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'Dancing With the Stars': Mel + Maks 4-Ever

November 28, 2007 |  7:53 am

Helio_2_js7ilync_250 In that it did not choose Marie Osmond as the "Dancing With the Stars" champion, America voted correctly.

However, after the tedious last dances and at least five recap/flashback montages, perhaps the most entertaining part of Tuesday's finale turned out not to be the winner, Helio Castroneves, but runner-up Melanie Brown and her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy.  Maybe it was because Helio's grin started getting a little Joker-ish after two hours, maybe it was Osmond's sharp edge hidden behind her manic laughter, or maybe it was Samantha Harris chortling at her own goofy deliveries, but the only sincere thing of the night seemed to be the partnership between the Spice Girl and the professional. 

Melb_maks_abc_250 The audience was provided with plenty of camera cuts to Mel's husband, Stephen Belafonte, to assure it that she and Maks are not together. Still, it was hard not to see the chemistry between the two of them during their own particular recaps, the kisses Maks gave Mel at the end of their performance, whatever it was he said in her ear after it was revealed that the pair didn't win.

Of course, fans of Maks will recall a similarly tender connection last season between him and Laila Ali.  He's already blessed with good looks and a cocky but not overbearing screen attitude, but now he's got a record for getting along well with aggressive, hard-working babes, so what's not to like?  Regardless of who the stars are next season (which should start in, what, about a week?), maybe it's just time to start voting for whomever is dancing with Maks. 

-- Claire Zulkey

(Photos courtesy ABC)