Jennifer Grey's night to sparkle on 'Dancing With the Stars'

This season's competition and finale.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 24, 2010; 12:32 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!" daughter-of-famous-politician Bristol Palin 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 to girls-next-door were thwarted in their effort to vote Sarah Palin's 20-year-old daughter into the winning slot on the ABC competition show. Instead, "Dirty Dancing's" 50-year-old star, Jennifer Grey, 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 likability.

"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 host Tom Bergeron when he revealed she'd won the bronze after months of competition.

"If somebody had said to me, in week one, '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.

Jennifer had ruptured a disk in her spine during Monday's performances, further injuring her neck, which was severly injured years ago in a car accident.

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

Grey won the first round 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 at 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 rehearsed their final dance - an Insta-Cha-Cha Challenge for the final Insta-dance round, to a tune that they'd learned only 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 3 million viewers ahead of last season. Monday's episode was - 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.

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