updated 05/01/2012 AT 5:15 PM ET
•originally published 05/01/2012 AT 11:55 AM ET
But after their perfect-30 point finish Monday night, the Extra host, who started the season off injured, wasn’t talking about winning.
“It’s one of those moments in life you’re going to be like, ‘Wow, where I came from and where I’ve gotten to and everything I’ve gone through to get here,’ ” she told PEOPLE after the pair’s victorious vampire-themed paso doble. “It’s the most incredible feeling in the world.”
Hough says he usually doesn’t like to talk about scores before they take the stage. “I don’t want to put that pressure on her,” he said.
But even if the pressure is on, fellow competitors were full of compliments for Menounos’s dark dance-floor reign.
“I called it in dress rehearsal today,” Mark Ballas said.
Added his partner Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins: “If anyone deserved it, it was her.”