Hines Ward is the new king of ballroom! He and his pro partner, Kym Johnson, were awarded the mirrorball trophy on last night's "Dancing With The Stars" season finale. Hines' victory wasn't surprising because he's been a leading contestant throughout the season. The real shocker was that the aging sitcom actress Kirstie Alley knocked Disney kid Chelsea Kane out of second place. Clearly Kirstie's super-awkward cartwheel during her freestyle wasn't enough to overshadow her fame and general like-ability for the American voting audience.
The rest of last night's show was chock-full of video clip packages (yawn) which were interspersed with repeat dances by eliminated contestants (blah) and performances by The Black Eyed Peas and The Go-Go's (fast-forward). If I had to sum the show up in one word, I'd go with "meh." (Full disclosure: I know that "meh" isn't actually a word. My apologies.)
Rather than ramble on about how bored I was by last night's show (soooo bored), I'd like to end the season on a positive note. Without further ado, here are five things I really liked about Season 12.
- The introduction of the "DWTS" Dance Troupe. These up-and-coming ballroom professionals offered entertaining performances week after week. They were the highlight of every results show. I hope they get even more screen time next season!
- The series of inspirational stories that showed the "power of dance" (those were Tom Bergeron's words.) Last week's performance by Tayla Kelly—the 13-year-old dancer who suffers from primary immunodeficiency disease but who can still keep up with the best comp kids on the scene—warmed my heart. I applaud "DWTS" for opting to cut out a few lame video packages and use the time to shine a light on real, hardworking dancers who've overcome serious challenges. Bravo.
- The general increase in the number of fresh performances in the results shows. I'll admit that I don't have any hard stats to support this claim, but overall it seemed like we saw more real dancing in this season's results shows than ever before. Yes, the introduction of the "DWTS" Dance Troupe helped, but it also felt like the show's regular pros had more chances to perform onstage and it seemed like many of the musical guests helped by bringing dance-heavy songs to the show. Do you agree?
- Host Brooke Burke's new-and-improved wardrobe. Brooke has always been stunning, but this season her classier-than-ever gowns took her look to a whole new level. In season's past, I always thought Brooke's outfits made her look like a cougar rather than a confident woman in her 30s. Her dresses were always too short and too tight, and she just came off like she was trying too hard to be a hot 20-something. This time around, she sported gowns with more length and flattering lines and it made her overall appearance much more elegant. Keep it up, Brooke! You look fantastic.
- Tom Bergeron. No, he's not new. He's my constant "DWTS" favorite and I thought he deserved one more mention before we say goodbye to this season for good. Tom is clearly aware of how cheesy his show can be, and when things get too out of hand (say, whenever Bruno or Len go off on tangents) he's always there to bring everyone back to earth with a well-timed crack. Love him!