'Dancing With the Stars' Diary: Hines Ward and Chelsea Kane tie it up in the finals

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Zap2it's weekly "'Dancing with the Stars' Diary" offers fans a backstage pass to everybody's favorite only reality competition that throws celebrities at the mercy of that fickle mistress we call dance.

Lord (of Dance Michael Flatley) only knows how we ended up at the finals so quickly, but another season of "Dancing With the Stars" has reached its fevered climax.

And as history dictates, the final three --  Kirstie Alley, Chelsea Kane and Hines Ward -- tackled two routines: a "redemption" dance for something that failed to impress the judges earlier on the season and the freestyle (aka Dance Christmas).

At the end of the night, the scoreboard didn't surprise me much at all, but the freestyle did prompt a bit of an epiphany. Can Season 12 end in a tie? Hines and Chelsea are almost too good to distinguish a clear winner from. No offense to Kirstie.

Thoughts on all of the dances, instant reactions from the cast, prognosticating about the results and way too many rhetorical questions lay ahead. Oh, and pardon the inclusion of a few ridiculous backstage photos, but we had to wait over an hour while the cast filmed confessionals before we got our interviews. Things got a little slaphappy...

Scores and Steps

  • Chelsea is already a winner for not letting anyone talk her into wearing extensions tonight. (A bob that sharp should never be hidden.) Her Samba was also slamming, earning an unsettling 9 from eternal killjoy Len Goodman who wasn't a fan of the "flailing arms section." (29)
  • maks-mikey-dwts-finale.jpgDefinitely not covering any new ground here, but does Maksim Chmerkovskiy even have a partner? Kirstie's great, really, but it's near-impossible to notice anyone else on the floor when they have to share it with Maks (see figure 2, in which I'm basically invisible). They probably would have scored higher, if Chelsea hadn't just done a Samba too. (27)
  • The dedication of Kym Johnson is something else entirely. Not to take away from her and Hines' solid Quickstep -- they popped champagne! -- how could you not love anything this woman is doing, post-accident. She rehearsed all week in a neck brace, which she manages to make look hot, by the by. (More like Kym Jong-ILookGoodInEverything, am I right fellas?) (29)
  • With all the expectations and hype, I've been setting myself up to be underwhelmed by Chelsea's freestyle and -- please don't throw anything at me -- I kind of was. My interest flickered more than the LED lights on Chelsea's shoes. Still, the judges, who've given her plenty of undeservedly low scores throughout the season, loved it. So who cares what I think? (30, 59 total)
  • Did anyone else think Kirstie was going to have her total weight loss tally bedazzled on her leotard when she ripped off that monk robe during her freestyle? Alas, we'll have to wait till next week when it's on the cover of whatever magazine paid her for it. Seriously though, she looks great -- so much so I actually stopped looking at Maks. And then not a single 10! Boos ensued. The judges are clearly endorsing Chelsea and Hines. (27, 54 total)
  • There are a few things I love more than this silly show. And one of them is marching bands. Hines ode to football couldn't have been more quintessentially "DWTS" -- or awesome. To think I've been lukewarm about him all season... Well, I'm not anymore. I'm sold. And considering he couldn't have been more appealing to the show's core viewership if he'd made out with a bald eagle for three minutes, this might be his to lose. (30, 59 total)

trophy-mikey-dwts-finale.jpg Backstage Banter

  • Chelsea Kane's freestyle almost wasn't the success it was. She says her biggest psych-out moment all season was the morning before of her finals performance. "We had a rough morning," she says. "I got way too excited and messed up pretty much everything you can mess up. I was missing lifts, falling out of lifts... I don't want to be one of those people who just chokes. To pull through was a huge sigh of relief, because this was our most difficult dance by far."
  • "No, no I did not" was Kirstie's answer when I asked her if she ever imagined flying around in a skin-tight leotard in the finals. "Here's the one good thing were ignorance is bliss. For whatever reason in 'Dancing With the Stars,' I missed freestyles. I didn't even know it was coming.
  • "This is what you've been talking about all season," Hines told press backstage of his freestyle. He was almost as in the dark as Kirstie... not that it got in his way. "The vision that [Kym] had... man, we came out and executed that's totally different, and I think it will be one of those that people always remember." (I'm inclined to agree.)

So who's it going to be? Chelsea and Hines had the same scores -- but Hines clearly got the crowd the most riled with his freestyle. And there's always Kirstie, who shouldn't be discounted for her intimidating fanbase.

At this point, I'm inclined to call it for Hines. He's been the judges' favorite all season and I truly loved his freestyle -- but Chelsea deserves it just as much. Can't they share it?

Probably not -- if only because of all the bad luck that would come from breaking that mirrorball in half.
Photo/Video credit: ABC