Country singer Wynonna Judd, the first contestant to be eliminated from season 16 of "Dancing With The Stars," says she had the time of her life and also faced one of her biggest fears by competing on the ABC show and is happy to be returning to her life on the farm -- and on the concert stage.
She and partner Tony Dovolani were voted off on Tuesday, April 2, after earning the lowest scores for their weekly performance the day before. Olympic figure skating champion Dorothy Hamill withdrew from the competition last week. On the results show, which also featured performances from pop star Demi Lovato and pop rock group Huey Lewis & the News, eleven couples faced elimination.
"I was watching Huey tonight and I thought to myself, you know, I appreciate country music and my fans even more," Wynonna, 48, told OTRC.com's George Pennacchio, also of parent company KABC Television. "I miss the stage and I miss the smell of diesel and I miss truck stops and I miss the farm. I really do."
"I've loved every minute of doing this and I know that this is not where I belong -- I knew that coming into it," she added. "I didn't know how fabulous this one [Tony] was going to be as a teacher. He's changed my life. But you know what? For all those people out there who've never done something they're afraid of, I faced one of my biggest fears."
Dovolani said he "loved" Wynonna within the first 30 seconds of meeting her, adding: "She knew this was going to be a challenge but we knew were going to have a good time the way, trying, and that's exactly what we did. And we developed a friendship ... probably for the first time, I can 100 percent guarantee that we're going to remain as friends for a long time."
Wynonna said she's "learned a lot" from her time on "Dancing With The Stars" and received an emotional sendoff from fellow contestant Andy Dick, who also faced potential elimination on Tuesday.
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger"
"They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," Wynonna told OTRC.com. "I've failed and succeeded so many times in 30 years. I'm used to being completely flattened, kicked, and I keep getting back up. They say it's a journey, not a destination. I don't know what God has in store for me next but it'd better be fabulous, because I'm ready to face my next fear. I really am."
"Listen, I've done it, I tried it, Tony's my best friend. We have so much to be grateful for," she said. "I'm sad. I mean, Andy [Dick] hugged me like he was losing his sister or something, it was fabulous. The goodbye was the best goodbye I've ever had in my life."
Wynonna, a native of Kentucky who lives on a farm near Nashville, rose to fame as a member of The Judds, a duo she formed with her mother Naomi. They have sold more than 10 million albums. Wynonna has also sold at least 7.5 million solo albums. She was raised by her mother and stepfather and as a child, lived with them and half-sister Ashley Judd, who is now an actress.
Wynonna has faced many personal struggles, as revealed in her 2005 memoir "Coming Home to Myself." Wynonna wrote that she "was physically and emotionally violated several times" during her childhood, adding that she has forgiven her abusers, who were not members of her immediate family.
Wynonna has also struggled with her weight and with food addiction for years and at age 40, enlisted the help of Oprah Winfrey, who has battled similar issues.
Wynonna told OTRC.com on Monday, after she and Dovolani received the lowest scores of the night for their dance: "Tonight, before I go to bed, I will say my affirmations are, 'I'm more than a number on a scale, I'm more than a number on a chart and I'm more than a number that the judges gave me' and that's all I can do."
Wynonna has been married three times and has two children. In June 2012, she married her third husband, Mchael "Cactus" Moser, who was a drummer in her band. He suffered a motorcycle accident the following August and had to have one of his legs amputated following a motorcycle accident in August. Judd told OTRC.com on Monday night that he recently received a prosthetic leg.
After Tuesday's elimination, fellow country singer and "American Idol" alum Kellie Pickler, a frontrunner who received the highest scores for her and Derek Hough's dance on Monday, praised Wynonna.
"I love Wynonna," Pickler told OTRC.com. "I mean, she's a legend. So this is just the beginning of another record for her and she's going to be just fine."
The list of 10 remaining "Dancing With The Stars" couples is as follows:
- 1. Kellie Pickler and partner Derek Hough
2. Andy Dick and partner Sharna Burgess
3. D.L. Hughley and partner Cheryl Burke
4. Lisa Vanderpump and partner Gleb Savchenko
5. Victor Ortiz and partner Lindsay Arnold
6. Zendaya Coleman and partner Val Chmerkovskiy
7. Ingo Rademacher and partner Kym Johnson
8. Aly Raisman and partner Mark Ballas
9. Jacoby Jones and partner Karina Smirnoff
10. Sean Lowe and partner Peta Murgatroyd
Who do you think will win "Dancing With The Stars"? Who do you think will be eliminated next? Vote in our poll below.