Helio and Julianne Race to Dancing Victory
The most entertaining, most competitive season of DWTS ever–well, until that Marie Osmond babydoll nightmare, anyway–came down to this, the fifth season finale, and the season's champion is: Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough, who joins Cheryl Burke as only the second pro partner to win back-to-back DWTS championships.
Highlights of how we got to the awarding of the mirrored ball trophy:
•9:00: Recaps of Monday night's performances opened the show. And, yes, that surreal Marie Osmond freestyle really did happen.
•9:07: Guest Celine Dion croons "My Heart Will Go On," accompanied by a performance from the DWTS pro dancers.
•9:14: The third place finisher is announced, and it's Marie Osmond. Phew! Even you Osmond-ites out there know that she made it further than her dance talent truly warranted, no? Still, as Marie herself was fond of reminding us, it's a pretty impressive finish for a 48-year-old single mom of eight.
• 9:25: A highlight of some of the season's best performances is, no surprise, heavy on Helio Castroneves, Mel B. and Sabrina Bryan dances.
• 9:26: Josie Maran and Alec Mazo, the first pair to be voted off this season, dance. Did you even remember who the first contestant to get the boot was?
•9:28: Comedy outtakes from the season include Helio talking to his shoes, Marie chugging a bottle of water and Mel B. cursing out Maks.
•9:36: Maksim took his shirt off. Seemed noteworthy.
•9:51: Week six cast-offs Sabrina Bryan and pro partner (and real-life partner) Mark Ballas came back to perform their Cha-cha. Just reminds us of how the Cheetah Girl was cheated out of a spot in the finale.
•10:05: Cameron Mathison took his shirt off. Seemed very noteworthy.
• 10:07: Judge Bruno Tonioli threatened to take his pants. Seemed warning-worthy.
•10:12: Jennie Garth, who the judges called the most improved celeb contestant, and partner Derek Hough came back to dance the Mambo.
• 10:27: Top two finishers Helio and Mel B. are brought to the stage for the final performances, emerging from behind the stage through smoke machine clouds and twirling lights. Yes, this is definitely a filler-packed reality show finale.
•10:30: Mel and Maks perform one last time, repeating their memorable Mambo dance. "You dance like you were born to do this," said judge Carrie Ann Inaba. The judges' final score for Mel B. this season: 30.
• 10:41: Helio and Julianne's turn for a final performance, and they're dancing the Quickstep again, which they end with a nice long smooch. "Look what you do to these (the audience)," says judge Inaba. "That's what dancing's all about." The couple's final score of the season: 30.
•10:56: The lights go down and it's time to announce the winners: Helio and Julianne! Cue the confetti as the couple clutch their new mirrored ball prize.
And here's hoping that 1) next season will be just as exciting as season five; 2) that Marie Osmond will continue to design dolls, but never again dress like one; and 3) that producers will, in the future, spring for a trophy that doesn't look like it came from the Party City closeout aisle.
So tell us: Were you surprised Helio and Julianne took the trophy from Mel and Maks? –Kimberly Potts
Photo: CAROL KAELSON/ABC