Season 22 of "Dancing with the Stars" came to an end on Tuesday night with deaf model Nyle DiMarco winning the Mirror Ball Trophy. It has been a challenging journey for DiMarco, as the biggest hurdle for him was his inability to feel music. But his dancing partner Peta Murgatroyd has been a source of great inspiration and support.
"The first week that we worked together, she was already starting to learn my language and my culture," DiMarco told Entertainment Tonight. "She was very curious. She did the right thing right out of the chute. It really was about learning about each other's worlds and I think that message was really strong."
On his Instagram page, the deaf model also praised Murgatroyd for helping him learn a new medium of communication. "Peta Jane Murgatroyd, thank you is an understatement. There are so many things I want to express gratitude, but thank you for embracing the journey with me. Thank you for helping me tell my story through dancing: What it really means to be Deaf. Thank you for inspiring millions of [Deaf] lives with me," he wrote.
Tuesday's finale saw DiMarco and Murgatroyd performing a cha cha/tango fusion dance during that earned him a perfect score and left many of the audience in tears. During her feedback, judge Carrie Ann Inaba said it was a beautiful way to end the season and even thanked him using sign language.
"She said 'Thank you,' for sharing what's in my heart, and that's what really touched me because that's my goal every week," DiMarco explained to ET. "I really want to connect with the audience and teach them what it really means to be deaf."
Besides the performances from the finalists, the finale episode also saw special guests such as Fifth Harmony, Pitbull, Fleur East, Dan & Shay, and Aloe Blacc taking the stage to entertain the audience.
Season 23 of "Dancing with the Stars" will return to ABC in fall.