Dancing With the Stars Crowns a New Star


Oh, the Dancing With the Stars finale… Nearly two hours of nothin’ to get to somethin’.

We adore the show, we adore dancing, but… we don’t care what Marissa Jaret Winokur, Leeza Gibbons and Tia Carrere think of this season’s finalists. Or what Shawn Johnson, Gilles Marini and Melissa Rycroft think about each other. Etc.

The whole thing could have been reduced to one hour and producers still could have crammed in two performances by Lada Gaga, one more dance apiece from the three finalists and the announcement of which pick-a-pro contestant will be joining the show next season.

Congratulations, Anna Demidova.

Anyway, when “Disco Stick” had been sung and the various shenanigans played out, we did find out who won the eighth season of Dancing With the Stars…

Shawn rocked what may have been her most confident cha-cha yet, and received a 30 for her efforts. Melissa impressed with another perfect samba. And Gilles once again scored the maximum for his titillating Argentine tango.

But only one of them got her hands on the disco ball.

That’s right, her. This show loves its Olympians.

Shawn Johnson, a four-time medalist at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, has been named the winner of the eighth season of Dancing With the Stars. (Alas, there was no celebratory back flip.)

293dwtsjohnsonshawnlc050409“I’ve loved every second of it,” the 17-year-old champion said backstage before she hoisted the almost-as-big-as-her disco-ball trophy.

This makes title No. 2 for her partner, Mark Ballas, who won two seasons ago with Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. (We know someone who’s proud of his country.)

Coming in second was Gilles Marini, who once was solely known as Samantha’s eyeful of a neighbor in Sex and the City, and who now will be known for being the very hot guy who perhaps should have won DWTS.

Week after week, the Frenchman—partnered with still two-time champ Cheryl Burke—had shown the most intensity and natural ability on that floor. And what he may have lacked in technique at times, he made up for with musicality and, yes, sex appeal.

But Shawn—who surpassed everyone when it came to technique—won the crowds over in the end with her infectious enthusiasm and athleticism. (But she didn’t win ’em over by much. Tom Bergeron said less than 1 percent separated the top two scores.)

Meanwhile, the Bachelor’s loss was ABC’s gain, as Melissa made it all the way to third place despite not joining the show until the week it premiered and suffering a rib injury several weeks ago.

“Never in a million years could I imagine I would be here dancing with an Olympian and someone who was in a blockbuster movie,” the 25-year-old beauty said. “My life—the past 11 weeks—has completely changed. I thank all the viewers and voters for keeping us here this long.”

We said it in week one and we’ll say it again: Suck it, Jason Mesnick.

So that’s it for season eight. See ya in the fall!



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