'Dancing with the Stars' Finale: And the winner is...

Cherylburke_gillesmarini_dancingwiththestars_290 In a tight race for the Mirror Ball Trophy, will Gilles Marini, Shawn Johnson, or Melissa Rycroft win this season of "Dancing with the Stars?"

Lady Gaga opens the show with "Just Dance," the song I actually dig out of her two singles. She's very avant garde with her costumes which I appreciate...though on occasion, like tonight, she rather reminds me of Marvel Comics character Dazzler, the Disco version. Small Correction: Actually, this first outfit reminds me more of the original costume of DC Comics' Looker. But both comparisons are valid.

After a word from Len about how great this season has been and a brief interview bit, we get the beginning of the week-by-week recap. The first three weeks and first three couples eliminated take the floor in order. Belinda Carlisle & Jonathan perform their Salsa, Denise Richards & Maks do their "Grease"-flavored Quickstep, and Holly Madison & Dmitry do the Samba. Wow, Holly's un-be-weave-able tonight - it's like a Barbie hairdo.

Before a commercial break, we're shown footage of some of Steve Wozniak's finer moments. Steve & Karina do their Quickstep and it's nice to see that he's slimmed down, even after not being on the show for weeks. Afterward, Tom Bergeron and Karina manage to cajole him into attempting The Worm again. With little success. Oh...you lovely, floppy man.

Post another recap segment, David Allen Grier & Kym return with the Viennese Waltz that I really like. He got bounced too early. Steve-O & Lacey do their Jason Mraz Foxtrot and Steve trips but doesn't hurt himself this time, thank goodness.

Next up, more traditional filler - the past/present celebs and their thoughts on the finalists. Vivica A. Fox said that Gilles is so hot "you just want to dip him up on a chip."

Sweet buttery biscuits, there's still an hour and a half to go.

Four weeks ago they introduced the "Be A Pro Next Season" competition or whatever they call it. Mayo Alanen and Anna Demidova are the final two left. And the audience-voted winner is...Anna. No shock there. I actually would like if they could both be on but we'll see. She and Maks do the Quickstep from last week as a celebratory encore.

Lawrence Taylor & Edyta welcome us back from some adverts with the Jive to "Ain't That Peculiar." For being the most senior and assuredly most beat up NFL player to appear on the show, he didn't do so bad overall.

Another summary package before we're treated to Chuck Wicks & Julianne's Samba. In the post-interview, Chuck says he's got a new found respect for satin, silk, and thongs. I'm pretty sure he means those man-thong/unitard/shirt hybrids. If I have to have that mental image, so do you.

To close out the first hour, Season 7 contestant/Roast Master General Jeffrey Ross comes out to pay "tribute" to the show and the celebs. I enjoy Jeff but I always question if this is the right venue for him, even with the toned down jokes. But everyone has a good sense of humor about it, well mostly.

Okay, it's the last review package and set of eliminated couples. Lil' Kim & Derek do their Jailhouse Jive with Derek "stealing" the trophy at the beginning. During their interview, Tom said that he kind of expected her to be in the top three. I agree. She also got eliminated too early, at least a week too early.

Normally I don't comment on commercials, but the ABC spot where all the characters from their TV shows are living on one house is kind of awesome.

It's the Jive for Ty Murray & Chelsie before more standard time-killing. This is the tongue-in-cheek "Final 3 Complimenting Each Other While Smack-Talking" package. I like all of there costumes.

With a little under forty-five minutes left, our finalists are announced and enter through the crowd and onto the stage instead of coming downstairs. Oh snap, Mark's got his game face on. He's not even smiling or hamming it up in the slight.

1. Shawn Johnson & Mark
Dance/Song: Cha Cha/"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" by Michael Jackson
We get a retrospective before the redo, as usual. She seemed more relaxed than the first time through and also looked like she was having a lot of fun. Mark didn't out perform her, which happens when she doesn't come with enough energy.
Judges: Len said that her technique's always good and tonight her performance matched. Bruno loved that's she's gone from "cute to sassy." Carrie Ann said that she thinks they may have underestimated her and she deserves to be at the top. Score: 30 (all 10's)

Melissarycroft_tonydovolani_dancingwiththestars_290 2. Melissa Rycroft & Tony
Dance/Song: Samba/I didn't catch the song title again but I like the song
While the dancing itself isn't particularly better than the first time through, Melissa did show more genuine emotion this time. They definitely looked like they were enjoying themselves. She still defaults to ballet movements but not as much as she used to. It' a hard thing to unlearn or adjust.
Judges: Bruno said she has a body made for dancing, Carrie Ann thinks she's been Tony's muse, and Len loves that she has a great stage presence.
Score: 30 (all 10's)

3. Gilles Marini & Cheryl
Dance/Song: Argentine Tango/Delightfully appropriate instrumental
We all remember this dance, for sure. I'm slightly surprised they did this one because they already got a perfect score for it, but it's probably a favorite. It's better to go with guareenteed greatness than try to improve on something and fail.
Judges: Carrie Ann says his artistry sets him apart, he's been Len's favorite dancer to watch, and Bruno states "a star's been born."
Score: 30 (all 10's)

Thankfully, instead of doing the awful "Poker Face," Lady GaGa returns with a new single called "Love Game." What's weird about her is that her voice is much better than all the digital effects would imply. I'd like her to do something with just an acoustic guitar or something just to mix it up.

Finally! Results!

Landing in third place is Melissa Rycroft & Tony. Considering the rocky Freestyle, I'm not too surprised. Honestly, she's done a great job and I really do like her.

So it's down to Gilles and Shawn. Apparently there's less than 1% difference between first and second place. That's crazy. Both deserve to win so I'll be happy/sad either way.

Shawnjohnson_markballas_dancingwiththestars_290 And the champion is....Shawn Johnson & Mark! I don't think I've never seen Mark that surprised and Gilles was genuinely happy for her. Aw...he's such a class act. He better get a lot of acting gigs after this.

What's funny is that Lacey and Derek were the first two out to hug them and, though he was successful in getting Mark on his shoulders, Lacey just couldn't lift Shawn up. That's solid muscle there. Deceptive, ain't it? Where Lacey failed, Chuck succeeded and Mark was still covering his mouth in surprise.

Congrats to all the contestants for putting on such a great show all season! As I thought, the lackluster Freestyle last night made a huge difference. Your thoughts? Anyone you want to see next season? Thanks for reading along and I'll see ya'll in the Fall!

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