It was pretty great. And it was an amazing moment for all the Albanians in America because it’s 100 years anniversary. So it’s unreal. But I’m so pleased and grateful to Melissa because she not only affected me, but the entire family.”
Rycroft’s husband, Tye Strickland, surprised her with a special video he had recorded with their daughter in Dallas congratulating her on all her Dancing success.
“Baby, we couldn’t be more proud of you,” Strickland said on the video. “You are so awesome. You never cease to amaze me. I knew you could do it all along. You’re the biggest blessing in both of our lives. And God is good and we’re so proud to get you back to Dallas. And we really need you back because Ava needs her mama.”
Rycroft smiled and said her family was the biggest support system she had all season.
But Rycroft wasn’t the only finalist that had a special support system throughout the season. Shawn Johnson discussed how much she appreciated her fellow “Fierce 5″ Olympic gymnasts joining her on the show.
“Getting to have my girls be a part of the finale to wrap up this whole journey meant the world to me, especially with everything that they’ve gone through,” Johnson said. “Going to London and the success that they’ve had, for them to take the time to come back and support me, it was pretty cool. I just loved it.”
“It was an All Star season,” Johnson’s partner, Derek Hough, said. “It was season 15. It was just about entertaining all the people. And entertaining the fans and pushing it. As far as performances go, I’m so proud of what we accomplished. I could look back at every single performance and say we’re absolutely content and proud of what we did. I’m really proud of this girl right here. She was sensational.”
And as for the question on everyone’s mind about whether or not Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy are heating things up behind-the-scenes as much as they did on the dance floor, the rumored couple decided to keep quiet and deflect questions regarding their dating status.
Monaco is sticking to the story that they’re just friends, but did eventually admit “I really like my friend.”
Although she didn’t win, Monaco said she feels the season was a success thanks to the help of her professional partner.
“Just being in the finale with these two amazingly talented women was a success in itself,” Monaco said. “Val taught me the fundamentals of dance. I felt like I could go out there at any time and shake a tail feather.”
In addition to spilling their thoughts on the season, the three All-Star teams played a “Two to Tango Gameshow” where the GMA anchors tested their knowledge on how well the partners actually knew each other.
It may not come as a surprise that Chmerkovskiy and Monaco won the challenge with their correct response to the question, “What is the craziest place you’ve rehearsed a routine?”
“You’re getting a little personal now,” Monaco joked, since “Pool on roof” was the winning answer.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Daniel Woodruff, KUTV
Kayla Nelson, Idaho State University Marketing and Communication