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'Dancing With the Stars' results: We have a winner!

May 26, 2010 |  1:16 am

After 10 weeks, 17 dances and more sparkle and shine than the Main Street Electrical Parade, Season 10 of “Dancing With the Stars” has finally come to an end. And loosen up your buttons, ballroom fans, because the winner of the coveted Mirrorball trophy -- announced in a blazing fireball and a shower of pyrotechnics -- was pop star Nicole Scherzinger!

Though the crowning of this Lady of the Dance (competition) wasn’t really a surprise, was it? The Pussycat Doll and partner Derek Hough were dominant for most of the season. They managed to maintain that lead and even build upon it against fellow finalists Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya in their final knockout dance. They received a perfect 30 for their jive, Len’s proclamation that Nicole deserved to be the winner of the competition and Nicole got a hug from Gladys Knight (yes, that one with the Pips). The Mirrorball was theirs to lose.

The odds were most definitely stacked in Nicole and Derek’s favor. But there have been seasons when the higher-scoring star hasn’t taken the top prize, and a part of me wondered if the always excellent and highly-praised Nicole would end up like runner-up Gilles Marini a couple of seasons back. But the judges’ scoring of four dances in this final seemed to have a greater influence over the ultimate outcome this season. Nicole had such a commanding point lead that Evan would have needed a landslide of popular votes to come out on top.

Really, though, it was the viewers who won in the end, as both Evan and Nicole proved worthy finalists and opponents in this Season 10 competition. As the judges had repeatedly proclaimed, this was the best season yet. The level of competition was sky high, and it was as if the producers were trying to match that level with the production value of this two-hour extravaganza. Some new tricks worked (the dazzling Mirrorball planet that descended on the ballroom floor and hatched Evan and Nicole). Some didn’t (Kate Gosselin’s lift to the sky).

But don’t cry for me, Argentina. I am at peace with the program’s results. Sure, I personally would have liked to have seen gold medalist Evan continue the Olympic “DWTS” tradition set by Apolo Anton Ohno, Kristi Yamaguchi and Shawn Johnson (all of whom were in attendance) and take home the big bulbous prize (Evgeni Plushenko, on the other hand, no doubt would have deemed this outcome just right). As Larry King said, “Olympic people win.” But no one can deny that Nicole was clearly the most accomplished dancer this season. Though will she go down, as Carrie Ann said, as the greatest star dancer that “DWTS” has ever shuffled through its storied ranks? Discuss!

In the meantime, let’s get through two hours of filler. The program started out fun and fringy, with a flashy group number with big red feather fans set to the Pointer Sisters’ “I’m So Excited.” And I was so excited to see the eliminated contestants (Shannen Doherty! Aiden Turner!) keep their energy up and moving for the performance. That is, until Kate Gosselin nearly ground it all to a halt with her awkward and self-conscious meander.

119797_0371_pre The three remaining finalists danced the Argentine tango in the Favorite Dance category. And fittingly, it was Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy who ended up in third place — both in this dance, and in the competition itself. And methinks this was as it should be. As great as Erin was, the reporter was no match for Evan or Nicole in terms of technique or difficulty (feral leap onto Maks notwithstanding). And Erin seemed to know that it was her time to go as well: “I knew that these two were going to go head to head in this,” she told Tom and Brooke. “I just wanted to get my life back together. I just wanted to get my smile back.” At least she and Maks also got a chance to pinch Tom’s butt one last time, for posterity. All in all, a fitting end to the competition for this ESPN reporter.

In addition to the requisite recap of the last 10 weeks, the rest of the Season 10 contestants returned and performed new dances. Shannen Doherty showed off her legs and some pretty good moves with a recovered Mark Ballas, and satiny Aiden Turner jumped into high gear with Edyta Sliwinska, who again wore that wonder of a fringe dress. And then Buzz Aldrin was beamed in (from the moon, ostensibly) in a shower of green laser light and the theme to “Star Wars.” Sure, he and Ashly Del Grosso performed a dance that displayed some flailing cape action. But more mesmerizing was that sparklicious moon suit, which, as Tom said, was flown in “from the NASA Liberace collection.” Oh, to be a rhinestone on that bedazzled jumpsuit! It was so completely over-the-top and ridiculous, which just made it that much more “DWTS”-appropriate.

The show nearly fell into a state of sugar shock when “Bachelor” Jake Pavelka Viennese waltzed onto the ballroom floor. After starting his dance with his “DWTS” pro partner Chelsie Hightower, Jake then switched partners with Dmitry Chaplin and ended up paired with his real life fiancee, Vienna. And if this Disney storybook romance wasn’t cloying enough, the dance was set to Jeffrey Osbourne’s “On the Wings of Love” – which just so happened to be the theme of pilot Jake’s “Bachelor” season.

After insulin shots were administered and sugar levels returned to normal, the Utah Valley University Wolverines danced formation circles around the Purdue Boilermakers and ended up with the top prize in the college competition. And they were awarded an adorable mini-Mirrorball trophy as well (where can I get me one of those?)! “Make sure you water that,” advised Tom.

Kate Gosselin showed up to do a redux of her much-maligned “Paparazzi” paso doble and to shill her two new shows. But even though the reality star said that she learned a lot from her “DWTS” stint, much of the rehearsal footage showed that not much had changed since her last appearance, and there was just as much wah-wah Debbie Downer during rehearsals with partner Tony Dovolani as ever. Still, her “Paparazzi” do-over was an improvement over her last performance, if only for the fact that she didn’t wear as much make-up. But then in a twist, Kate’s long paso skirt gave way to a tiny shiny mini and Lady Gaga gave way to Gloria Gaynor. And then in one of the most bizarre “DWTS” moves maybe ever, Kate got on some kind of hydraulic lift with a fish-eye camera on it, and literally rose up above the audience to … somewhere, I don’t know. The rafters? Purgatory? A flash sideways? And just when it couldn’t get more awkward, it appeared she got stuck there. It was too much even for the usually-unflappable Tom Bergeron. “Welcome to Over-the-Top productions,” the host chuckled. “I’m going to run that back later tonight.”

119797_1549_pre Things bounced back to earth with “a celebration of all things jiggly,” as Pamela Anderson let her sex kitten loose, arrived onto the dance floor in a big hoop, and had her way with Damian Whitewood, Tony and Dmitry. Tony and Dmitry also added some manly support for ready-for-this-jelly Niecy Nash, who emerged as a shimmying vision in purple sparkles and fringe and shook her “Bootylicious” bon-bon with partner Louis Van Amstel. Leave it to Niecy to deliver some of the best lines of the night: “I barely escaped this competition with my jiggly parts intact,” the comedienne relayed. “I feel like a weave on a stick.”

And then it was time for the final two contestants’ knockout dance. And each pair chose a style catered to his or her strengths, and performed it winningly: Nicole elected a show-stopping, high-energy jive that channeled Tina Turner and “Proud Mary,” while Evan chose the more technical quick step (and Anna looked like a pretty party gift in her light blue tulle dress) for his routine, set to Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me.” And I thought both were great shows of each contestant’s abilities. Nicole jumped and flailed and had the energy cranked to 11. Evan was perfectly charming in his suspenders and delivered a very proficient routine. Yeah, Nicole's was better. But usually the judges generously throw out their 10 paddles with these last dances. Yet in another surprise twist, Len and Co. awarded Nicole a perfect score of 30, while Evan got a mere 28. And at that point, the competition was sealed.

What did you think? Did the right person win the competition? Is Nicole the best “DWTS” contestant ever? Why couldn’t Mark Ballas have brought Aiden Turner out with him so that Nicole didn’t have to stand there awkwardly while he lifted his boy Derek on his shoulders?

-- Allyssa Lee

‘Dancing With the Stars’: The final three
‘Dancing With the Stars’ results: Ocho and out
Complete ‘Dancing With the Stars’ coverage on Show Tracker

Photos: (from top) Winners Derek Hough and Nicole Scherzinger. Credit: Adam Larkey / ABC

Runners-up Anna Trebunskaya and Evan Lysacek. Credit: Adam Larkey / ABC

Third-place finishers Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Erin Andrews. Credit: Adam Larkey / ABC