Shawn Johnson, the gymnast, edged out actor Gilles Marini in a bit of a surprise to win season eight of “Dancing With the Stars.” Less than one percentage point separated the two in a very tight race for the cheesy disco ball.
Melissa Rycroft, the “Bachelor” gal who came in as a replacement, finished third.
Shawn’s athleticism helped her pick up the technical parts of the dances. It took her time to get comfortable as a teenager to be a good performer. But she improved over time. Gilles was arguably the leader from early on and he continued to be that studly French man all the way through. Shawn somehow snuck up and got the votes to just beat him out.
The finale show is always packed with filler with 10 seconds of actualy news. Lady Gaga, a review of past episodes, etc.
They each get to do one more dance to get points from the judges. The 50/50 split of fan votes and judge totals decide the winner of the trophy. Yes, the contestants are paid a decent penny too. The final three all make $365,000, based on the contract TMZ got of Johnson, who is a minor.
Shawn Johnson’s cha-cha-cha to “P.Y.T.”: she brings great moves and sexiness and a great last move. Len: “The longer you go, the stronger you get.” Bruno: “From cute to sexy and sassy. Your technique is always spot on.” Carrie Ann: “You’ve powered your way to the top and deserve to be here tonight.” She gets a perfect score of 30 and 88 over two nights.
Melissa Rycroft. She’s a natural dancer and is certainly deserving to make it to the top 3. Bruno: “She’s got a body made for dancing.” Carrie Ann: “You’ve really come into your own.” Len: “That samba was just fantastic.” She was third in the leader board. She got perfect score of 30 and 86 over two nights.
Gilles Marini. He’s graceful, warm and sexy across the board. This Argentine tango smolders. Carrie Ann: “You’re our very special performer… you bring such an amazing artistry to your dancing.” Len: “You have brought me the most pleasure to watch.” Bruno: “This was an Argentine triumph!” Yet another perfect score of 30 and 88 total. So he’s tied with Shawn with the judges. It comes down to people’s vote who wins.
The finale is always fun because we get to see the eliminated contestants yet again. Belinda Carlisle definitely did better than she did when she was eliminated the first week. Denise Richards? She had a very low level of difficulty with her quickstep and was adequate. Holly Madison: still not a good dancer. Stiff.
And now onto Steve Wozniak! He gives hope for all us schlubs who can’t dance. And they let him dance his entire routine while the others got shortened versions. Love him! David Alan Grier? He’s not bad but he left at the right time. Steve O? He ended up doing far better than anybody could have imagined. He took this seriously! Is he a particularly good dancer? No. But he makes up for it with moxie and a Pee Wee-style exuberance.
Lawrence Taylor, the football player of this round, wasn’t quite as good as Emmitt Smith or Jerry Rice, but is certainly respectable. Chuck Wicks, the next one eliminated, improved quite a bit though I guess he lacked the aw-shucks nice-guy modesty of Ty Murray, who far outlasted him.
Lil Kim? She could have easily made the top 3. Ty Murray got better and better but had no prayer of winning. I think his sweet personality got him the votes past Lil Kim and Chuck Wicks.
The pro dancer who won the mini-competition to be on the show next year is Anna, who will dance with a celeb this fall.
Best lines from Jeffrey Ross’ roast. “This is the first season when no actual stars made it to the finale. This isn’t a who’s who. It’s a who are you?
“I didn’t know this show was called, ‘Dancing With the Vaguely Familiar.’ ”
He later dubbed them “the underaged, the unwed and the unpronounceable.”
Gilles, he noted in the “Sex and the City” move, “may not have had the biggest role but he had the biggest part.”
Melissa: “You’re so beautiful. What can I say? Can I marry you? Ironic if she came in second on this show, too?”
“Lil Kim–she was just here for community service.”
“Belinda Carlisle. I like how you’re dressed like a hooker from ‘Battlestar Galactica.’ ”
“Holly Madison. She didn’t do well on the show. Every time the director yelled action, she started taking her clothes off.”