Moraes on TV: Jennifer Grey wins 'Dancing With the Stars' 11th season; Bristol Palin finishes third

The winners of Dancing with the Stars: partner Derek Hough and Jennifer Grey.
The winners of Dancing with the Stars: partner Derek Hough and Jennifer Grey. (Abc Screen Grab)

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By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, November 24, 2010; 7:57 AM

Winning the competition "would mean a lot to me. ... It would feel like a big middle finger to all the people out there that hate my mom and hate me!" Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol exclaimed at the start of Tuesday's "Dancing With the Stars" 11th-season finale.

But it was not to be.

Conservatives and those who feel maternal instincts toward girls next door were thwarted in their effort to vote 20-year-old Bristol Palin into the winning slot on the ABC competition show; Jennifer Grey, 50-year-old star of "Dirty Dancing," was awarded the hideous-yet-coveted Mirror Ball Trophy.

Bristol finished third, behind 19-year-old Disney star Kyle Massey who generated a wave of good feeling among viewers -- and the show's three professional judges -- with his exuberance and general likeability.

"There have been so many good memories. This has been such a life-changing experience and I had the time of my life," Bristol told show host Tom Bergeron when he revealed she'd won the bronze after months of competition.

"If somebody had said to me, in Week 1, 'Bristol Palin's in the final,' I'd have pickled me walnuts!" the show's senior professional judge, Len Goodman, said in the final minutes of Tuesday's show, speaking for us all.

But first, a moment to feel bad for all the people who think that voting for Bristol is taking back America for morality and who had to sit through Christina Aguilera's "Burlesque" song-and-dance number. Let's just say it was as burlesque as primetime TV can get without a fine.

Jennifer won the first round Tuesday, in which the stars re-performed an earlier dance from the season, with a perfect score of 30 points, followed by Kyle with 26 and Bristol with 25.

Meanwhile, in social media land, fans of Jennifer, Bristol and Kyle sent competing "iwaves" on the "Dancing With the Stars" Facebook page while the three finalists each rehearsed their final dance -- an InstaCha-Cha Challenge for the last dance, to a tune they'd only learned minutes earlier would be Pink's "Raise Your Glass," practicing in what Bergeron called The Dancing With the Stars Veal Cages backstage.

Monday's finale had attracted nearly 24 million viewers -- the franchise's biggest Monday audience in six seasons -- and more than three million viewers ahead of last season. Monday's episode was -- for one night at least -- TV's most watched entertainment telecast this season.

Judges got the final say Tuesday night. Viewer voting was closed, but each of the three finalists danced two times more and the judges' scores for those dances were added to their Monday judge tallies.

Jennifer -- who is best known for co-starring in the pop-classic "Dirty Dancing" with Patrick Swayze, who died of cancer little more than a year ago -- won with the highest combined total of judges' points and viewer votes.


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