'DWTS' Pro Mark Ballas Brought to Tears by Paige VanZant During Finals: 'I'm So Proud of This Girl'

by Zach Seemayer 7:50 PM PDT, May 23, 2016
Playing 'DWTS' Pro Mark Ballas Brought to Tears by Paige VanZant During Finals: 'I'm So Proud of This Girl'

Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas shined on the first night of the Dancing With the Stars finals on Monday, performing two amazing routines and earning the highest scores of the night.

After scoring a 29 out of 30 in the first round for their redemption dance -- a fast-paced salsa set to Pitbull's "Fireball" -- the duo returned in the second round for an even more amazing routine, where they were accompanied by someone near and dear to Ballas' heart.

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The couple's second performance of the night was a freestyle dance set to "Over the Rainbow," which was sung live by Ballas' fiancé, BC Jean.

The soulful performance was a departure from the large-scale, showy routines Ballas is famous for, featuring just the two dance partners intimately locked in a powerful display of physical artistry, which resonated with the judges.

Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli -- who called the low-key, passionate number "a triumph" -- were brought to tears, as was Ballas himself, while Inaba complimented VanZant for having "grown in this beautiful way."

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"It's a really special moment. I've been on this show now 18 seasons in a row, and I'm so proud of this girl for how far she's come," Ballas said, choking back tears. "She's completely opened up from when I saw her the first day, she's completely changed."

"I'm not really a crier," Ballas added, unable to contain his emotions. "I don't know what's happening to me right now. I'm so grateful to be here, thank you for voting for us."

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After the show, Ballas and VanZant stopped to talk with ET's Cameron Mathison, and the 29-year-old DWTS vet opened up about his emotional reaction to their performance.

"Paige and I were moving as one," Ballas explained. "The dance and how excellent she executed it, having my beautiful fiancee sing for us, the song, the rendition. All the right things happened at once and I just got a bit choked up."

The second dance earned the dynamic duo a perfect score, bringing their combined total to 59 -- the highest of the evening. However, fans will have to wait until tomorrow's season 22 finale to see if the 22-year-old fighter takes home the mirror ball trophy.

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