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LOS ANGELES - Race-car driver Helio Castroneves upset Spice Girl Melanie Brown to capture the Dancing With the Stars mirror-ball trophy last night.
"It will look so good between my two Indy 500 trophies," Castroneves said.
He and his partner, Julianne Hough, came into the finals in second place, one point behind Brown and Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Both received perfect scores of 30 from the judges in their final dance yesterday.
Overall, Brown was by far the more polished performer, consistently wowing the judges with her versatility and flair. But Castroneves' personality and enthusiasm, plus an effortless quickstep on his final performance, earned enough viewer votes to carry the day. His partner, Hough, also had won last season's competition, with speed skater Apollo Anton Ohno.
Afterward, Castroneves said that he was "shocked" by the victory: "I was not expecting it. Mel, she's an incredible dancer."
Brown admitted that losing "was a horrible feeling. I'm not going to deny it."
Earlier yesterday, as expected, Marie Osmond was the first finalist to be eliminated. She and her partner, Jonathan Roberts, came into the finals in third place with 46 points after a doll-inspired freestyle routine that was panned by judges and bloggers alike.
Osmond, 48, had enjoyed strong viewer support throughout the hit show's fifth season while enduring the death of her father and fainting on stage.
The show "gave me something that I knew was solid, something I can count on," she said in a segment recorded before her ouster. "It's been one of the best experiences of my life."
The ABC show began with a dozen dancers.
Model-actress Josie Maran was the first to be eliminated. Other nixed contestants were actresses Sabrina Bryan, Jennie Garth, and Jane Seymour, billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, entertainer Wayne Newton, boxer Floyd Mayweather, actor Cameron Mathison, and model Albert Reed.34.05349 -118.2453