Photo Credit: ABC/ADAM TAYLOR
It's been a long, tough season for the contestants of Dancing with the Stars, but Kirstie Alley, Chelsea Kane and Hines Ward managed to dance their way all the way into the finals.
Yet on Tuesday night's finale of the dance competition, NFL star Ward and partner Kym Johnson were crowned season 12 champs of the ABC dance competition. "Starting this competition, I never thought I would be in the finals," the NFL star said. "But I owe it all to Kym. She's an amazing teacher."
Ward wowed the crowd weekly not only with his agility on the dancefloor but with his killer smile and infectious personality. Even with partner Kym Johnson's scary neck injury less than two weeks ago, the gracious pair managed to snag a spot in the finals. The reprise of their energetic samba was rewarded with a perfect 30-point score.
All three couples danced their favorite routines of the past 10 weeks to obtain one final set of scores from judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli. Throughout the season, Disney Channel star Kane, 22, and pro partner Mark Ballas were often criticized for their unorthodox choreography. But Kane's youth, stamina and natural talent came through loud and clear as they performed an edgy Viennese Waltz, which earned the third-place finishers a perfect 30.
Going into Tuesday night's finale, Alley (who showed off her dramatic weight loss in a severely altered version of a costume she wore on the show's first episode this season) and her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy trailed the other two teams by five points. But week after week, the 60-year-old actress' determination had the audience and judges on their feet, and the couple managed to end it all on a high note with a perfect 30 from the judges for their cha-cha-cha.
"It's like the most extraordinary adventure I've ever been on in my life," Alley told cohost Brooke Burke after the pair's second-place finish was announced. "I want to thank Maks. I love Maks."
Dancing with the Stars returns Sept. 19 with a brand-new cast for season 13.