After nearly eight years of dancing, hundreds of celebrities gracing the ballroom floor and 14 Mirrorball Trophy winners, Dancing With The Stars has finally crowned its champion of champions.

The all-female finale came down to season one winner, Kelly Monaco, season eight’s champ Shawn Johnson and Melissa Rycroft, who came in third that same season and was the only finalist out of the three who hadn’t already won the coveted Mirrorball trophy.

But all that changed last night as the reality TV star and former Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader took home the shiny globe.

Declaring “now they have one, too,” Tom Bergeron announced Melissa’s name as the winner of the All-Stars season. As she jumped up and down among the sparklers and confetti that was set off, the rest of the dancers swarmed Melissa and partner Tony Dovolanias.

Though the dancing pair were too busy celebrating their victory to give their reactions to the cameras, Melissa made her excitement loud and clear to all her fans after the show.

Of course the winner wasn’t revealed until the very end of the suspenseful two-hour live finale. But leading up to the big moment, fans were treated to highlights from the season, cameos from all the axed All-Stars and re-caps of some of the most memorable dances from the past nine weeks.

Kids seemed to be the go-to prop for the finale with Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya bringing out Drew’s daughter, Isabella for their repeat cha cha to “Crazy in Love.” Joey Fatone and partner Kym Johnson brought out mini-me version of themselves for their dance to Huey Lewis’ “Back in Time.”

Providing insightful analysis and the laughs in between routines were the men of ‘DanceCenter’–a parody of ESPN’s SportsCenter–featuring judge Len Goodman and former contestants from the sports world, football great Jerry Rice and ESPN’s Kenny Mayne, who many remember as being the first star cut in season 2.

They made cracks on everything from Emmitt Smith’s love of neon colors to Shawn Johnson’s perky laugh. All while wearing some of the silliest getups that have ever appeared on the show, which is saying a lot.

They also pondered the burning question of the season about the “showmance” or real romance between Kelly and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy as Kenny asked “did they or didn’t they?” and Jerry responding with a conclusive “oh, they definitely did.”

However, the couple was quick to later squash those relationship whispers with Kelly responding “I hope everybody can have friendships like this, that’s what it is. It’s a foundation of an amazing friendship. It starts from scratch.”

Before the winner could be announced though the final three took on their bittersweet last dances. Kelly and Val set the bar with their the Instant Dance, an upbeat, fun jive to the music of “Cat & Mouse” that Len described as “clean and crisp.”

Up next, Melissa and Tony had the challenge of topping their perfect Samba routine from last night with another Samba to the song “Life Is A Highway.” With a slowed down tempo, Melissa didn’t quite live up to the same energy she brought to the stage before, but that didn’t tarnish what Carrie Ann called a “stellar” season.

Shawn and partner Derek Hough closed night with a sensational cha-cha to Aretha Franklin’s iconic hit “Respect” that Bruno called “perfection” and Len complimented her ability to take on any challenge thrown her way with ease.

As then it came down to the final results of the night, it was Kelly and Val who came in third and Shawn and Derek in second to the newly crowned champions, Melissa and Tony. All the contestants may have been battling with all their blood, sweat and tears to take the title, but it was all love and appreciation for the new winners.

“The journey was amazing…[Val] is the most incredible man and most talented dancer out there,” said Kelly after the results, and certainly didn’t have any hard feelings about placing third.

Shawn also tweeted thank yous to her fans about her memorable experience on the show.

So what do you think, did the right All-Star take home the trophy?

– Britt Bickel, 94.7 The Wave



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