Dancing With The Stars Season 17 winner is Amber Riley

Finalists on Dancing With the Stars Corbin Bleu, Amber Riley, Jack Osbourne. Photo: ABC.
Finalists on Dancing With the Stars Corbin Bleu, Amber Riley, Jack Osbourne. Photo: ABC.

SAN DIEGO, November 26, 2013 –  It came down to a “Glee” singer and actress, a singer and actor famous for “High School Musical,” and a reality TV star from rock star family royalty.

Which finalist would win the Season 17 Mirror Ball Trophy on “Dancing With The Stars?” The judges’ scores were close enough and the competitors talented enough to make it anyone’s game.

DWTS needed to fill a two-hour finale to fill with a final competitive dance by the three contenders, the return of the Season 17 competitors, and a slew of guest performances. We need to fill this article, but if you’d like to find out right away who won, scroll down to the end now.

The encore freestyle was chosen by fans via hashtag voting on Twitter. Amber Riley and Derek Hough were selected and were even better the second time around with their western saloon themed routine.

DWTS remains a major venue for live performances by top acts. The Season 17 final featured Lady Antebellum hot off the American Musical Awards, Enrique Iglesias, and this year’s pop phenomenon Ylvis. Never heard of them? You’ve heard their single “What Does The Fox Say,” one of two group numbers on the show. Team FoxingAwesome performed a reprise of their wacky routine, including all three finalists. It must have been a good luck charm.

Bill Nye the Science Guy was a fan favorite in Season 17, and he didn’t disappoint in his encore performance. Photo: Adam Taylor, ABC

The professional dancers put their skills on display in several numbers. Previous competitors returned to reprise their favorite dances. For sheer entertainment, nothing beat the return of “Bionic Bill” Nye with some “amazing” stunts thrown in. See the video of the performance above.

Another highlight was the dual performance of Christina Milian and Mark Ballas joined by Brant Dougherty and Peta Murgatroyd for the Lady Gaga themed Paso Doble originally performed by Christina and Mark.

Nicole Polizzi and Sasha Farber performed their Jazz routine to the Britney Spears song “Work Bitch,” and Elizabeth Berkley and Val Chmerkovskiy did themselves proud with a reprise of their terrific Cha Cha Cha.

Sentimental favorite Valerie Harper returned to dance a new waltz with Tristan McManus to a live performance of “Wonderful World” by singer Colbie Caillat. Harper said it was her thank you for all the love and support she received during her time on the show.

Amber and Derek, Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke, and Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff hit the ballroom floor one final time for their “24-hour fusion dances.” It was a Quickstep/Samba for Amber and Derek; Foxtrot/Cha Cha for Corbin and Karina; and Paso Doble/Salsa for Jack and Cheryl.

Corbin had a slight misstep with his Cha Cha Cha, although it barely marred the quality of the dance. The judges gave them 27 points. Jack and Cheryl danced with energy and style, earning another score of 27 points. Amber and Derek dazzled the judges with their “South American Quickstep” as Bruno Tonioli described it, with brilliant timing. It earned them a perfect score of 30 points, the last score of the season. Final scores: Amber and Derek, 94 points; Corbin and Karina, 89 points; Jack and Cheryl, 84 points.

The decision came down to the fans. Based strictly on dance performance, Amber Riley deserves to win. She performs with the speed and precision of a professional, and has impressive body control. She is the best performer of the three.

Corbin Bleu is a talented dancer with physical strength and a dynamic presence. He never had a bad week and he was never in jeopardy of leaving. He was great in week 1 and just as great in the finale. He had previous dance performing experience. Many fans like to see someone who’s never danced before earning the trophy through developing skills throughout the season.

Fans who enjoy seeing the transformation of someone with zero experience into a ballroom dancer were rooting for Jack Osbourne. He developed from awkward performer to a smooth partner with great form and posture like a young Fred Astaire. Osbourne said just going the distance was a victory to him. He was awarded third place, which tied him with his sister Kelly, who placed third in 2009.

Amber Riley and Derek Hough backstage after winning the Season 17 Mirror Ball Trophy as Dancing With The Stars champions. Photo: ABC via Twitter/@TeamRoughly

It did come down to the best dancers in the end. Amber Riley and Derek Hough were named the Season 17 Champions of “Dancing With The Stars.” It’s Derek’s second win in a row, and his fifth win overall, the most of any professional on the show. Amber Riley said she competed on the show because it scared her, and urged women of all sizes, shapes and colors to pursue their dreams.

Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff were second.

As Season 17 comes to an end, “Dancing With The Stars” reamins one of America’s most popular reality TV shows with strong and steady ratings. Others will come and go, but there’s nothing quite like the glamour of the ballroom. Save me a seat in the ballroom and we will see you there in March 2014 for Season 18.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

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