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Dancing with the Stars season finale recap: Helio Gets the Checkered Flag

The choice between the final three comes down to performance vs. technique and talent vs. fan base; and Marie Osmond comes in last (phew!); plus, Cameron Mathison strips!

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Dancing With the Stars

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Tom Bergeron, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, Erin Andrews, Julianne Hough
Current Status:
In Season

”Dancing With the Stars” recap: The finale!

Zig-a-zig, arrrrgggh!

Behold the new winner of Dancing With the Stars: not Marie Osmond! (That’s all most people cared about, right?) Race-car driver and champion of smiling Helio Castroneves edged out Scary Spice to win the coveted ”splendid” mirror-ball trophy, which always looks smaller in person, even when that person is Helio. We can rest assured that he deserved to win because the owner of Penske Racing said so. Helio is the second partner of Julianne’s to switch from racing around in circles (lame!) to twirling around a ballroom (spectacular!) and handily win it all. And Julianne has now joined Cheryl as the show’s second repeat pro champion. Congrats to both winners, especially Helio for overcoming his initial phobia of sequins throughout the season. If your priorities for enjoying this show are anywhere near as warped as mine, it really made a difference.

Of course, I’m disappointed for Mel, but more than that, I was pleasantly surprised (and a bit shocked, considering her rabid fan base of ”thousands and thousands of doll collectors”) that Marie was declared the second runner-up early in the episode. Stowing Marie safely off camera allowed us to focus on the 7000 filler segments featuring mostly Helio and Mel that peppered the finale in between live dances.

Now, results-show filler is usually cringe-worthy, but I have to admit I truly enjoyed everything this time. All of my friends will disown me for what I’m about to type, but I honest-to-Maks teared up at Celine Dion’s performance of ”My Heart Will Go On,” just after Cheryl fluttered out and flung herself backwards onto Mark’s knee. Her commitment to the moment reminded me of my blind devotion to the entire ridiculous series, and I just lost it! They’re all so beautiful! You think I’m joking but I’m not! Sniff!

Of course, I was only being a total softie about the filler because it was the last show of the season and in a few hours I was about to get my life back. But tell me with a straight face that you weren’t completely delighted during that 2001: A Space Odyssey smoke-machine fiasco. I was surprised they didn’t place the trophy in the center of the stage to represent the monolith, which would aptly make the two couples the groveling gorillas. But no matter. This was another one of those blatantly over-the-top DWTS treats that as a loyal viewer, you’re somewhat embarrassed by, until a few seconds later, when you boldly declare to no one in particular, ”F— it, I love this s—!” At least that’s been my experience.

My favorite segment was the sort of ”blooper reel” of the final three, which contained Helio chastising each of his misbehaving feet in a dramatic monologue, Julianne accidentally dancing into a glass wall, extended footage of Maks’ belching regimen (who knew?), and possibly the greatest unscripted exchange ever between two partnered contestants: Mel: ”God!” Maks: ”Just call me Maks.” They could have played this entire segment three times and I would have sat there, feeding bowl in outstretched hands, begging for more. Anything that prompts Tom to make the disclaimer ”And they’re all sober” afterward works for me.

By the time we got to the whole Diva vs. Driver segment, featuring the lovely (or as Mel would say, ”loave-ly”) graphic above — in which they really could have done Mel a favor and re-proportioned her noggin down to an Helio-ish scale — we were beyond ready to hear Tom proclaim the winner of ”history’s greatest celebrity-dancing accolade.” Oh, the hilarity! Helio got a container of milk! And the judges looked not too excited! And…confetti! And…scene.

NEXT: Stripping star search!