New ‘Dancing’ Champ Crowned

Hines Ward and partner Kym Johnson dance their way to victory


In a victory of determination, grace and charisma, Hines Ward won the 12th and highest rated season of Dancing with the Stars last night. The former Super Bowl MVP for the Pittsburgh Steelers became the second NFL player to take the DWTS title, following Emmitt Smith in season three.

His athleticism and discipline kept him in the contest, but it was Ward's radiant charm that won it for him. You know that cliché about someone’s smile lighting up a room? In Ward’s case, that was manifestly true.

Funny girl Kirstie Alley exceeded early expectations by finishing second and Chelsea Kane, of the Disney Channel’s Jonas series, became the most impressive third place finisher in the show’s history.

The two-hour finale was more overstuffed than one of Wendy Williams’ ball gowns. It featured shameless plugs for singers Josh Groban and Sara Evans and, during a dance by eliminated contestant Romeo, an appearance by the Bad Orthodontics Children’s Choir.

What exactly was the “special guest appearance” we had been repeatedly promised by host Tom Bergeron on Monday night’s broadcast? I’m assuming he meant the Black Eyed Peas. How about that?

You think the female dancers’ outfits on this show are revealing? The Black Eyed Peas are the most overexposed band in the universe. It’s a surprise when they don’t show up at an event.

After more than an hour of extraneous filler, the three pairs of finalists had one last competitive challenge on the dance floor.

Hines chose the samba; Alley the cha cha and Chelsea the Viennese Waltz.

This swan dance is largely superfluous. It’s a victory lap. You’d have to be frozen in place not to get a perfect score on finale night -- as all three teams did.

That means the scoring margin was exactly where we left it after Monday’s dance=off, with Ward and Kane tied and Alley in close pursuit.

But as soon as Ward finished his samba last ngith and the studio audience (which included Sarah Palin) erupted in a loud sustained standing ovation, it was obvious that the gridiron star had won the popular vote and with it, the Mirror Ball trophy.

Don’t spike it, Hines.




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