'Dancing with the Stars' Finale Live Results: And the Winner Is...
'Dancing with the Stars' Finale Live Results: And the Winner Is...
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
The pop star. The Olympic achiever. The sexy sportscaster. Three veteran performers, three impressive ballroom ingenues, and the three finalists left standing in tonight's Dancing with the Stars grand finale.

Who will win the Mirrorball Trophy?
It's the question of the hour, but, of course, Dancing with the Stars will make us wait two hours (9-11pm, which an encore performance of last night's performances airing 8-9pm) to find out.

In that time, we'll see each finalist perform two more dances, which the judges will score--scores that will weigh on the final result of the night. Between consequential matters, though, we'll also see visits from all original 11 stars who graced the season 10 stage, including a high-wire act with Kate Gosselin and a sexy something-or-other (admit it, you don't care what it is) with Pamela Anderson.

Join me to chat, cheer and chide as we watch Part 2 the Dancing with the Stars season 10 finale ... "Liiiive!" That comments box is your domain, so use it to your heart's content to talk about tonight's show. And here's another question to get your brain going:

Which were your favorite and least favorite performances of season 10?

To kick off the night, all the stars and pros (minus our finalists) hit the floor with a dance to "I'm So Excited." I have to say, I couldn't help smiling when I saw Pam, Aiden, Niecy, Buzz, Shannen and even Kate again! Somehow, the unending enthusiasm of this show has chinked the armor of my cynical heart: I really am excited.

Encore, encore! It's time for the ... Favorite Dances of the Finalists:
Each couple has chosen their Argentine tango, and will then be ranked by the judges. After factoring in the viewers' votes, the third-place couple will be eliminated before the final two couples dance for the title.
nicole-derekargentinetango-finale2.jpgNicole & Derek
Who could forget this routine? There's something so incredibly sexy and intimate about how compact this dance is, both on the floorspace and in Derek and Nicole's hold. Nicole reveals such an ache to win in her face. As before, the whole routine is artistically fierce and technically superb.

Judges Say: "Clean and crisp. This is Argentine tango." - Len
"I am happy to see that the magic continues. Rich. Luscious. Devastating intensity." - Bruno
"You guys are truly artistry in motion." - Carrie Ann

evananna-argentinetango-finale2.jpgEvan & Anna
Evan and Anna revisit their Week 7 Argentine tango to "Bust Your Windows," and their goal is to outdance Nicole and Derek. But from the music, to the way they use the full floor, to the final, spectacular spin lift with Anna's leg over Evan's shoulder, it's just such a different Argentine tango, how do we even compare? I'm glad I'm not in the judges' shoes right now.

Judges Say: "You danced this tango like a real lady-killer. Strong, powerful, a hint of menace. You kept it slick and stylish. You kept the energy under control." - Bruno
"It's getting exciting in here. Tonight, this Argentine tango, that is true redemption. Last night you performed, it was perfect. Tonight, it was beyond." - Carrie Ann
"This is the most fantastic season, the highest standard I have ever known. You were leading it. You just did a fantastic job." - Len

erin-maks-argentinetango-finale2.jpgErin & Maksim
There's no doubt that Erin lacks a tiny bit of polish compared to Evan and Nicole, but this tango deserves all the praise I can muster for its overflowing intensity, and its display of just how much she's grown this season.

Judges Say: "You are so amazing. All of you, especially Erin tonight, from that lift on, you were in another zone. Beautiful." - Carrie Ann
"Judging these three tangos is the hardest job we've ever had. You have danced brilliantly. You've come the further from the beginning." - Len
"You were out for it. The fact is, out of all the competitors here tonight, you had the most spectacular growth." - Bruno

Judges' Rankings:
After comparing all three Argentine tangos, the judges award their ranks and corresponding scores:

1st Place, 30 points: Nicole and Derek
2nd Place, 28 points: Evan and Anna
3rd Place, 26 points: Erin and Maksim

Sounds like how the whole season has been going--but will the final results pan out the same way?

Shannen and Mark, Aiden and Edyta, and Buzz and Ashly return to the stage. Buzz dances to the Stars Wars theme in a glittery gray astronaut's suit. Uhhhh-mazing!

Then, Chelsie and Dmitry Chaplin are joined by Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi for their much-anticipated dance to "On the Wings of Love." Much-anticipated, but not much for excitement. Moving on...

Live Elimination: The Third-Place Couple
After compiling the votes and judges' scores, the 3rd place couple on Dancing with the Stars Season 10 is:

Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy

erin-maksfinale2.jpgAnd, just as they were fated to from Day One, Nicole Scherzinger and Evan Lysacek will dance for the trophy.

Erin says Dancing with the Stars helped her get her smile back, and Maksim has helped her put her life back together, so she's "so grateful." Awww! Maksim is more emotional than he's ever been at the end of a season. C'mon, just admit it, you guys: you're a couple! Right? Yes. You're a couple. Even if you're not, you are. You're too cute to not be a couple.

Erin and Maks perform their final dance, a cha-cha-cha. Dancing a sassy cha-cha when you feel so sad can't be easy. The dance ends with a kiss on the forehead and a hug.

Last Chance Dance-Off: A Little Teaser
Nicole and Derek are dancing their swan song to "Proud Mary," while Evan and Anna will try to quickstep into the judges' hearts one last time. A little bit later. Before that can happen, it's time for another dance-off between two schools. Since I have no interest in this filler, I'm not going to recap it. DEAL WITH IT!

Media Weighs In: All the Dancing TV experts weigh in on the Nicole vs. Evan match-up ... and they didn't ask ME?! I would be offended if I actually had any influence in the media whatsoever. I mean, they asked Larry King for his opinion. But I definitely out-talked ALL these mofos when it comes to analysis of DWTS Season 10.

Kate Gosselin's Own Personal Redemption Dance: Kate and Tony revisit and upgrade their infamous "Paparazzi" paso doble, and it seems like now that the pressure's off, Kate's attitude about the whole experience has improved. Have her dancing skills? Well ... Uhhh ... Wait, I was going to answer that, but then, this happened:

katetony-finale.jpgWelcome to Pam 'n' Niecy's Moulin Rouge: Pamela starts off in a red hoop over the floor, and ends by taming her three man-slaves. Then Niecy kicks in with "Bootylicious" and daaaaaaang, she worked those curves! Love me some Niecy. And Pam--in doses. But really, the winner here is Damian, in a tie-and-shirtlessness combo:

niecy-pam-finale.jpgThe Final Battle: Evan Versus Nicole
Who will win?

nicole-derek-finaljive.jpgNicole & Derek
Dancing: Jive
Song: "Proud Mary"

Judges Say: "There can only be one winner of Dancing with the Stars. It should be you." - Len
"This has been the best season of Dancing with the Stars ever. This was the crowning glory of an amazing season." - Bruno
"You're so incredible. I come to work every day and I'm so looking forward to see what you'll do. You set this place on fire. It has been nothing but amazing." - Carrie Ann

Scores: 10+10+10=30

If you're surprised that Nicole and Derek just KILLED that jive, and earned a perfect 30, you clearly haven't been paying attention this season. The sky is blue, bears live in the woods, and Nicole Scherzinger gets 10s on Dancing with the Stars. But did the viewers back her up?

evanannafinalquickstep.jpgEvan & Anna
Dancing: Quickstep
Song: "I Want You to Want Me"

So. Freaking. CUTE!

Judges Say: "You always have been a good dancer, but your performance level has enhanced incredibly. You are now charming." - Bruno
"Nicole and Derek may be winning in the scoring, but you have won the hearts of everyone in here. When I watch you, I see a true champion. Any criticism we gave, you flew with it." - Carrie Ann
"You have truly been a joy to watch. You have done a fantastic job." - Len

Scores: 10+9+9=28

Final Leaderboard:
Nicole & Derek: 115
Evan & Anna: 108


Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough!

That's it, my BuddyTV ballroom babies! Congrats to Nicole and Derek, who started out the season on top and never looked back. And thanks to YOU for watching, ranking and laughing along with me this season. It's been fun!

Until next time: How do you feel about tonight's results and our champions? I hope you're happy, or the very at least understanding. And if you're not, well... there's always next season!

More from the Dancing with the Stars Season 10 Finale:
Dancing with the Stars Finale Performance Rankings Part 1
Dancing with the Stars Live Recap: Final Performances, Part I
Schedule and Special Guests for the Dancing with the Stars Two-Night Finale Event
Craziest Costumes of DWTS Season 10
21 Best Dances of DWTS Season 10
The Dancing with the Stars Final 3: Let's Predict the Winner!

(Images courtesy of ABC)