Michael Desmond, ABC
Brittany Cherry and Brandon Armstrong, both 13, have danced together for three years.

The first junior champions on "Dancing With the Stars" are two 13-year-olds from Utah County — Brittany Cherry and Brandon Armstrong.

"Oh my gosh, we are just so excited," Cherry said when their win was announced on Tuesday night's Season 6 finale.

Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi won the "Dancing With the Stars" finale on the popular TV show with a perfect score. She beat pro football star Jason Taylor and broke the string of four consecutive male winners.

Yamaguchi was the first woman to claim the "Dancing" crown since the show's opening season.

The junior champions have been dancing together for more than three years. The first time the nation saw them in the 13-and-younger category, they did a cha-cha and were praised by the judges as being sharp, perfectly stylized and with excellent timing.

In later weeks they did a Latin dance, the paso dobles. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba told them "every line was executed with unbelievable grace." Judge Bruno Tonioli said they had an incredible level of artistry. And judge Len Goodman said some of the other contestants were cute, but these two are "the real deal."

At one point Armstrong told the judges he'd like to dance with one of the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders when he grows up.

Tuesday night, three of those cheerleaders presented him with his award. Armstrong's grin was wide and his braces twinkled as he accepted the prize, saying, "I am so excited right now."

Cherry, of Pleasant Grove, and Armstrong, of Lehi, train at the Vibe Performing Arts Center in Lindon.

Cherry is deaf in one ear, so Armstrong says he's learned to help her feel the beat when they are first learning a number by squeezing her hand.

Their ballroom instructor, Rick Robinson, was in Hollywood with them this week, leaving their jazz dance teacher Kellie Messerly to explain to reporters how the duo happened to be discovered.

Messerly said ABC invited a number of dance studios across the country to submit videotapes of their students. The Vibe teachers turned in videos of all of their students.

At 13, Cherry and Armstrong were among the oldest of the junior contestants.


E-mail: susan@desnews.com