'Dancing With the Stars' results recap: Season 12 champion revealed!
We have a winner! After three months of fierce back-and-forth competition featuring unsightly trips, unceremonious snips and a lifetime's worth of sparkles, the “Dancing With the Stars” Season 12 champions and coveted Mirrorball trophy recipients have been crowned. Congratulations, Hines Ward and Kym Johnson!
You could have surmised the winner of the sparkliest award in ballroom reality TV history from the deafening roar of the crowd whenever the NFL star and his Australian pro partner were spotlighted. Fellow finalist Chelsea Kane had the technical precision, and Kirstie Alley had the natural ease and physical and emotional transformation. But Hines' hips don't lie: He had the advantage of having great movement, that winning smile, and the galvanizing support of an entire towel-twirling Steeler Nation.
Though after this arduous and emotional journey (the opener was more akin to a Bob Costas-narrated Olympic segment rather than a ballroom reality show intro) that spoke somberly about “the act of becoming a champion,” and two whole hours of lead-up to what was termed the closest competition ever, the coronation ceremony seemed a little bare-boned, didn’t it? After the copious amounts of it in previous shows and seasons, where was the hailstorm of confetti? Why didn’t anyone take Hines on the shoulders?
Still, I thought the winner was a fitting one. Hines played his game to both the audience and the judges. He had the heart of a champion and the hips of a Brazilian at Carnival. He showed that real men can cry, and his true mettle when he helped Kym through her injury. Plus, he loves his mama. Now he finally has a shiny trophy to put in that empty space on his shelf. And Kym now boasts a matching pair (her first was with Donny Osmond in Season 9).
Not to say that the other finalists weren’t as deserving. Chelsea was the first to go, as we had an inkling that she would, because her small niche in the Disney Channel universe wasn’t enough to compete against a nine-time Emmy nominee and a Super Bowl MVP in votes. And sadly, she looked crestfallen when she found out she had landed in third place, and it was up to Mark Ballas to wrap her in his consoling arms. Then it was Kirstie, who had the concave posture of someone who knew she was going to lose. Glad she’s found a lifelong partner in Maksim Chmerkovskiy, however. It’s so clear that these two mean so much to each other. I loved that he called her his trophy, though part of me is bummed that Maks had to go another season without a Mirrorball after coming so close.
All three finalists performed once more in a last-ditch effort to raise their judges’ scores. These marks ended up being just vanity scores, as all of them received perfect 30s, but it was such a treat to see all three couples ending on a perfect high note in the routine of their choice.
Chelsea and Mark were up first. And after going back and forth, they decided their favorite dance was the "Wizard waltz," the Viennese waltz to the Harry Potter theme song. Chelsea pared down her costume a bit, but Mark kept his Sorting Hat on, and it was nice to see the clever choreography set to John Williams’ music once again. “You are a fantastic dancer, whatever the outcome tonight,” affirmed judge Len Goodman. “Bellissima, bravissima,” praised judge Bruno Tonioli. “Chelsea the enchantress. We are all under your spell.” “You are a very, very talented, artistic, classy, beautiful, graceful woman,” declared judge Carrie Ann Ianaba.
Then Kirstie and Maks danced one last time, a redux of their Week 1 cha cha that made us all fall in love with the actress in the ballroom in the first place. And what a difference 10 weeks make. She showed up with strands of sparkle in her hair and a dress half the size of her Week 1 costume with tons more confidence and verve. I loved how she and Maks gave each other little kisses throughout the routine, as if to prolong this experience that much longer. I’ll really miss their partnership. “Kirstie you cheeky girl, you saved the best for last,” said Bruno, who called this a “100%-proof cocktail of effervescent ... fun.” Carrie Ann said she loved Kirstie "for being you.” Len told Kirstie “you have produced your best dance.”
Hines and Kym reenacted their Week 3 samba to Earth Wind & Fire’s “Fantasy,” which Hines had dedicated to his mother. Kym came back out in her buttery yellow lettuce skirt and not much else, and Hines had his satiny terrible towel to wave at routine’s end. And you could tell that this routine was a lot more polished than it was way back when. What really put the dance over the top, though, was how Hines and Kym looked like they were having the time of their lives dancing it. “That was wonderful,” Carrie Ann said. “You dance with heart and it shows.” “Dance is the product,” said Len. “What is so appealing about you is the packaging.” “Mr. Irresistible,” Bruno declared.
The rest of the two hours was filled with musical performances, old contestants and celebrations of this highly rated season. There were a couple of segments. The judges exclaimed how close the final competition was, with no clear leader having emerged, and Len threw out rhyming platitudes such as “the Brawl for the Ball” and “the War on the Floor.” The judges also had their wackier comments, like “yum, yum, what a bum” and “come on sunshine” remixed and set to a bizarrely entertaining beat. “What was that?” Carrie Ann mouthed. “My new ringtone,” Tom answered, not skipping a beat.
Psycho Mike Catherwood showed that he wasn’t just twiddling his thumbs and biding time waiting out this “DWTS” season. Rather, the DanceWeekly reader auditioned for a spot in the “DWTS” Troupe in a winning outfit of a tie-dye unitard, pink legwarmers and a red headband, winning reactions from the “DWTS” Troupe members. The two-time Oakland Macarena champion then made it out with the troupe to perform to EMF’s “Unbelievable.” And it was as if his pro partner Lacey Schwimmer was making a nod to her two-toned hair with her two-toned outfit. Best part? How he got stripped down to his audition unitard at the end. “Words fail me,” said host Tom Bergeron.
The ballroom loved themselves some Black Eyed Peas. The six-time Grammy Award-winning stars delivered their latest single, “Don’t Stop the Party,” which was a welcome addition to the “DWTS” universe with its upbeat and dance-friendly beats, and performed it with a lot of lasers, lights, sparkly outfits and stepping on the ballroom floor. Season 3 contestant Sara Evans came out to perform her hit “A Little Bit Stronger” on a platform amidst a sea of fog while the big screens in the back paid tribute to the finalists’ unforgettable moments.
Super model and all-around beautiful soul Petra Nemcova reenacted her ethereal Week 3 waltz to Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” with pro partner Dmitry Chaplin. And it was a sweet reenactment of the song that inspired Petra to start her charity to help tsunami victims. What’s more, Josh Groban actually came out singing! Turned out the singer actually flew in to surprise the model, and Dmitry had to point him out to her. And Petra had no idea it was really him singing! What a pleasant surprise of a surprise. File that under Things That Are Lovely.
Former "Girl Next Door" Kendra Wilkinson came outfitted in canary yellow fringe surrounded by a coterie of dancing men for an enhanced version of her “La Vida Loca” routine with Louis Van Amstel. I kind of hoped she would demonstrate the exploding breasts that she and Louis tried out during the commercial bumper. But considering how she was almost dropped during her lean-back off the judges’ podium at the end, maybe it was good to keep it safe after all. “Lucky she had those extra guys, as it turned out,” said Tom astutely.
Chris Jericho and Sugar Ray Leonard reprised their routines with Cheryl Burke and Anna Trebunskaya, respectively, with Michael Buffer making a return appearance and delivering his famous “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!” (though he called the celebraquarium “celebruarium”). Chris came back to debut another one of his spot-on imitations, this time of Bruno, “rubbing his chest for no apparent reason.” Hey, it got a perfect score from Carrie Ann. “I got a 10!” Chris exclaimed. It was all about redemption in the ballroom Tuesday night.
The Macy’s Stars of Dance was an upbeat number, where the Go-Gos got together (Oh, Belinda Carlisle. Still sad you didn’t go farther in your “DWTS” season) to sing “We Got the Beat” featuring Cheryl, Lacey and Chelsie in their 1980s best and Maks playing the stripping dancer cop delivered straight from our collective fantasies. Maks is definitely a manly eyeful, but between the all-girl band and the strength of these dancing females, I’ve got to hand it to the girls in this one. Did you catch that Bruno had on Maks’ cop hat in the end? How fitting.
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff did their crowd-pleasing prohibition-era jive, with the trumpet player looking admiringly on. Wendy Williams did an oddly edited talk show where she interviewed herself while Tony Dovolani looked on in confusion. And then Wendy, her breasts and Tony came out to talk to Tom and host Brooke Burke. “It just feels good to be here and not be judged!” she said with relief.
Romeo danced for the kids. He and pro partner Chelsie Hightower performed a quite moving and effective waltz(?) to Whitney Houston’s kids’ anthem, “Greatest Love of All.” Romeo was dapper, and quite impressive with the lifts. Chelsie’s flowy skirt was mesmerizing. Romeo’s “DWTS” appearance and this routine all but erased the Season 2 eyesore that was his father, Master P. And there was a children’s choir! All those pure, innocent voices singing with the backlighting and the clouds of fog. Are we in heaven? Why was Sarah Palin there? Actually, Romeo stated that the world did not, in fact, end. So do him a solid and check out his Twitter handle.
And that, ballroom fans, concludes another bedazzling, star-studded, sparkly “Dancing With the Stars” season.
What do you think? Did the right person win? Do you agree with how the viewer votes turned out? Who else is psyched for a “Twinkle Toe Battle Off” among Hines, Emmit Smith and Carrie Ann?
-- Allyssa Lee
Photos: (from top) "Dancing With the Stars" Season 12 champions Kym Johnson and Hines Ward. Credit: Adam Taylor / ABC
"Dancing With the Stars" Season 12 finalists Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas. Credit: Adam Taylor / ABC
"Dancing With the Stars" Season 12 finalists Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Credit: Adam Taylor / ABC