“Dancing With the Stars” has had 175 different stars, 288 nights of competition and now 15 different winners.
Last night’s victor was someone who came in third season eight: “The Bachelorette” Melissa Rycroft. In an unprecedented (and surprising) all-female finale, she beat out two former champions Shawn Johnson and Kelly Monaco.
ABC should be thrilled. They basically created her stardom. If you never watched “The Bachelor” or “Bachelorette,” you’d have no idea who Rycroft is.
Entering the season, very few people (including Rycroft herself) expected her to win. But she showed a killer combination of dance skills, athleticism and personality that kept her getting plenty of 9s and 10s from the judges.
There was no obvious favorite going into the finals.
Rycroft helped herself with a perfect score of 60 Monday night with her freestyle and samba. “Deliciously irresistible Brazilian bombshell!” said Bruno Tonioli. Johnson garnered a perfect score on her freestyle but was penalized for not following all the rules on the quickstep and received a 27 out of 30. Monaco got close but fell just short of perfection twice: 29.5 for both dances.
Over 15 dances, Rycroft just edged out Johnson in her average score of 28 vs. 27.9. Monaco was the 7th best overall of all dancers this year with an average of 26.7.
Ratings were generally down this season from previous years but the show is in no danger of going away any time soon. Season 16 will be back in less than four months. UPDATE: The finale drew 13.8 million viewers and a 2.9 18-49 rating. During the peak years, the finale would break 20 million viewers and far exceed a 4 rating among 18-49 year olds. This is the first time it has had to compete with “The Voice,” which skews younger and regularly beats DWTS among 18 to 49 year olds (though DWTS won over more overall viewers.)