Just call him ’Twinkle Toes’ Castroneves
It all came down to a "dance-off" between Castroneves and Spice Girl Melanie Brown to determine the winner of the mirror ball trophy.
As expected, both received perfect 30 scores from the three-judge panel.
The viewer vote broke the tie.
Helio Castroneves' Baby Borgs will have some company in the trophy case of his Coral Gables, Fla., home with the addition of the "Dancing with the Stars" mirror ball championship trophy.
"It will look so good between my two Indy 500 trophies," Castroneves said.
Brown admitted that losing "was a horrible feeling. I'm not going to deny it."
Castroneves acknowledges he didn't fathom what the "Dancing with the Stars" experience entailed when he first entered the rehearsal hall.
After 12 weeks of blistered feet and a bloodied knee, an occasional bruised ego and even his professional dance partner Julianne Hough competing in the championship round with bronchitis, Castroneves continued to smile and strive to improve.
Castroneves said that he was "shocked" by the victory: "I was not expecting it. Mel, she's an incredible dancer."
Earlier in the evening, Marie Osmond was eliminated based on voting total/scores from the previous night.
Exuding what actors/dancers call the "It" factor – stage presence and personality that engages the audience – Castroneves was an instant hit with the viewers/voters who controlled half of the contestants' standing. Voting via phone, text message and online were combined with the scores of the three-judge panel.
"Watch what you do to these people," judge Carrie Ann Inaba said after their "dance-off" performance that received another standing ovation. "That's what dancing is all about."
What remained to polish was Castroneves' footwork. Hough, who guided Olympic speed skating medalist Apolo Anton Ohno to the championship last year, worked her magic with the race car driver who was the only non-entertainer among the final six competitors.
Castroneves' fortunes in the weekly competition that began with 12 celebrity contestants began to look up in Week 8 when he and Hough nailed their Quickstep routine punctuated with a memorable lip lock near the end.
"You're back in the race," Bruno Tonioli proclaimed before delivering a score of 10 for a total of a perfect 30.
The hit ABC show, which drew up to 20 million viewers per week, 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 (who took off his shirt after his last dance Tuesday) and model Albert Reed.
--In part from IndyCar.com--
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