In a somewhat surprising twist, reality star Melissa Rycroft was named the winner of “Dancing With the Stars: All Stars” on Tuesday night. Rycroft, who first competed three years ago in Season 8, triumphed over Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, who many thought would become the first competitor to win two seasons of the reality dance competition.
The shock was evident as confetti rained down on Melissa, who burst into tears, and her partner, Tony Dovolani, whose excited shouting was mostly bleeped out, sending the ABC censors into a frenzy.
“What a feel-good win,” remarked Tom Bergeron, master of understatement, as the other competitors hoisted Melissa and Tony on their shoulders to celebrate. Melissa had been the only finalist to have never won a previous season.
In third place? Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy, this season’s great showmance. Were they really dating?! Kelly and Val cleared this up: No. Sadly for everyone rooting for the couple, they are strictly in the friend zone.
Other highlights from a night that included lots of filler, including a return from all the former contestants from this all-star season:
* Bristol Palin and Pamela Anderson were paired together as “two of the most-talked about all stars in the history of the show,” according to Brooke Burke Charvet, and both performed again. Bristol showed she still struggles with dance moves as she danced with Mark Ballas. Pamela Anderson donned thigh high boots to wriggle around on stage with Tristan MacManus. “Usually to see something like that there’s a two-drink minimum,” Tom Bergeron joked after Anderson’s performance.
* ESPN’s Kenny Mayne, former NFL star and “DWTS” contestant Jerry Rice, and judge Len Goodman were back for the annual “Dance Center” segment, making fun of all the contestants. Their jokes this year? Pretty lame. Such as, Kenny: “Bristol took Mark to a gun range this year. Unfortunately, she missed.” And, Kenny: “We checked into [Shawn Johnson’s] past, we can’t find a birth certificate of her from Hawaii. No proof she’s even born there.” Jerry: “That’s because she’s from Des Moines.”
* Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya were completely upstaged by Drew’s adorable daughter, six-year-old Isabella, who joined her dad for Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” and brought down the house.
* Hoping to capitalize on “Gangnam Style” — officially the most-viewed YouTube video of all time — the show couldn’t resist another version of the dance. Except this time, everyone stripped down from their signature tuxedos to much skimpier outfits. (Naturally, there was another rendition of “Call Me Maybe” as well.)
* There was still one final dance for the finalists, as Kelly, Shawn and Melissa had to perform an insta-dance that they had an hour to learn. Kelly and Val drew raves for a jive and scored 28.5; Melissa and Tony received middling remarks for samba but still scored 28.5; Shawn and Derek got high praise for a cha cha and scored a perfect 30.