The 46-year-old “Just a Dream” rapper and pro Daniella Karagach landed in third place during the live season finale of DWTS on Monday, November 23, behind runners-up Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson and champions Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev. When asked about the possibility of returning to the ballroom for redemption one day, Nelly admitted he had his reservations.
“I don’t know. I got a sour taste on that one,” he told Us Weekly and other reporters after the final episode. “I don’t think I have the experience to be up against people who study this. That’s a lot of hard work. This is mentally draining. [I’m] mentally drained, physically drained. This is tough.”
The Texas native noted that “people don’t understand” the full extent of the challenges celebrity competitors face on the ABC reality series, especially those with no previous dance training.
“You’re learning something new on the fly, you’re on national television. You’re putting yourself out there,” he said on Monday. “This is tough. Unless you know what you’re going through, it’s a hell of an experience, man. I’m just lucky to have [Daniella] beside me to hold my hand, but for a lot of people, this is tough.”
Though he thought the end result was “a little disappointing,” Nelly was proud that he and Karagach, 28, were able to make it so close to the mirrorball trophy as the “underdogs” of DWTS. However, the “Hot in Here” rapper couldn’t help but let his competitive nature take over.
“‘Two is not a winner and three nobody remembers,’ man,” he teased, quoting lyrics from his song “Number One,” which was released in 2001. “That’s how I see life, bro. I’m a competitor. There’s no difference between me and who left two [or] three weeks ago except we worked harder and longer, you know what I’m saying? We had a great experience … but I like to win.”
Competing on DWTS proved to be a big learning curve for the Grammy winner — and his hard work paid off in more ways than one. In October, Nelly revealed that the hours of long rehearsals had led to some major physical changes.
“I’ve probably lost a good maybe 10, 11 pounds,” he told Us at the time. “You’re twisting and you’re turning and you’re hurting in new places that you never thought but it’s cool. It’s a lot of cardio!”