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October 22, 2014

'Dancing With the Stars' Season 13: The Winner of the Crystal Ball Is ...

by Crystal Bell, posted Nov 23rd 2011 9:00AM
J.R. Martinez may have been crowned the 'Dancing With the Stars' Season 13 champion and walked away with the coveted Mirror Ball trophy, but only one star took home the newly christened Crystal Ball.

That's right -- AOL TV had it's very own award to dish out to one very lucky star.

Unlike the Mirror Ball, the Crystal Ball doesn't go to the most skilled dancer or even the star with the most likeable personality. Instead, it went to the person who I believe rose to the challenge week after week and, in the end, walked away from the experience somewhat transformed.

So who took home the incredibly shiny Crystal Ball? The answer may surprise you ...

In the end, I couldn't think of one person who deserved this award more than Nancy Grace, the tough-as-nails HLN host and former prosecutor, who not only rose to the physical challenge of 'Dancing With the Stars,' but showed an entirely different side of herself -- a softer, more gracious side. I mean, she cried more than once when the judges' praised her footwork and "razzmatazz."

As far as her dancing ability ... yes, I know, she wasn't the best, and she obviously had a strong following to help keep her in the competition, but she never gave up, and she never lost her fight, unlike some of the other contestants. She took the highs (a graceful foxtrot) and the lows (a disastrously devilish jive) like a pro, often contributing to some of the more hysterical moments of the season.

It was her fight and determination -- and her comedic chemistry with pro partner Tristan MacManus -- that made me kind of root for her from Week 1.

And the best part? She did it for her four-year-old twins, to show them that their mom is a fighter. You have to admire a woman who never gives up, despite the odds.

I admire her for getting outside her comfort zone and competing on the show. In fact, I admire all of the stars for doing that. It's a tremendously taxing physical and emotional journey, especially for someone who has to balance dance rehearsals with a full-time job and mommy duty.

AOL TV was in the 'Dancing With the Stars' ballroom for Tuesday night's finale to present Nancy Grace with her Crystal Ball in person. Luckily for us, she accepted her award for Outstanding Achievement in Ballroom Cartwheels with a smile.

"I'll cherish it forever," Grace said. "I'm gonna pass this one down to my kids!" Well, it only seems fair that one of her twins would eventually get the Crystal Ball. After all, they did help their mom nail her fancy cartwheel during Week 8.

"My kids cheered me on with the cartwheels. We practiced in the hallway many a time." Of course, Tristan deserves a little credit, too. "We had so much fun. I owe all my success and this trophy for cartwheels to Tristan."

Did I mention that Nancy managed to lose more than 25 pounds while on the show? That deserves it's own very special award, too.

Congrats, Nancy, for a season well danced! We can't wait to find out what kind of place of honor that trophy gets on your mantle.

Do you agree with our decision to award Nancy Grace with the Crystal Ball? Let us know in the comments!

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