Although it’s not always the one who best deserves the mirrorball trophy that wins it, for season 15, there were three lovely women who had worked hard, but also professional dancers who had been challenged this season with never before attempted dances.
Two of the three had won mirrorball trophies before, but it was reality show personality and host Melissa Rycroft and her partner Tony Dovolani who took the mirrorball trophy. It was a first for both.
Dovolani has been with DWTS every season since he debuted on season 2 with wrestler Stacy Kiebler. They finished third and until Tuesday night (Nov. 27), that was the best finish for Dovolani. Dovolani had finished third again during season 8 with Rycroft; Shawn Johnson and her then-partner Mark Ballas took home the mirrorball trophy that season with Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke in second place.
Dovolani and Keibler received 15 tens during season 2 with four perfect scores (samba and jive). Dovolani was paired with Broadway star Marissa Jaret Winokur for a fourth place finish on season 6.With Winokur he received no perfect scores or tens.
This time, Dovolani and Rycroft beat Johnson. During season 8 with Rycroft, Dovolani earned 13 tens and two perfect scores, both for samba. Johnson and Ballas received 14 tens with three perfect scores. They received 21 tens for five perfect scores. This season with Hough, Johnson had 21 tens and three perfect scores.
Monday night, Rycroft and Dovolani were perfect.
- Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 30/30 for a samba to “Conga” by Gloria Estefan
- Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 29.5/30 (9.5,10.0,10.0) for a paso doble to ” Espana Cani“by Erich Kunzel
- Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 27/30 (9.0,8.5,9.5) for a quickstep to “Hey Pachuco”by Royal Crown Revue
The super-sized freestyle added other people, making this more like “America’s Got Talent.” Each group added different people, but the standings remained the same. Johnson and Hough and Rycroft and Dovolani posted perfect scores, but Monaco and Val were only a half-point behind.
- Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 30/30 to “I Was Here” by Beyonce with trapeze artists.
- Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 30/30 to “Carnival de Paris” by Dario G with the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastic Team who had just competed this summer in London (Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber).
- Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 29.5/30 (10.0,9.5,10.0) to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes with troupe members and a church choir. Monaco did some aerial tissu.
At the end of Monday night the rankings were:
- Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 60/60
- Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 59/60
- Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 57/60
In the final dance on Tuesday night, it was an instant Latin round.
- Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 30.0 (10.0,10.0,10.0) for cha cha cha to “Respect” by Aretha Franklin
- Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 28.5 (9.5,9.5,9.5) for a Samba to “Life Is A Highway” by Tom Cochrane
- Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 28.5 (9.5,9.5,9.5) for a jive to “Cat and Mouse” by Nikki & Rich
At the end of Tuesday night, the judges ranking was:
- Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 88.5/90
- Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 87.5/90
- Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 87/90
The rankings didn’t change, leaving Rycroft and Dovolani the winners, but the audience favored Johnson and Hough over Monaco and Chmerkovskiy. Rycroft is only the second TV personality to win the mirrorball trophy (the first was Brooke Burke with Derek Hough during season 7). She is the seventh female winner and the only reality TV star to win.
Dovolani has always seemed like a nice guy, even when he had what seemed like the ultimate challenge: Kate Gosselin. Their paso doble to Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” has become infamous.
Rycroft and Dovolani are perfect champions for season 15 of “Dancing with the Stars.”