In a final glittery turn in an already twist-filled season, the winners of the “Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars” season were the only couple in the finale who had yet to win a Mirrorball trophy: Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani!
“Magnificent” Melissa, the injury-prone former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader with a glow-in-the-dark smile, knew what it felt like to lose (she and Tony came in third in Season 8), and now she knows what it feels like to win. Certainly no champions could boast whiter teeth. And now they have a new blinged-out all-star Mirrorball to match the shininess!
Really, it was like a dream season for the erstwhile Bachelorette and the Albanian stallion. They just kept getting stronger with each week and their judges’ scores and viewer votes vaulted them over fellow finalists Shawn “Giggles” Johnson and Derek Hough in the end. Are-they-or-aren’t-they Kelly “Princess of” Monaco and Valentin Chmerkovskiy came in third and left viewers wondering if their showmance was real (“They did,” said Kenny Mayne. “Oh, they definitely did,” affirmed Jerry Rice during DanceCenter). But really, it was congratulations to all for a gripping finale and for crowning a worthy champion couple in the end.
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I knew Tony (who has been toiling tirelessly for 14 seasons like a champ, and very much deserves this trophy) and Melissa were going to win mid-way through this program because Tony clearly bested Derek in the rock-paper-scissors that they played right before going to commercial.
The judges’ scores were close in the end, with each of the three remaining couples doing one last instant dance for judges’ points. Kelly and Val went first with their “Cat & Mouse” jive, which got a 28.5 (two-day total: 87.5 out of 90). Melissa and Tony performed their “Life Is a Highway” samba next and also earned a 28.5 (two-day total: 88.5). And then Shawn and Derek brought the house down (including special audience guest member Julianne Hough) with their perfect 30 “Respect” cha cha — with a signature Derek crotch bob added, just for kicks (two-day total: 87).
But this season finale wasn’t just about crowning a champion, but celebrating a season. Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas retook the floor in lots of shimmying and fringe. Pamela Anderson brought a season’s worth of hair extensions, thigh-high stockings and raunch dressing in her va-va-voom routine with Tristan MacManus and a harem of other hunky guys. This could have been an omitted number from “Showgirls.” “Usually when you see something like that there’s a two-drink minimum,” Tom quipped. Brazilian Helio Castroneves and his lost-in-translation partner Chelsie Hightower did an “Americano” routine that was very much like them: charming and international, with lots of hairography to go with that fringe.
Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya came back to the ballroom, this time with Drew’s adorable daughter Isabella in tow. “It’s going to be the best dance ever,” Isabella said. “I get to finally dance with my daddy in front of a thousand people.” (Cue the ABC execs fainting at that ratings number.) And the resulting routine was a “Crazy in Love” treat with an enormous Beyonce-style fan, Anna in fringe and Drew in a sleeveless hoodie and vest. Isabella worked the crowd like a pro, and the whole number erupted into fireworks at the end.
And then Team Call Me Maybe performed, with Drew and Anna and Helio and Chelsie filling in for Melissa and Tony and Shawn and Derek. Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy did their “Part of Me” routine, while Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd trotted out their crowd-pleasing Bollywood number. And then Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff waltzed, and Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke showed off their swagger to “Chain of Fools.”
Ah, no “DWTS” season would be complete without DanceCenter. Yes, it goes on a little too long, goes overboard on the decals and can be very cheesy. But guess what? So is this show! I happen to love the droll Kenny Mayne (dressed in a powder blue tux — sans dress shirt, of course) and his face decals spouting his bon mots alongside a goofy Jerry Rice and straight man Len Goodman. Sure, sometimes I like the promos more than the show itself (maybe it’s better in small, smart doses). But calling out Emmitt Smith’s love of neon (“That looks like a highway reflector”), describing Helio’s movements as “Chelsie Hightower, restless leg syndrome, whatever” and dubbing Shawn’s maniacal giggles “a weird hybrid of a Batman villain and Chip and Dale”? Priceless.