Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke win ABC's 'Dancing with the Stars 2'
By Reality TV World staff, 02/27/2006
Former 98 Degrees member Drew Lachey and professional dance partner Cheryl Burke won the second season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars on Sunday evening, defeating NFL legend Jerry Rice and partner Anna Trebunskaya in the live finale of the smash-hit reality ballroom dancing competition.
Stacy Keibler and partner Tony Dovolani, who had averaged the competition's highest judging scores prior to Thursday night's first part of Dancing with the Stars 2's two-part season finale and were considered to be the judges' favorites, finished third despite placing only one point behind Lachey and Burke on the judges' final scoring leaderboard.
Rice and Trebunskaya -- who the judges had consistently deemed to be a notch below the finale's two other couples -- had finished third in the judges' scoring but rode Rice's strong home viewer voting support to second place in the finale's overall standings (Dancing with the Stars determines its overall rankings by adding each couple's ranking on the judging panel and home viewer leaderboards together equally, with the combined total determining each round's overall standings and the home viewer rankings serving as any tiebreaker.)
Rice and Trebunskaya had demonstrated extraordinary home viewer support during recent weeks, with the 43-year-old recently retired NFL player and his partner receiving the most viewer votes during each of Dancing with the Stars 2's three previous weekly rounds. Given his previous status as the Dancing with the Stars 2's home viewer leaderboard leader (a fact largely unacknowledged on the show's broadcasts but reported by media outlets such as Entertainment Tonight), Rice's second place finish was not a surprise to those aware of his strong home viewer support and familiar with Dancing with the Stars' scoring system.
Due to his comparatively poor judging panel scores, the only way Rice could have won Dancing with the Stars 2's finale would have been if he had once again led the viewer voting and the final combined leaderboard had resulted in a three-way tie for first place. Rice's spoiler role was similarly also largely predetermined, with his record of strong home viewer support making it unlikely that the dancing couple that ended up in second place on the judges' final leaderboard would be able to finish first in the overall combined leaderboard.
Lachey, the 29-year-old brother of soon-to-be Jessica Simpson ex-husband Nick Lachey, had entered Sunday's finale atop the judges' leaderboard based on his performance in the two Thursday night dances in which the home viewers finale voting and two-thirds of the judging panel's finale scoring was based. Dancing with the Stars' three-person judging panel had given Lachey and Burke perfect scores in both of the paso doble and western-inspired freestyle dances they had performed on Thursday, giving them a perfect 60 out of 60 possible points.
Keibler and Dovolani had earned 56 out of 60 possible points on Thursday, with the judges giving perfect scores to their jive but only 26 out of 30 points to the couple's Saturday Night Fever-inspired freestyle performance. Rice and Trebunskaya had ranked third in the judges' rankings after Thursday's show, receiving 53 out of 60 possible points (26 points for their foxtrot and 27 points for their '70s-influenced freestyle dance.)
The rankings on the judges' leaderboard remained unchanged after the couples performed their third-and-final finale dance during Sunday night's second part of Dancing with the Stars 2's finale. Rice and Trebunskaya received 27 points for their cha-cha, giving them a final finale total of 80 out of 90 possible points.
Although she was struggling with an ankle injury, 26-year-old Keibler received a perfect score for what appeared to be a comparatively unremarkable samba performance. The scoring gave Keibler and Dovolani a final finale total of 86 out of 90 possible points -- a score that just happened to put them within striking range of Lachey and Burke and momentarily add some much-needed suspense to the drawn-out two-hour finale broadcast. However Lachey and Burke subsequently managed to hold to their lead by receiving 27 points for their jive, giving them a final finale total of 87 out of 90 possible points.
Woooooooo!" Lachey yelped after being asked for his reaction to the win. "I'm the luckiest man in the world right now." "It's an ugly trophy but you still want to win," Lachey had remarked prior to the announcement of the competition's winner.
Ten couples competed on the second edition of Dancing with the Stars. Sportscaster Kenny Mayne, actress Tatum O'Neal, newscaster Giselle Fernandez, rapper P. Miller (Master P), actress Tia Carrere, actor George Hamilton, and actress Lisa Rinna were eliminated in the seven weeks leading up to the show's finale.