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Utahn Derek Hough, Amber Riley win 'Dancing With The Stars'

Published November 27, 2013 11:33 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

When the cast of Season 17 of "Dancing With the Stars" was announced, two celebs — Amber Riley from "Glee" and Corbin Bleu of "High School Musical" — stood out as shoo-ins. But who would have guessed that the final four would include overwhelming fan favorite Bill Engvall and dark horse Jack Osbourne?

In the end, with the last two couples standing together, Tom and co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet made the announcement — the winners of Season 17 were Amber Riley and Derek Hough.

Corbin was gracious in his acceptance — "I had more than fun," he said, but Amber had the statement of the night.

"I did this competition because i didn't know if I could do it. Anything that scares me, I want to do. I want women of all sizes out there to know you can do whatever you put your mind to. It doesn't matter what size you are, what color you are, you can do whatever you put your mind to," she said, as Keyshawn Johnson and Mark Ballas hoisted her to their shoulders in celebration.

If you missed the big opening of the season premiere, the cast gave everyone, including hundreds of fans in stands set up at the ballroom entrance, a repeat performance. To "A Little Party Never Hurt Nobody" choreographed by Mandy Moore, absolutely everyone was dancing — eliminated celebs and partners, plus all of the pros — while the audience stood, clapped and moved in place. It simply was a huge, glittering, two-hour party with all the highs (superior dances) and lows (unexpected eliminations) highlighted.

The show was full to the brim with entertainment, including a supersized "Foxing Awesome" team dance with Ylvis performing their hit song. There were also performances by Lady Antebellum, Enrique Iglesias and Colbie Caillat. And one of the highlights was a dance by Bill Nye and partner Tyne Stecklein that seemed to show Bill's improvement from his injury as he performed acrobatics all over the ballroom floor. "You would think he was a completely different person," declared host Tom Bergeron. (The dance was prerecorded with a stand-in doing the tricks, but it was a lot of fun.)

After all of the entertainment, it was time for the competition with three couples — Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff, Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke, and Amber Riley and Derek Hough — dancing fusion dances. As head judge Len Goodman explained, each dance was two styles done to one track of music and choreographed in less than 24 hours. Tom was at his spontaneous best, with quips sprinkled throughout the show. "This is so much better than the suggested essay portion," said Tom, after Len's explanation.

Corbin and Karina were first, dancing a cha cha/foxtrot. They were doing very well in the foxtrot but had some problems in the cha cha. Len told Corbin he was a fantastic dancer but he messed up one little part, and judge Bruno Tonioli agreed. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba said, "I can't believe we're still making you guys dance!" She also thought they were great in the foxtrot but "lost it in the cha cha."

Score: Carrie Ann, 9; Len, 9; Bruno, 9 = 27 plus 62 from Monday night for a total of 89

Jack and Cheryl had a tough assignment — paso doble/salsa, and Jack had never done a salsa. They brought excitement to the ballroom with a smooth mixture of the styles. Bruno said it was a "wonderful fusion" and the timing was very good. Carrie Ann liked the "back and forth" of the styles, but that Jack was slightly flat-footed in the salsa. Len told Jack, "Of all the celebrities, you have given me the most pleasure to watch. Week after week, you've gotten better and better."

Score: 9, 9, 9 = 27 plus 57 from Monday night for a total of 84

Finally, it was Amber and Derek's turn with what seems like an impossible mix — samba/quickstep. But the pair managed to make it look easy. Carrie Ann said they seamlessly and effortlessly created a new dance style: the "quisambastep"! Len told Amber that he never lost the thought of joy that he got from watching her, and that she was "absolutely bedazzling." Then he delivered the line of the night: "You, my little sausage, are a fantastic dancer!" As the crowd and dancers laughed, Bruno managed to add that Amber "counted every beat and did not put a foot wrong."

Score: 10, 10, 10 = a perfect 30 plus 64 from Monday night for a total of 94

Then, based on the viewers votes last night and the judges' scores tonight, Jack and Cheryl landed in third place. "I learned that I'm not a better dancer than my sister — we're tied." (Kelly Osbourne also placed third in the season she competed.) "I feel I won by going the distance."

After the announcement of Hough and Riley as the winners, there were tears flowing and smiles for miles.

It was a great show, with a perfect balance of short interviews, celebrity dances, entertainment and competition, and I don't think that there was more than a tiny amount of filler in the program. I hope that the producers of the show do something to improve the voting to reduce the amount of confusion before Season 18 begins in March. It's been a blast — keep dancing.