Nov. 26, 2013 at 12:23 PM ET
Apparently, nice guys finish not first, but fourth on "Dancing With the Stars."
"I feel wonderful," funnyman Bill Engvall told reporters after getting booted in part one of the season finale Monday. “I’m proud. Like (pro partner) Emma (Slater) said, ‘When you get this close, you’re not human if you’re not looking at the mirror ball trophy.’ But we won. We won in so many ways.”
This season, Engvall defied the odds each week by surviving round after round while couples with higher scores were eliminated. But his good-natured spirit, well-intentioned efforts and a big fan base got him to the finals, where he performed an Indiana Jones-inspired freestyle dance.
“That was the most fun dance I ever had,” Engvall told TODAY. “Emma put the whole thing together with the swing, the rope and the mirror-ball boulder. If you’re going to go out, this was the way go — with a fun dance.”
How much was the endearing paternal-type relationship Engvall had with freshman pro dancer Slater responsible for his lengthy run on the show?
“I’d say 100 percent,” Engvall affirmed. “I said to Emma (on Monday night), ‘I’ve been meaning to tell you this, but you could have been put with a better dancer.’ But she took what she had and made it work. You’re going to see her in the finals a lot.”
“I feel like our relationship was particularly special to a lot of relationships I’d seen on the show,” offered Slater. “It wasn’t the type that you had to cover up and act nice for the cameras. In fact, we were even goofier when the cameras were off. I like to think that transcended.”
With Jack Osbourne, Corbin Bleu and Amber Riley still in contention for the coveted mirror-ball trophy, who do Engvall and Slater think will be victorious?
“They all deserve to win,” Engvall said. “With Jack, Corbin and Amber it’s going to be a hell of a final!”
“Honorable mention should go to Jack,” said Slater. “While he may not be the best dancer, he’s the one who’s made the most improvement. He came in as a non-dancer and now he’s a very good dancer. Jack’s really doing a good job and he’s improved a lot.”
Though their time competing is done, Engvall and Slater aren’t hanging up their dancing shoes just yet. They, along with all the other eliminated season 17 duos, will return for one final dance in Tuesday's finale.
“We have to dance for 54 seconds,” revealed Engvall, who said his last performance will be an extension of the samba he did on Monday night’s show. “That was 30 seconds so we have to learn 24 more seconds!”
The "Dancing With the Stars" finale airs at 9 p.m. Tuesday on ABC.