Jennifer Grey wins TV's "Dancing with the Stars"

Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:42pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Jennifer Grey won television's "Dancing With the Stars" contest on Tuesday, while Bristol Palin, whose survival on the show sparked nationwide controversy, finished in third place.

Grey, 50, who co-starred with the late Patrick Swayze in the 1987 movie "Dirty Dancing", was named champion at the end of a two-hour broadcast and a record number of public votes.

Kyle Massey, 19, a former child star on the Disney Channel show "That's So Raven," was runner-up.

Grey, who danced through much of the season with injuries and said she suffered a ruptured disc in her back on Monday, had been the front-runner after scoring consistently high marks from the judges.

But her claim on the mirror ball trophy seemed at risk as Palin, the daughter of conservative politician Sarah Palin, waltzed into the finals on a tide of public support despite coming bottom with the judges for more than six weeks.

"This has been a life-changing experience," the 20-year-old single mom said of her third-place finish. "I am very blessed to be here. I've had a ball."

Palin again scored the lowest with judges in her final tango and cha cha cha dances on Tuesday, but was praised for her improvement over the last three months.

The winner was determined by a combination of scores from the three judges and what producers said was a record amount of email and phone votes from the audience at home of more than 20 million viewers.   Continued...

<p>Professional dancer Derek Hough and his partner Jennifer Grey celebrate after being named champions of "Dancing with the Stars" and winners of the coveted mirror ball trophy during the finale show in this November 23, 2010 handout photo. REUTERS/Adam Larkey/Handout</p>