May 26th, 2010
08:45 AM ET
Singer Nicole Scherzinger - hailed as the best celebrity dancer ever to appear on “Dancing With the Stars” - finally won the mirror ball trophy last night after 10 weeks of grueling competition that saw her wow the judges and fans after every performance.
Scherzinger and professional partner Derek Hough screamed and hugged when their names were announced at the end of the 2-hour season finale that featured most of the eliminated contestants back on the dance floor.
Olympic skating champ Evan Lysacek and his partner Anna Trebunskaya finished in second place, while ESPN correspondent Erin Andrews and her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy placed third.
“This has been the best season of ‘Dancing With the Stars’ ever,’” proclaimed judge Bruno Tonioli.
It was also one of the most talked about, with celebrity contestants that included actress Pamela Anderson, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and reality TV star Kate Gosselin.
Gosselin, who was described by co-host Tom Bergeron as the “most, most talked about,” quickly became the star fans loved to hate, especially after they got a glimpse of her awkward dancing, which was widely panned by the judges. (Her exit prompted more than 700 comments on this blog.)
But perhaps in a sign of just how much attention she brought to the show, Gosselin received her own segment last night, complete with rehearsal footage of her routine for the finale and an interview with the co-hosts.
She then reprised her Paso Doble to Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” and went on to dance to “I Will Survive” capped off with a bizarre finish that ended up with her being lifted up above the audience in what looked like a cherry picker. Everyone looked confused, including Gosselin.
But all eyes were on Scherzinger. For her final, “knock out” dance of the competition, Scherzinger performed an electric jive, channeling Tina Turner and overshadowing Lysacek’s quickstep.
“You set this place on fire,” said judge Carrie Ann Inaba and everyone was in full agreement. (Some fans, however, have questioned whether Scherzinger's experience as a performer gave her an unfair edge over the other contestants.)
Earlier, all three finalists performed sizzling Argentine tangos, with Scherzinger once again ranked first by the judges. It was after this round that Andrews and Chmerkovskiy (who have sparked rumors of a romance) were eliminated from the show.
She teared up and playfully urged Chmerkovskiy to do the same.
"Cry, Maks, cry!" Andrews exclaimed. (He didn't, but he looked pretty emotional.)
Both regained their composure for a final cha-cha. Whatever their relationship, they looked like two people who very much cared about each other.
Meanwhile, Lysacek was gracious about his second place finish.
"It's been such a blast," he said. "We're so proud of Nicole and Derek."
And so, this season of "DWTS" is over. The next one begins on September 20.
(Check out a gallery of some of the show's most memorable moments.)
What did you think of the results?
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