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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Shawn Johnson wins Dancing With the Stars: The mighty moppet takes out the cheerleader and the Eurohunk

Johnson_ballas_5 More than actual dance ability, Dancing With the Stars fans love nothing more than transformation.

That's why they overlooked the show's best dancer -- model/hunk Gilles Marini -- to hand Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson the crown for the dance competition's eighth cycle Tuesday night, rewarding Johnson's startling growth into a frontrunner more than Marini's steady excellence.

Bachelor alum Melissa Rycroft, who landed on Dancing after that show's bachelor dumped her on national TV, inadvertently relived a harsh joke cracked by pro roaster/former contestant Jeff Ross when he wondered "what if she comes in second on this show, too?" But Rycroft, who likely never expected to survive the early rounds, seemed happy to place third.

Of course, it took more than 90 minutes of the two-hour finale before viewers even saw the three finalists dance, as the audience was subjected to performance by all the constants who had already been kicked off the show.

Low point here: watching Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak nearly crack a vertebra trying to do the worm on cue. And watching comic David Alan Grier try to be gracious weeks after cursing out judge Carrie Ann Inaba following his ejection.

Filler, thy name is the Dancing finale.

Warned by Olympic skater Apolo Ohno that no Olympian had ever made it to the Dancing finals without winning, Johnson kept the streak alive, leveraging her button-cute looks, Olympic tenacity and increasing skill into a victory that nevertheless is bound to leave a bad taste in the mouth of a few longtime fans.

Nobody ever said reality TV was fair.

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[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:58pm]

    

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