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TV Column
Posted at 05:35 AM ET, 05/25/2011

‘Dancing With the Stars’ 2011: Hines Ward wins


Hines Ward and Kym Johnson. (Adam Taylor - ABC)

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward claims the hideous Mirror Ball Trophy as winner of the 12th season on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” Tuesday night.

Hines may have lost the Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers back in February, but he can take comfort in having defeated actress/professional dieter Kirstie Alley on the penultimate night of the May 2011 TV sweep.

Photo Gallery: “Dancing With the Stars”

Kirstie went into the night’s results show five points behind Hines and Disney princess Chelsea Kane.

Chelsea wound up finishing third because, while she was the season’s best and most consistent dancer – the other two competitors, duh, were Kirstie Alley and Hines Ward. And that’s how it rolls when you let viewers/fans do 50 percent of the deciding. Plus, Chelsea needed more lift in her back story. She and Mark should have practiced their sprains. They should have gone to the hospital, even just to visit a friend.

All three finalists earned perfect scores from the show’s three judges Tuesday when they re-performed their fave dance from the season.

Chelsea and Mark Ballas chose their Wizard Waltz that had judge Len Goodman’s knickers in such a bunch when first they performed it.

Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy chose the cha cha cha she did the first week of the show because she wanted “to show fans that the dress is half the size it was in week one.” It was her first perfect score of the season.

And Hines and Kym Johnson re-did the Samba to Mama he’d done very early in the 10-week competition.

Like all results nights, this very last results show of the season was padded – this time to a whopping two hours – with musical guests, clips from the season, and the return of the Not Mirror Ball Worthy eliminees.

The Black-Eyed Peas took the stage to sing their latest hit “Don’t Stop the Party” which sounded for all the world like YouTube phenom/nightmare “Friday.” Well, who knows where great ideas come from? The Peas do their patented step, The Running in Place Pea, and don’t attempt any lifts.

First eliminee Mike Catherwood auditioned for the DWTS troupe in a taped comedy bit, in which we learned that the DWTS casting directors are all hot models. Then it was live dance to “You’re Unbelievable” with Mike and some of the DWTS pro dancer women. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt: he’s out of shape.

Supermodel Petra Nemcova came back to reprised the waltz she’d done this season to “You Raise Me Up” when, suddenly, Josh Groban came out on stage to sing the tune live -- hot off his appearance on the first night of the two-day “Surprise Oprah!” palooza.

Eliminee Chris Jericho did a spot-on imitation of judge Bruno Tonioli, ending in a clinch on the desk with Bruno, for which judge Carrie Ann Inaba awarded Chris a perfect 10 score.

Kirstie’s dance partner Max and the DWTS ladies danced while the Go-Go’s sang “We Got the Beat.” The dance told the story of a cop, played by Max, who runs into these four street walkers. Naturally, they relieve him of his shirt, his hatm and his nightstick, after which a four-way dance erupts. The Gos have put on a few years and look like high school music teachers, but they’re still rockin’.

Romeo and his partner Chelsie Hightower danced to “Greatest Love of All” while a chorus of adorable white robed kiddies sang. Romeo did some lifts to emphasize the uplifiting nature of it all. Then he ended his wrap-up conversation with Celebriquarium hostess Brooke by noting that “the world didn’t end” as some had expected it to last weekend, so everyone should hit him up on Twitter.

And Sarah Evans, the country singer and former “Dancing” competitor who famously dropped out to divorce her GOP operative husband over interesting pictures she claimed she’d found on the family computer, sang “A Little Bit Stronger” right before the results were announced.

Hines – a crowd fave, who was also much loved by the show’s three judges — had outmaneuvered the two women on Monday, when he played his long-held NFL Card. Hines went with football game halftime entertainment theme for his freestyle dance; he was decked out in a band uniform of Steelers black and gold with a big “S” on his chest and break away sleeves, while Kym dressed up as a gold lame cheerleader. They don’t call Hines the silent assassin for nothing.

This 12th edition of “Dancing” – forecast by the press to be a dud – will wind up the franchise’s most watched edition ever. Through last week, the dance competition was averaging about 21 million viewers, factoring in both the Monday performance shows and the Tuesday results shows.

That’s about a million more people than watched last fall’s much ballyhooed edition, aka The Bristol Palin Season, when all the blah, blah, blah was about how casting the daughter of a polarizing political figure was such a coup for the show because it brought into the fold a whole new, very motivated Tea Party voting bloc.

(Palin’s mom, Sarah, who sat in the audience many weeks during her daughter’s season on the show, got one last close-up out of “Dancing” Tuesday night, when the camera found her in the audience for Hines’ win.)

The show’s exec producer had said he’d love to get another polarizing political figure for this edition of the show, but when that failed to happen and this season’s politico-free celebrity lineup was announced, it was to the everlasting disappointment of the media.

Yahoo, for instance, pronounced this season’s lineup a “stumble” for the show, saying the names of this year’s lineup had been revealed, “to, let’s say, an underwhelmed public.” And, by “public” Yahoo meant “the press,” citing lousy reviews of the new celeb competitors, in the New York Times and Movieline.

Turns out, Palin did add new viewers to the show, but cost it others, who crawled back out from their bunkers, cautiously, when they got word that former Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell, who’d announced she had been approached by “Dancing” producers, would not be joining the show this season after all.

But, just because there was no polarizing political figure, don’t think this season lacked drama. This season had drama seeping from its pores.

Most recently, Hines – loved by Steelers fans for playing rough on the field -- nearly snapped his partner Kym’s neck in two when he fell on her during a rehearsal and she was whisked away in an ambulance. And he broke down and cried when they were able to actually perform their dance that week. This week Kym was still rehearsing in a neck brace – which may have helped them gain votes.

Maks – who we learned this season, likes to think of himself as sex on a stick – collapsed under Kirstie during a live, televised performance. Later Kirstie, who’d sworn to lose 40 pounds while competing, nearly collapsed during rehearsal due to lack of calories. Kirstie also lost a shoe during a dance one week – another “Dancing” first.

Ralph Macchio’s dance partner Karina Smirnoff tripped spectacularly on his long coat tails during a live performance, after which he gallantly picked her up, dusted her off and got her back on track. Sadly Ralph blew all that good will he’d earned when he whined incessantly about leg pains he suffered soon thereafter.

When judge Len Goodman told Wendy Williams he liked how her “dumplings were boiling over” in her costumes, she deftly turned it into a Big Breast Crisis in a subsequent week, during one of her hit-and-run attacks of self involvement. She refused to believe dance partner Tony Dovolani’s assurances that viewers were not obsessing over her large mammaries during her numbers.

Kendra Wilkinson revealed she’d been the victim of anti-Bunny prejudice, which still exists in our society – an emotional pain which, on the bright side, put her in touch with her inner stripper as she rhumba’d with dance partner Louis Van Amstel. And Kendra, who we’d thought was force of evil, turned out to be a force for truth in all things, when Louis urged her to shake everything “that God gave her” and she acknowledged, “Well, my boobs aren’t what God gave me.”

And how can forget Celebriquarium hostess Brooke Burke wondering how Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova and her partner Dmitry Chaplin, who is of Russian background, were going to be able to dance an “all-American quickstep” during “American Week” on the show. Petra, resisting the urge to bash Brooke over the head with the heel of her shoe, explained she would rely on the kindness of the non-xenophobic American voters who had gotten her this far in the competition.

Last night’s performances: Penultimate night

Last week’s results: Ralph Macchio goes home

Last week’s performances: The final four perform

By  |  05:35 AM ET, 05/25/2011

 
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