Alan Bersten from Dancing With the Stars says winner Hannah Brown is a female version of himself. Bersten and Brown have proven to be kindred spirits through season 28, lifting each other up and providing much-needed emotional support during the competition.
From the moment their partnership was announced, it was apparent that these two had a lot in common. Their physical appearances alone are similar: both are smiley and approachable. Both have a goofy streak that has been demonstrated on their respective shows. It wasn't until their partnership got underway, however, that viewers could see how their similarities would manifest into glory. Throughout the season, Brown was plagued with nearly crippling low self esteem, stemming from her days as a beauty queen. Bersten toiled to make her see herself in a better light. He even worked a lot of her issues into their choreography each week.
"I feel like I’m dancing with the female version of me!" Bersten said on a November 21 blog post for ET. "So I just want Hannah to know that she is so incredible and I’m so proud of her!" Perhaps it was that ease that led this pro and his celebrity partner to a victory and the coveted Mirror Ball trophy.
On the November 25 finale, all eyes were on contestant Ally Brooke as she shimmied her way into perfect 10s during her first dance. It looked like she was a lock to take the win away from the odds-on favorite Lauren Alaina. Then, ABC ran a promo for the upcoming season of The Bachelor starring Peter Weber. Suddenly, Brown showed up in the trailer, crashing the opening night introductions and asking the handsome pilot for a second chance to win his heart. That's when it became evident that Brown's 15 minutes of fame were anything but done. Finally, when the judges bestowed three 10s for Brown and Bersten's freestyle (despite a tiny stumble in the middle), the writing was on the wall. Bersten's choreography played on Brown's signature mix of awkward sexiness. He incorporated booty shakes and girl-power brand messaging to carry her to victory. With so much common ground between two, Bersten was able to channel the reality star with excellent accuracy.
Bersten found in Brown a new bestie on the show, as well as in life. During the finale, the two spoke about their disappointment in not getting to see each other regularly once the competition wraps. There seemed to be a genuine sadness there. All through the season, this pair lifted each other up and refused to let setbacks get the better of them. Here's hoping that when they say they'll maintain their friendship - now that Brown has been crowned the winner of Dancing with the Stars season 28 - they mean it.