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During tonight's DANCING WITH THE STARS two-hour finale -- which starts at 9 p.m. EST on ABC -- the coveted mirror ball trophy is going to be awarded to Rob Kardashian, Ricki Lake or ALL MY CHILDREN's J.R. Martinez (Brot). While the fan favorite got off to a slow start in last night's competition, Martinez and pro partner Karina Smirnoff rebounded brilliantly in the all-important freestyle dance, earning a perfect score of 30.
"It was a real testament to J.R.'s character when [host Brooke Burke Charvet] asked him after the first dance how he did and he said the judges were right [in their critique]," co-star Vincent Irizarry (David), who was in the audience to cheer on his buddy, told Soaps In Depth at the show. "Most people would say they did well even if they didn't. J.R.'s a warrior."
"He didn't let it get him down," concurs Michael E. Knight (Tad), who was also in the crowd rooting for Martinez, along with Cameron Mathison (Ryan), Darnell Williams (Jesse), Jacob Young (JR; now Rick, THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL), Shannon Kane (Natalia) and Bobbie Eakes (Krystal). "JR nailed the freestyle," Mathison says. "I think it's a slam dunk!" Adds an enthusiastic Eakes, "I'm just his biggest fan. J.R.'s fantastic. He's going to win!"
The war vet-turned-actor was thrilled to have the support of his Pine Valley comrades last night. "It was an amazing feeling to see all the AMC-ers out there in the audience," Martinez says. "It shows that, despite the show being canceled, we all support each other."
But there's still more dancing to be done. Smirnoff explains that on tonight's finale, "each pair has one more dance. Then, the top two couples will learn an 'instant salsa.'"
The other two dance pros who are in the running -- Derek Hough and Cheryl Burke -- have each won the competition before, so Martinez is hoping that he'll win not just for himself but Smirnoff, too. "I'm so grateful for this second chance at life, to be on this show and meet an amazing friend," Martinez says of his dance partner "Whatever happens tonight this has been an amazing journey."
Turning to Martinez, Smirnoff adds with a smile, "You're my mirror ball trophy!"