Drew Lachey and his professional dancer-partner Cheryl Burke leaped their way to victory Sunday night on the second-season finale of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.
The former 98 Degrees pop singer and brother of Nick Lachey, 29, out-hoofed the favorite, pro wrestler Stacy Keibler, as well as NFL great Jerry Rice, as Lachey and Burke wowed the crowd with his freestyle routine to “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.” For the finish, he vaulted over his partner’s shoulders.
“This jump is either gonna make us or kill us,” Burke said beforehand.
The couple earned a perfect score of 30 from the three-judge panel. Combined with their score from Thursday’s pre-finale, this gave them a total of 87 out of 90. Viewers’ votes counted for half the decision.
“From week one, you come out on this floor like Wyatt Earp at the OK Corral,” judge Len Goodman told Lachey.
Said Lachey, whose wife Lea is due to have the couple’s first baby, a daughter, momentarily, and whose older brother Nick helped cheer him to victory: “I’m the luckiest man in the world right now.”
In surprise news halfway through the two-hour finale, host Tom Bergeron announced that viewer response eliminated the leggy, blond Keibler and her partner, Tony Dovolani, from the competition. They had held a strong second-place position among the judges with 86 points.
During the program, all seven of the previously rejected celebrity contestants – ESPN sportscaster Kenny Mayne, actress Tatum O’Neal, news personality Giselle Fernandez, rap star Master P, actress Tia Carrere, tanned ladies’ man George Hamilton and talk-show host Lisa Rinna – returned for a final dance with their partners.