The dancing was top-notch and the competition was intense, but there could be only one winner as the latest season of "Dancing With the Stars" came to a close Tuesday night (May 24). After the rest of the season's contestants and a string of musical guests, it was Hines Ward who received the series' coveted mirror-ball trophy alongside partner Kym Johnson.
"You know, starting this competition, I never thought I'd be in the finals," the NFL champion told host Tom Bergeron. "But I owe it all to Kym. She's an amazing teacher, and I want to thank the judges for giving us the constructive criticism to help me get better each week. Also, I want to thank all the fans."
Before Hines was announced as the champ, the last couples duked it out in the competition's final dance round, where all three celebrity contestants wowed the judges. Kane performed the waltz (30/30 =), Alley grooved to the cha-cha (30/30) and Hines danced the samba (30/30).
Ward's victory wasn't the only highlight during the finale. Mike "Psycho Mike" Catherwood, the season's first castoff, taped a skit of himself trying out for different dance troupes before showing off his new and improved moves on the dance floor. Petra Nemcova offered fans a flashback when she danced the waltz to a live rendition of "You Raise Me Up" from special guest Josh Groban. Kendra Wilkinson played up her Playmate persona by dancing in a shimmery yellow ensemble with a foursome of dance partners. Unfortunately, her attempt to dazzle the audience nearly fell flat when the reality starlet almost slid the judge's table, only to have her partner act fast and catch her.
Some celebs in the audience included "Dancing With the Stars" alumni Aaron Carter and Brandy. The show brought out even more star power throughout the night when the Black Eyed Peas, the Go-Go's and Sara Evans took over the stage to perform eye-catching numbers. With a glow-in-the-dark stage setup (and accompany robot gear), BEP brought the audience to their feet with new single "Don't Stop the Party." While the Go-Go's celebrated the 30th anniversary of their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, by performing their hit "We Got the Beat," former "Dancing With the Stars" contestant Evans was on hand to perform her song "A Little Bit Stronger."
Did Hines deserve to win? Let us know in the comments!