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'DWTS' Backstage Q&A: Hines Ward and Kym Johnson on Winning the Mirrorball Trophy!

by Michael Maloney, posted May 25th 2011 7:00AM
Kym Johnson and Hines WardWith the scores among the three finalists in 'Dancing With the Stars' being so close it was going to come down to who had the strongest fan base. In the end, the Steeler Nation, the fan base of the pro football team that Hines Ward plays for in Pittsburgh, turned out to be stronger than all the 'Cheers' and 'Disney' fans.

Ward and his partner Kym Johnson took home the coveted mirrorball trophy. Emmy-winning actress Kirstie Alley and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy came in second. Disney star Chelsea Kane and partner Mark Ballas, who was celebrating his 25th birthday yesterday, came in third.

Immediately after the show, the ballroom dance floor turned into a media frenzy. ABC publicists quickly set up a press line with a white, plastic chain-link fence, separated by poles, with press on one side, stars and dancers on the other, and a flurry of interviews began.

AOL TV was on the scene to talk to the new champions, the runner-ups and other Season 12 participants.

"It's just incredible," Johnson told AOL TV shortly after the finale. "I feel so proud of Hines. We did it! I still can't believe it."

A delighted Ward said that he'll keep the coveted mirrorball next to his Super Bowl MVP trophy, but he was even happier that he helped give Johnson, a previous winner with Donny Osmond, her bookend statue.

"I really wanted Kym to win her second one," he said.

Ward wasn't sure he was going to win even after Kane was announced as the third-place winner and he was standing there with Alley. "I thought, 'Oh, geez. Everybody knows Kirstie!' I didn't know how I'd match up with her [when it came to votes.]"

"The [Pittsburgh] Steeler Nation was behind us," Johnson said with a smile. "Now I can rest and relax. This was worth it. I feel great."

Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy"I don't feel like we won," Alley said, acknowledging her second place finish, but she still feels like a victor. "We did an amazing job. You want to win and I didn't and we didn't. I can't say that I don't have any sadness about it. But that will probably change really fast when I drink a bottle of wine.

"I want to say one thing," the actress added. "Maks had a long way to go with me and he pulled it off. I wish we would have won and I wish he would have won. I really do. But I look at what evolved from the first day. I guess you could look at that as extraordinary."

Kane likewise had no regrets. "I'm so happy with this entire process," she said. "It feels really flattering to be included in the first place from the moment that 'DWTS' called me. To be in the company of a huge movie star and a huge sports star ... I've only been in the game for four years."

Winning for Ballas would have been a nice birthday gift, but Kane said he was doing fine. "If anything Mark and I are just sad that it's over. It's very bittersweet. We've spent a lot of time together and it's hard to say goodbye. It's not like, 'See you next season.' I'll never be able to do anything like this again in my life."

There are tears, she said, but "They're happy tears."

Chelsea Kane and Mark BallasCall her biased if you will, but Shirley Ballas, Mark's mother, a respected dancer and instructor, thought that her son and Kane did amazingly well. "I have my own opinion [as to the outcome] as a dancer. Chelsea was by far the best. I was a bit disappointed in Len [Goodman, judge] that he didn't have his own opinion. The judges' votes go a long way."

At the end of the day, however, Ballas knows that 'DWTS' is a TV show. "It's reality TV," she said. "It's not always about the dancing."

Ballas added, "We have a great winner [in Hines], Kirstie Alley is to be admired for the weight she lost and Chelsea is a great dancer."

Season 12 will be remembered as the installment when the drama returned to where it belongs -- on the dance floor (and not in the personal lives of contestants or in conflicts between dancers and celebrities.) The competition was so fierce that not even the pro dancers could predict who was going to win.

"We were trying to make bets backstage," says pro dancer Chelsie Hightower, who came in fifth place with her star partner, rapper Romeo. "[But] we didn't even know who to put a bet on. They've all had such amazing journeys."

In the end, she said, "We were excited to see Hines win. He's an amazing person."

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I love Dancing and dancing is my passion.

June 07 2011 at 2:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As long as there is a vote for the public, it will always be a popularity contest. As much as I like and admire Kirstir Alley, she was by no means a second place finisher. Both Ralph and Romeo were much better dancers, but hey it's all in the name of entertainment.

May 25 2011 at 10:15 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I love this show! I am a health advocate and I think any show that can motivate people to move their bootys is a good thing. Nice Booty Hines and what a good job moving it toward that mirror ball. Congratulations to a real champion!

May 25 2011 at 9:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
scarlett ribbon

What a big joke...they should take dancing with the stars off the air. Popularity competition!!!!!! Give me a break. We all know the best dancer was Chelsea and Mark. If we can"t vote for the best dancer, what kind of show is this. CHELSEA & MARK YOU ARE THE WINNERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 25 2011 at 8:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

please delete. Nelda

May 25 2011 at 8:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ihave no comment. please delete. Thank you

May 25 2011 at 8:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gwendolyn Clarke

Kirstie was robbed!!!!! YOU ROCK KIRSTIE.!!! I KNOW Kirstie and Maks should have gotten a ten in the free fall or whatever that was. You ever seen a 60 yr. old do a cartwheel, overweight? GOOD Kirstie is thinking about continuing her acting career. I remember her in Cheers and NORTH AND SOUTH, which I am buying on DVD. If I have to I can do anything, I am strong, I am invincible, I AM WOMAN....HEAR ME ROAR!!!! Go get 'em KIRSTIE!!! P.S. Kirstie has too much talent to be on the biggest loser, and she didn't wet her clothes, DON'T HATE.....!

May 25 2011 at 8:13 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Linda B

I always love Kirstie! and, wanted her or Hines to win! So glad Hines won! He was amazing, like he had been dancing all his life! Also, Kirstie was a stunner w/her dancing skills and her poise! I'm so happy for her, having lost all that weight. You go girl!

May 25 2011 at 8:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

lucky he can dance because he can't play football lol

May 25 2011 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Chelsea should've won. Unfortunately, the public has its own criteria.

May 25 2011 at 8:09 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

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