A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints won the Mirror Ball on “Dancing with the Stars” on Tuesday but it wasn’t Lindsey Stirling. It was an inevitable that a Mormon win as all three female contestants remaining on the show, two professionals, Witney Carson and Lindsay Arnold, and Stirling are all LDS. But ultimately, Arnold and her partner, Jordan Fisher, were the victors of the show’s 25th season.
Stirling finished in second place on the 25th season of “Dancing with the Stars” on Tuesday night. She will now return to her day job of touring the world as a dancing violinist but now, she will finally have had the dance lessons she always dreamed of having.
Prior to her first performance on Tuesday’s finale, a video told Stirling’s story.
“I begged my parents for not only violin lessons but dance lessons and they couldn’t afford both but they made a lot of sacrifices so that they could give me one and I chose the violin,” Stirling said of her beginnings as a violinist.
By the time Stirling began college, she realized she didn’t love violin anymore. She was “burnt out” and became depressed. The depression included a battle with anorexia.
“I just became so isolated because I pushed out everything that was important just so I could try to disappear,” Stirling said. “It was the darkest time of my life. ...I would look in the mirror and just think how much I hated myself. I had to go back to my faith and remember that I believed there is a God that loved me and above anything else, I have worth.”
Stirling returned to music and eventually found her way onto “America’s Got Talent” where she was told she wouldn’t succeed. “I don't think what you're doing right now is enough to fill a theater in Vegas,” judge Sharon Osbourne told her.
“Everyone kept telling me, ‘It’s too different.’” But Stirling began to publish videos on a platform that was gaining popularity: YouTube. Today, she sells out arenas throughout the world.
“The very reason people said I would never succeed is the very reason people come to my shows,” Stirling said. “It’s so different.”
Stirling and her partner, Mark Ballas, performed two dances on Tuesday’s show. One was a repeat performance of a Jive they staged earlier in the season to “Jitterbug," the other was a fusion number, combining the stylings of Tango and Cha Cha. They received perfect scores on both dances and nothing but praise from the show’s judges.
“You are so special because you have a star quality that is so unlike any star quality I’ve ever seen. It’s not the obvious star quality that we’re always looking for,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said following the couple’s first dance. “There’s something so pure and beautiful and you draw us in so intimately and you have become such a brilliant dancer.”
“You are a wonderful performer, not only with the ‘ole fiddle but with your feet as well,” judge Bruno Tonioli said.
During the episode, Stirling also performed her new Christmas song, “Christmas C’mon” with Becky G.
In typical Stirling fashion, she repeatedly expressed gratitude for the experience.
“This experience has been incredible,” she said. “I’ve just had so many moments on this show where I’ve been filled with so much gratitude.”
Video footage behind-the-scenes of Monday’s episode showed Stirling encouraging her fellow contestants and wishing them well.
“I want everyone to kill it tonight,” she was shown telling her fellow competitors. “This is going to be our best performance ever.”
Ultimately, her experience on the reality TV show was the fulfillment of a lifelong desire.
“That little girl that begged for violin lessons and dance lessons, this show has helped the two come together. That’s a dream come true,” she said.