EXCLUSIVE: Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater Talk ‘DWTS’ Win & Training For the NFL While on Tour
After a hard-fought season filled with waltzes and quicksteps, Rashad Jennings and his pro partner, Emma Slater, walked away holding the Dancing With the Stars Mirrorball trophy at the end of Tuesday’s season 24 finale.
The pair stopped to talk to ET’s Cameron Mathison after the show, where they opened up about it means to be crowded DWTS winners.
“I feel amazing!” Jennings exclaimed. “I feel good, truly, to come on the show, never danced in my life, and just keep on grinding and learning how to dance.”
The victory was also a first for Slater, who’s been a DWTS pro for seven seasons, but yet never made it to the finals before now.
According to Jennings, one of the most exciting thing about the victory is getting to watch his partner win.
“I’m her biggest fan, you have no idea!” he explained. “When you talk about the amount of hours we put in, part of that is because I want to see her go far.”
DWTS co-host Erin Andrews announced during the season finale that the 32-year-old running back spent a total of 362 hours in rehearsals with Slater, which is the most of any contestant on the show by far.
“And you know what? We were thinking, ‘We need to rehearse more!’” Slater told ET. “We literally would bring it up our coordinator and say, ‘Hey, I don’t think this is fair, we need more hours [to practice].’ We said that every week!”
Just because the season is over, however, doesn’t mean the pair to going to slow down. In fact, Jennings is joining Dancing With the Stars‘ live tour, Hot Summer Nights, and he’s going to be working harder than ever.
The NFL free agent says he’s going to make sure to keep football as his main priority, even while on tour, and he’s going to be combining his intense football training with the demanding cardio of his dance rehearsals.
“Everywhere [I go on the tour,] I’m going to be training every day, no matter where I’m at,” he said.
“[During the season] we would rehearse for hours and hours a day and now we don’t,” Slated explained. “We just have our show, which is a lot of great cardio, and then in the mornings you have all this time to really put energy into yourself.”
“I’m going to be training harder,” Jennings added.
Jennings and Slater beat out former Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross and his partner, Lindsay Arnold, for the Mirrorball trophy on Tuesday, while fellow finalists Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy came in third. Check out the video below for a look at the exciting finale.