1. Headline
  1. Headline
MONACO, MAZO
Ho  /  Reuters FILE
Kelly Monaco and Alec Mazo surprised many by winning "Dancing With the Stars."
updated 7/7/2005 1:02:59 AM ET 2005-07-07T05:02:59

Kelly Monaco tore up the dance floor Wednesday night with a hip-shaking samba and emerged the champion of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

The “General Hospital” star upset the odds-on favorite, John O’Hurley, on the runaway hit ballroom dancing competition. In the end, she proved more fleet of foot than O’Hurley, famous for playing J. Peterman on “Seinfeld.”

Paired with professional dancer Alec Mazo, Monaco, 29, got the lowest mark from the judges in the first competition of the six-episode series. But she stormed back from there.

“All my life I’ve been the underdog,” said Monaco after being announced as the winner on the live program. “I know it’s such a sap story, but I have.”

Earlier in the brief season, judge Bruno Tonioli, a choreographer, criticized Monaco’s then-stoic look: “Is there a death in the family? Your face, it’s like somebody died.”

In week four, Monaco had to rebound again — her bodice strap snapped, a nearly disastrous “wardrobe malfunction.” But she impressed the audience and the judges by still completing the samba while struggling to hold her scanty green outfit in place.

After a lukewarm reception from the judges during her and her partner’s first number Wednesday night, Monaco referred to the mishap, saying: “I have to lose my top more often.”

But Monaco and Mazo’s second, freestyle routine went better, winning the show’s only perfect score of 30. That, combined with phone-in votes after last week’s program, gave them the trophy.

Judge Carrie Anne Inaba, also a choreographer, had earlier repeatedly called the 50-year-old O’Hurley and his partner, Charlotte Jorgensen, “the couple to beat.”

“Dancing with the Stars” has been the surprise hit of the normally quiet summer TV schedule. Last week, it was easily the most watched show, pulling in 18.6 million viewers.

Contestants who were previously eliminated (each coupled with a pro partner) were Joey McIntyre (of New Kids on the Block); model Rachel Hunter; Trista Sutter of “The Bachelorette”; and former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Jeff Dunahoo / www.11alive.com

    Introducing the #unselfie: Photos celebrate unselfish acts

    4/17/2014 6:17:54 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T18:17:54
  1. ‘Mom … I love you’: Texts from students on sinking ferry

    Heartbreaking text messages from high school students on board the sinking ferry off South Korea painted a picture of terror and tragedy on board as the hunt for survivors continued Thursday.

    4/17/2014 6:07:02 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T18:07:02
  1. Would your kitchen pass a health inspection? 6 mistakes you may be making

    Do you use the same kitchen towel to wipe your hands and counters? Peter DeLucia, assistant health commissioner for Westchester County in New York shares some common (and uncommon) health risks.

    4/17/2014 5:30:15 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T17:30:15
  1. Florian Schneider / Florian Schneider/NBC

    Get the look: Have your own 'Parenthood' patio

    4/17/2014 6:25:21 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T18:25:21
  1. Nordstrom; Bloomindales

    Under $100: Spring skirts for every style

    4/17/2014 5:46:37 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T17:46:37