After a nail-biting wait, “Dancing With the Stars” co-host Tom Bergeron announced that Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward and his partner, professional dancer Kym Johnson, have won the coveted mirrored ball in what ended up being the most-watched season in the show’s history.
“Starting in this competition, I never even dreamed I would be in the finals,” said Ward in a surprisingly steady voice. “I owe it all to Kym. She was the best teacher. I also want to thank all of the fans.”
Just then, Bergeron directed viewers’ attention to monitors that showed thousands of Steelers fans partying in an unknown location. It was a sea of supportive black and yellow jerseys and towels.
Although Ward didn’t win the much-desired, all-important Super Bowl, losing to the Green Bay Packers earlier this year, the win tonight required just as much effort and dedication for several months and was special to him as well.
Leading up to the long-awaited announcement of this season’s winner, Fox played the entire show from Monday night before entering a second hour. The second half featured The Black Eyed Peas singing “Don’t Stop the Party,” balladeer Josh Groban, pop singer Sarah Allen and performances by the professionals as well as the other contestants who were voted off in past weeks. Finally, the three pairs of dancers performed their favorite routines from the season. Their scores from the judges were combined with viewers’ votes to calculate the winner.
Comedian-actress Kirstie Alley, who reportedly lost some 38 inches during the show’s run and whose personality carried her far, came in second place. Surprisingly, Disney’s Chelsea Kane came in third. Kane, who was nearly an unknown before the show, was considered to be Ward’s toughest opponent.
To read past stories on “DWTS” and Hines Ward, search his name on rollingout.com.