Comedian Bill Engvall, who shocked America with his underdog success on this season’s “Dancing with the Stars,” was finally eliminated on Monday night’s show.
But the plucky 56-year-old “Blue Collar” comic held his head high when he spoke to reporters after losing out on a chance at the famed mirror ball trophy.
“I feel wonderful. I’m proud,” Bill said as he stood by his devoted partner, Emma Slater.
"You're not human if you're not looking at the trophy, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little sad but we [still] won. We won so many ways, just to get where we're at and the opportunity to be in the finals.
“I have no regrets at all.”
Bill said of his Monday night freestyle, which had an "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" theme, "That was the most fun dance I ever had-the swing, the rope, and the fighting. If you're going to go out, this was the way to go out."
The comic was classy in defeat, paying tribute to co-stars Corbin Bleu, Amber Riley, and Jack Osbourne, who each scored a perfect 30 on their freestyle routines –while Bill only received 25 from the judges.
“With Jack and Amber and Corbin, it’s going be a hell of a final, to see them do what they do,” he said of Tuesday night’s show.
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Bill surprised the crowd at “DWTS” when he decided to take his shirt off after the routine was done, to show off his “one pack,” as host Tom Bergeron noted.
The funnyman, who has shed 25 pounds while doing the show, told reporters, "If I hadn't lost the weight I wouldn't have done it. I remember watching the video package and saying, 'This is my last dance. I might not win this, but by God, you'll know Bill Engvall was here.' I thought, 'If this thing goes well, I'm doing it. We finished the routine and I grabbed my shirt [to take it off] and I heard [Emma] laughing."
Bill said he was going to try to stay thin by buying an exercise bike. "But the thing that's going to be the hardest is I can't eat whatever I want anymore. I've gotta go back to being a normal person."
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The star felt he proved a lot to naysayers. "[To] all the people that ever wrote bad stuff on Twitter about why we're still here, I go, 'You come try this. This is the hardest thing you'll ever do in your life.' If you can do it you can say whatever you want, but if not, be careful."
But mostly, Bill got an enthusiastic fan response that kept him a contender long after some thought he should go home.
"I have without a doubt the best fans on the planet," he told xfinityTV. "What they've done in voting us here! This has been a great eye opener for me because I think sometimes, I hadn't really realized how many of them there are. To all the ones on Twitter and 'the rioters,' [who said] 'if Bill leaves, we riot,' [I say] it's been overwhelming and I wish I could thank them each individually. And now I'm on to whatever the next project is and hopefully they'll follow me there."
Bill raved about Emma, a first-time full cast member this season, "She never exceeded my physical capabilities. She sees what she's given and she adapts to it."
Emma told reporters the friendship “DWTS” viewers saw was real: “We were even goofier when the cameras were off.”
After the elimination, Bill said he told his wife Gail, who has been in the "DWTS" audience for every episode, "I'm free. She said, 'I know.' I'm looking so forward to spending time with her. I've got a couple of [stand up comedy] dates in Vegas and then we're going to go to Park City [Utah] and we're going to sit and have a glass of wine."
However, Bill will first delight his fans again by performing an exhibition samba during Tuesday night’s grand finale!