LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - They did the tango, the samba and the quickstep, and when the music stopped Brooke Burke and Derek Hough won U.S. television contest “Dancing With the Stars,” waltzing away with the coveted mirror ball trophy.
Their victory on Tuesday night capped a stunning season for Burke, the 37-year-old former host of E! television show “Wild On,” and her professional dancing partner Hough.
The pair came in first place in eight episodes of the show and topped the season of one of U.S. TV’s most popular shows with a perfect score of 30 on the final night and 88 points out of 90 for their last three dances.
Dancing a Viennese waltz, Burke and Hough beat former ‘NSync singer Lance Bass, 29, and his dancing pro Lacey Schwimmer, as well as one-time professional football player Warren Sapp, 35, and his partner Kym Johnson.
“Unbelievable,” was all that Burke could utter upon finally winning the program.
Hough, who suffered from a sore back in a season filled with injuries to other competitors, also seemed overwhelmed.
“The journey’s been so long. It’s been tough. It’s been wonderful. It’s been everything I could ever hope for,” Hough said.
Sapp, who finished No. 2, had become an audience favorite for his showmanship, but his lack of skilled footwork hurt his chances with the show’s judges. He and Johnson did the hustle in their last dance on Tuesday and earned a total 80 out of 90 in the final round of dances.
Finishing third was Bass who struggled early in the season but improved throughout. He had gained momentum going into Tuesday’s finale by becoming the only contestant to beat Burke. But a final jitterbug earned Bass a total 81 of 90 for the last three dances and was not enough to top Burke.
Winners are decided by a combination of judges’ scores and audience voting.
“Dancing with the Stars,” on the ABC broadcast network, is among the most popular U.S. TV shows and while ratings slipped slightly in its seventh season, the program still drew around 20 million viewers a week.
Along with the dancing, Tuesday’s finale was filled with appearances from singers Alicia Keys and Miley Cyrus and former contestants such as 82 year-old Cloris Leachman, who delighted audiences this season with her sense of humor.
Other former contestants who danced in the finale included actor Cody Linley, daytime TV star Susan Lucci and comedian Jeffrey Ross.
ABC is a unit of The Walt Disney Co..
Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith