Winner of 'Dancing With the Stars' is ...
Updated at 12:24 a.m. ET: It's over! Kellie Pickler is the winner of the 16th season of "Dancing With the Stars." The confetti rained down on the "American Idol" alum and country-music star as she was awarded the coveted (though some might call it a little tacky) mirror-ball trophy on Tuesday night. It's an honor she shares with her pro partner, Derek Hough, who now has the distinction of being the first ever four-time champ on the show.
"Oh my God!" a clearly surprised Kellie exclaimed when her big win was announced. "This is amazing."
It was an "amazing" win that came without the aid of the usual online voting via the official "Dancing" website, thanks to a technical glitch that affected East Coast voters. (According to host Tom Bergeron, in the spirit of fairness, none of the later votes cast on the site were counted either.)
While Disney star Zendaya (who came in second place for the season) was ahead of Kellie by one point going into the finale, Kellie's victory didn't exactly come as a shock. After all, viewers voted Kellie's emotion-packed contemporary freestyle -- the clear showstopper performance from Monday night -- the dance they most wanted to see again at the top of the show. Traditionally, the celebrity with the winning freestyle takes the trophy too, a trend that proved true once again on Tuesday night.
The results came after Kellie and her fellow finalists, Zendaya and Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones each performed one last dance, the dreaded "instant dance," wherein each of them learned the music they'd move to shortly before hitting the floor. (Olympic gymnast and final four competitor Aly Raisman didn't participate. She was cut just prior to the instant routines.)
Those last efforts earned rave reviews from the panel and perfect scores for all, but in fairness to Zendaya, her jive was a bit more "perfect" than Kellie's jive and much more so than Jacoby's salsa.
It was Kellie who earned the highest praise from the judges, though.
"I have to be honest with you," Bruno Tonioli told her after the dance, "you remind me of Julianne Hough."
Getting compared to the one of the best dancers ever on the show (and the sister of her own pro partner)? That almost counts as another win.
But those instant efforts weren't the only performances during the two-hour season ender. As is custom on finale night, many of the familiar faces who got the ballroom boot earlier in the competition returned to show off their fancy footwork (such as it is) too.
Reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump impressed with the crowd as she took a spin, both with her former partner Gleb Savchenko and with head judge Len Goodman. And actor-comedian Andy Dick? He reminded fans how he went from underdog to beloved ballroom beginner by delivering one last reason to cheer him on -- not so much for the second take at his Mad Hatter jazz routine (although it was just as entertaining as an encore), but for his willingness to poke fun at his own weepy ways with a mountain of tissue.
There was another returning hoofer hopeful to hit the floor too -- one who wasn't ousted from the game at all, but rather voluntarily bowed out of the ballroom bash. Former Olympic figure skater (and permanent America's sweetheart) Dorothy Hamill, who's past injuries hindered her earlier efforts, joined returning "Dancing" winner Kristi Yamaguchi in a beautiful synchronized routine. During her brief ballroom stint, Dorothy credited Kristi as her inspiration to join the show.
In an unfortunate bit of irony, Dorothy's original partner, Tristan MacManus couldn't join her due to his own injuries.
And that, plus a hefty dose of traditional finale filler, was all there was from the last Tuesday night results show of season -- and possibly ever. "Dancing With the Stars" will return in the fall, but the Tuesday episodes won't.
What did you think of the results?