After a thrilling night of ballroom competition, “Dancing with the Stars” crowned its Season 10 champions.
Nicole Scherzinger and professional partner Derek Hough bested Olympic gold medal men’s figure skater Evan Lysacek and his ballroom lady, Anna Trebunskaya, and ESPN’s Erin Andrews and her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, to walk away with the coveted mirrorball trophy. Evan and Erin finished second and third respectively.
Nicole had no words upon learning the news. The Pussycat Dolls frontwoman simply screamed with glee at having bested a determined competitor and his flame-haired partner. Derek, however, whose win with Nicole was his second ever (he previously won with Brooke Burke in Season 7), quickly filled the void.
“Everyone’s been amazing,” he told show co-host Tom Bergeron. “I’m so happy.”
The pair managed to win thanks to a combination of viewer votes and their two-night competition score of 115 out of a total 120 points. Evan and Anna scored just 108.
Although it was the final show, there was still competition to be had. Shortly after the show opener – which featured appearances from Season 10 cast members Shannen Doherty, Kate Gosselin and Pamela Anderson – the then three remaining finalists – Nicole, Evan and Erin, chose to dance an Argentine tango with their pros for a new judges’ score.
Erin and Maks took third for the round, which led to their elimination from the competition. The ESPN presenter wasn’t surprised and she was ready with a heartfelt thanks to the show for helping her get her mojo back following the well-reported trial of her stalker.
“This experience has meant everything to me,” she said. “I came here under really crummy circumstances and I just wanted to get my life back together — and my smile… I just wanted to be myself again and you guys have been amazing.”
With Erin out, the two celebs who had battled it out for the leaderboard’s top spot all season were left to do it one last time. Nicole and Derek pulled out their strongest routine to date for their final number – a jive to “Proud Mary,” with Nicole dressed in a Tina Turner-esque, thigh skimming gold-fringed dress. The singer looked amazing, but her dance with Derek was what really floored the judges.
“There are 12 days of Christmas, there were seven dwarfs, four Beatles, [but] there can only be one winner of ‘Dancing with the Stars,’” British judge Len Goodman said as the two rounded out their evening with a perfect score – 30 out of 30. “It should be you.”
Evan and Anna, however, had no intention of giving up, whipping out a quickstep that was energetic and fun, but it was given just a 28 out of 30. Carrie Ann Inaba reminded Evan though, that his drive and determination made him win “the hearts of…everyone here.”
A true gentleman, Evan was ever gracious after learning of his second place finish.
“It’s been such a blast. We were totally satisfied with everything we gave in these last few weeks and we’re so proud of Nicole and Derek,” Evan said. “They deserve [it] and they worked so hard and they inspired all the rest of the couples in the competition.”
The season finale wouldn’t have been complete without some drama and that came in the form of Kate Gosselin, who returned to dance again with her partner this season, Tony Dovolani. The program showed footage of Kate and Tony rehearsing for the final show, and just like earlier in the season, there was trouble in the studio after Kate asked Tony to make their dance more technical.
“I wanted to make the choreography more difficult because that’s really who I am. Give me a challenge, make it harder,” she said.
While she set her goals high, Kate had trouble in the rehearsal room and began protesting.
“I definitely feel like I’m gonna look dumb. I still want people to be like, ‘Oh, dear,’” Kate said.
“I would guess that 90 percent of my audience doesn’t like me. I’m so controversial,” she told Tony, later adding, “I could stand in the middle of the floor, and just stand there. People would judge, it doesn’t matter if I did a Nicole or Evan performance, I would still get picked apart to pieces so I might as well just have fun with it.”
Kate did seem to have fun with it on her final number, dancing once again to Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.” She whipped across the floor, still stiff, but showing a few more moves than she exhibited over the season, before the tune changed to “I Will Survive” and Kate whipped off her long skirt to reveal a mini. The number ended with the reality star on a studio crane that lifted her up as she held her arms open to the sky.
Also joining the finale was Jake Pavelka, who was eliminated early on in the season. He hit the stage with his original “Dancing” partner, Chelsie Hightower, who waltzed off the stage leaving him to dance to “On The Wings of Love,” his “Bachelor” theme, with his ladylove, Vienna.