‘DWTS: All-Stars’: And the Winner Is…

'DWTS: All-Stars': Melissa Rycroft Wins Season 15 (Photo: ABC)

On Tuesday night, I was hoping “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” would step it up and deliver a really grand finale. I had to admit being a little disappointed in the Monday freestyles, as I felt all three routines lacked the wow factor of Donald Driver’s cowboy dance from last year.

However, I thought Melissa Rycroft and partner Tony Dovolani, with two perfect Monday night scores, would take first place with Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough in second and Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy winding up third. To me, Melissa had done more than enough to win, and Shawn’s gymnast friends had seemed like overkill in her freestyle.

With that being said, the show opened with a cool flashback montage from past seasons and revealed the alarming statistic that 175 people have competed on “DWTS.” Who knew?

Watch the Shocked Reactions to the “All-Stars” Winner Reveal:

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Then all the returning stars did a group number with Joey Fatone and Drew Lachey particularly cute in a duo segment in the beginning. Go, boy banders!

Cut to behind-the-scenes footage from Monday night in which Carrie Ann Inaba cried about Kelly’s first dance, “She lost hands!” Melissa’s re-tread segment from last night wasn’t very enlightening, then we relived Carrie Ann chiding Shawn and Derek for BREAKING THE RULES in their first dance. Oooh! That was bad. They disappointed the teacher.

Time for the encore dance and the judges’ final choice was for Shawn and Derek to reprise their freestyle so the gymnasts were in the house again. They had hijacked the show!

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But everyone in the press area was glad to see Kenny Mayne back to make fun of “DWTS” in the “Dance Center” segments that entertains us every season. Kenny thought Drew and Joey were in the finals! He also brilliantly poked fun at Mark Ballas and Maks Chmerkovskiy’s love for themselves.

The three final couples had to draw Insta-dance topics out of a phony mirror ball and Kelly and Val got jive to be performed to the song “Cat and Mouse.” Then Melissa and Tony chose a samba to be done to “Life is a highway” and Shawn and Derek were left with the cha cha and the song “Respect.”

Watch Part 1 of the Season Finale Results:

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Bristol Palin and Ballas were back for their exhibition dance and it went over like a lead balloon. Pamela Anderson and Tristan MacManus followed with a sexy number that had all kinds of dancing boys dressed in black. My friend in the press room said it looked like a burlesque show! In any case, it was a brand new number from Pam, so I gave her credit for starting from scratch after she’d been booted on week one.

Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower were next up and hopefully there would be no incidents of the race car driver stepping on her dress this time. It was adorable and bouncy and Helio got down in his knees to give his partner a plea during the number. Utterly charming. I wished he had made it farther in the competition.

Ann Romney and sons in the audience at “DWTS”! No Mitt.

Season 2 champ Drew would be doing a cha cha with Anna Trebunskaya and the singer’s daughter was going to perform with him. The couple had been eliminated after this dance, which was their best. Drew did a great one-handed cartwheel then brought his daughter onto the floor and swung her around. She aped a lot of her daddy’s moves and the reporters applauded wildly when it was done. Would they ever do a “DWTS: Children’s Edition”?

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Then everyone backstage was thrilled that the show chose to re-do the best group dance in “DWTS” history, the parody of the Gangnam Style video! This time, Joey and Kym Johnson subbed for Kelly and Val and when Kym did a cartwheel, I thought I saw a little, er, too much of Kym in a see-through bra. Hmm. Wonder if that will be obscured for the West Coast broadcast? Kirstie Alley appeared to have just as much trouble stripping out of the first part of her costume as last time around, which was hilarious. It didn’t beat the original performance, but I enjoyed Joey giving it his all in his only Gangnam go-round. I had re-watched the first “DWTS” version on XFINITY at least 30 times!

More Joey and Kym fun as the singer did an N’SYNC-inspired intro to a time-traveling exhibition routine. The duo emerged from Joey’s car on the ballroom floor and reporters speculated backstage that this was the number they had been working on before they got kicked off All-Stars. A couple of dance pro children joined them during the number — wow, it was kids’ night!

Sabrina Bryan and Louis Van Amstel followed, doing one of their slow numbers that showed off the Cheetah Girl’s graceful lines. But her pro bobbled her a bit this time, sadly. Her surprising exit in season 8 and on All-Stars will always be remembered.

Okay, so then the other team dancers did the “Call Me Maybe” group routine with Helio and Chelsie part of it this time. It was okay but not as good as Gangnam, natch.

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Back to “Dance Center” star Kenny Mayne, who dissed Emmitt Smith’s costumes as looking like highway reflectors and said Frenchman Gilles Marini was a man without a country, leading into a clip of the actor saying over and over how much he wanted to be an American.

Kirstie and Maks took their turn on the exhibition floor and her hair was in her face for most of the dance though she ended it with a sweet curtsey to the crowd. Gilles and Peta Murgatroyd followed with a re-boot of that fabulous Bollywood-style dance that was one of the season’s highlights.

Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff, who just missed being in the finale, did their lovely waltz and I felt it was better than when they performed it during competition. Emmitt and Cheryl Burke boogied to “Chain of Fools” in the last exhibition dance before we’d get to our final three going for the mirror ball. But first, Julianne Hough was shown hollering in the audience for her old partner Apolo. Was it more fun winning the “DWTS” trophy or acting in a movie with Tom Cruise? I wondered.

Mayne made fun of our finalists on “Dance Center,” citing Melissa’s “glow in the dark smile,” Kelly’s “mouth like a trucker,” and Shawn’s funny Chipmunk laugh.

The final three would perform their Insta-dances in their last try for big scores:

Kelly and Val: Insta-Jive
This couple started it off and it was really fast and fun and the ladies must have been pleased because the C brother stripped down to shirtless again. Judge Len Goodman said she’d nailed the footwork and Bruno Tonioli compared them to rabbits. According to Carrie Ann, there was a little bit of slipping around but they’d won the hearts of the audience. Brooke Burke-Charvet once again pressed the couple about their showmance or romance or whatever the heck it was supposed to be and a shot of all the other celebs laughing in the audience. The couple deflected it again and Val mumbled about friendship and how it didn’t necessarily have to be a boyfriend and girlfriend thing. As Kelly had told reporters last night, whatever! More importantly, they got screwed on the score.
Score: 28.5

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Melissa and Tony: Insta-Samba
This Insta-dance seemed tailor made for Melissa, who always did well in samba. That smile was still plastered on and she was at her butt-shaking best and even got applause from the press area. Bruno said she was a South American siren although the music wasn’t Brazilian enough. Carrie Ann said she rushed the music a hair and Melissa looked a little disappointed through her, yes, big smile. Len was muted in his criticism. Uh oh. A bad score coming? Same as Kelly got.
Score: 28.5

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Shawn and Derek: Insta-Cha cha
Did I mention at all this season that Shawn was a former gymnast? Ha. Anyway, Derek was crying in rehearsal about how Shawn had become the light of his life. This dance was very simple, looking like a week one or two dance but for Shawn, that meant it was head and shoulders above the rest. But the ending was strange with Shawn leaping through the air with her head landing in Derek’s nether regions. I figured Brooke wouldn’t ask the golden couple about their relationship, however. Carrie Ann called it a star-studded performance with Len deeming it fantastic and Bruno declaring they were going out with a bang. Maybe I was wrong and the gymnast would vault away with another mirror ball.
Score: 30

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Which woman would come out on top? First, the third-place finishers would be named and they were…Kelly and Val. The chemistry-laden couple was gracious in defeat and Kelly praised Val to the skies. I had guessed right on third place.
So Shawn and Melissa were the final two and eager to find out the results, and this was a $50,000 crystal-studded all-star mirror ball and well worth winning, people!

And the winners were…Melissa and Tony! Pandemonium in the press room! Everyone wanted this result, apparently, particularly for long-suffering Tony, who wound up on the shoulders of his fellow pro dancers. Congratulations to the ex-“Bachelor” beauty and her devoted pro! They deserved it.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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