Grey lauded partner Hough for his choreography for their finale freestyle to "Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)" that paid homage to "Dirty Dancing."
"He decided to do that song. ... Derek is so smart that way," she said of Hough. "He's insanely talented. ... Can we just talk about that?"
The three couples took to the dance floor for the last time at "GMA," performing special numbers: Palin and Ballas and Massey and Schwimmer danced lively jives, and winners Grey and Hough performed the emotional waltz that Grey dedicated to the late "Dirty Dancing" co-star Patrick Swayze.
At the start of Tuesday night's two-hour finale, Grey revealed that she had to go to the hospital after two perfect scores from the judges in competition Monday night. Despite a severe back injury, she said, she would keep trying to dance for the title.
"I think I left a little bit of my spine on the floor and I ruptured a disk," she said toward the top of the show. "This might be my last two chances to dance on this show with [professional dance partner] Derek Hough. I think I'd better do it."
She did dance two more times. After winning, she added, "I'm really glad I did."
After learning of her win, she embraced Hough, who lifted her off the floor and spun her around. Show host Tom Bergeron warned him to be careful of Grey's back injury.
The winners then hoisted the winners' mirror-ball trophy over their heads as confetti rained down.
With her first dance of the evening, a Viennese waltz, Grey received yet another perfect score from the judges. Ranked against her two competitors, she received three 10s, meaning all the judges considered her dance the best.
Two judges ranked Massey second, earning him a total score of 26, and one ranked Palin second, earning her a 25.
In the second dance, an "instant" cha-cha to music only revealed to the dancers an hour beforehand, Grey and Massey earned combined 28s, while Palin earned a 27.
Combined with Monday night's two dances, that left Grey with a judges' tally of 118, Massey with 110 and Palin with 104.
Despite her last-place scores in all four of her finale dances, Palin wasn't out of the competition.
"Going out there and winning this would mean a lot," Palin said in a taped segment toward the start of Wednesday night's finale. "It would be like a big middle finger to all the people out there that hate my mom and hate me."
Of the three, Grey's probably the only one immediately recognizable for her ability to dance. After all, she shot to fame playing Frances "Baby" Houseman in 1987's "Dirty Dancing" alongside Swayze. She also studied dancing at the Dalton School during her early years in New York City.
But the breakneck pace of "DWTS" took a toll on Grey, 50, aggravating an old neck injury and prompting new knee problems. Still, with pro partner Hough, she scored the season's first perfect score earlier this month.
If Grey hadn't won it all, no one should have expected her to take it lightly. As Swayze famously said of her character in "Dirty Dancing," "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."
The youngest of the lot, Massey, 19, has a huge following among teens and tweens. He's best known for playing Cory Baxter in the Disney Channel sitcom "That's So Raven."