Steeler upsets Disney Channel star on DWTS; Idol finale starts with Lauren, without judges

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward won Dancing with the Stars 12 last night, giving his professional partner, Kym Johnson, her second win. Meanwhile, American Idol 10 aired its final performance episode, with Lauren Alaina performing despite a report that she might be replaced by Haley at the last minute. The show’s judges, however, seemed to have been replaced by guest performances.

First, on ABC’s competition series, Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy came in second place, while Disney Channel star Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas were in third. Chelsea was seen as the front-runner, and there was even speculation that Monday night’s scores were designed to ensure Kirstie came in third, which she did not, so Chesea and Hines would be the final two. Oh, conspiracy theories, how you crumble against reality.

Earlier, on Idol, the show opened by acknowledging that Lauren did in fact face some medical challenge, but not one that would eliminate her from the competition. Ryan Seacrest brought a doctor on stage to both justify and shoot down the TMZ report that Lauren would be replaced by Haley. The doctor said that during rehearsal, Lauren “blew out one of her vocal cords” so “we gave her a lot of medicine” and “she’s going to do great.” The story that leaked to TMZ was rather overblown but accomplished what the leaker probably set out to accomplish: It got a lot of people to tune in to see what happened, and to talk in the couple hours before the finale started, quite an accomplishment since there wasn’t much to be excited about with these two.

Each finalist sang three songs, ending with the The judges didn’t make their first appearance until almost halfway through the show, when Seacrest let them comment on the first four songs. Both J Lo and Steven Tyler predicted Lauren would win based on her last song, which will be her first single. “You may have just won,” J Lo said, and Steven said, “Lauren gets it, hands-down.”

In other words: Congratulations, Scotty McCreery. You just won American Idol 10. We’ll watch him awkwardly perform his way to a win together in the annual Idol finale live blog.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.