By People Staff
May 21, 2008 12:00 AM

The Ice Queen Cometh! “I called it,” Dancing pro Karina Smirnoff said of Kristi Yamaguchi’s win, “She may have been the best celebrity dancer that’s ever been on the show and I take my hat off to her, not only because she is an amazing competitor, but an amazing person as well, and she deserved to win.” Judge Carrie Ann Inaba couldn’t have said it any better, remarking of the Ballas-Yamaguchi win, “I’m really proud of Kristi, don’t really realize it… but she had to struggle with developing the emotional side of a performance, and that is not an easy thing to do.” Finally breaking the DWTS testosterone stronghold, the Olympic gold medalist tearfully grabbed her trophy after the show and rushed to her hockey-playing husband Bret Hedican’s side, shouting, “It’s like the Stanley Cup!”

They Are the Champions A trio of former DWTS champs took in the show from the frontlines of the parquet, with season one’s Kelly Monaco, season two champ Drew Lachey and season five’s Helio Castroneves spending much of the two-hour dance extravaganza laughing together as they critiqued each dance and playfully heckled show hostess Samantha Harris. Both Castroneves and Lachey led the audience in DWTS first ever pre-dance standing ovation when Marlee Matlin and partner Fabian Sanchez took the stage. Marlee’s Double-Standing O While all the former contestants–from tennis champ Monica Seles to actor Steve ‘The Gutte’ Guttenberg–got a warm reception back in the ballroom, crowd favorite Marlee Matlin got a double-standing ovation. As the deaf actress and partner Fabian Sanchez hit the dancefloor for their mambo, the crowd rose and cheered on the Oscar winner before she had even taken a step. Following their dance, the judges leaped from their seats to applaud the duo for their crisp routine. “It was like my second take, and I f—ing nailed it!” Matlin later declared, adding through her interpreter, “Twenty-two million got to see me complete the routine–and do it the way that it was intended to be done. It was my last dance in front of everybody, with my partner Fabian, and I could not be more happy!”

Laila’s Just Desserts Finishing in third place on DWTS is an achievement, but pulling off a lime-green maternity dress and smuggling a plate of food into the ballroom are feats that only season four finalist Laila Ali could accomplish. The pro boxer–and expectant mother–took her seat with hubby Curtis Conway, and wasn’t shy about noshing on carrots and grapes, with a box of Lemonheads serving as her dessert. “I told them that I had to bring food in here,” the smiling Ali said of the normally rigid production crew. “I just told them that it was for my baby.”

The Man Behind Marissa Marissa Jaret Winokur hit the dancefloor with her usual cheering section in place leading the “Winokur Wave.” But one man was noticeably missing: Winokur’s husband, King of the Hill writer Judah Miller, who was relegated to the “standing room only” section due to his admittedly “shabby” attire. “I got held up at work, and had to rush over here without changing,” Miller said of his decidedly non-ballroom attire of a T-shirt, jeans and hoodie. Even from the “cheap seats,” Miller was awed by his wife’s moves, taking in her performance with his hands clasped in front of his chest and beaming as women from different sections of the audience yelled out, “We love you, Marissa!”

The Finale’s Biggest Surprise Kristi’s win wasn’t as big of a shocker as Adam Corolla‘s encore performance of his Zorro-on-a-unicycle dance on last night’s final results show… or his post-dance speech. Said the outlandish deejay following his dance: “This is why the terrorists hate us–we’ve got black, and white, Hispanic, and Asian, gay, straight, and Guttenberg! All working together for one common goal… And the mirror-ball doesn’t care what color you are, or what God you pray to!” As the show cut to commercial, Bruno Tonioli stood up, and grabbed his coveted “ten” paddle, waving it in the air as Carolla, and partner Julianne Hough, made their way off the stage. –Reagan Alexander

More: I (Heart) DWTS! Watch the dramaPhotos:Kelsey McNeal/ABC