Kelly Monaco triumphs on Dancing with the Stars!

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Dancing with the Stars has reached its end, and the identity of the winning couple is as much of a surprise as the success of the show itself.

Kelly Monaco (General Hospital) and John O'Hurley (Seinfeld), each paired with a professional dance partner, faced off last night in the final episode of this summer's out-of-the-blue reality hit. O'Hurley's charm, good looks, and startlingly agile dance moves had made him a favorite with fans and judges (who shared in the voting process), but underdog Monaco and partner Alec Mazo overcame their early missteps to score a perfect 30 on their second routine last night--a samba snappy enough to propel them straight into first place.

Monaco and Mazo received a trophy topped with a sparkling disco ball, which they held high over their heads as they beamed in the winners' circle. An ebullient Monaco cried, "All my life I've been the underdog. I know it's such a sap story, but I have." Show emcee Tom Bergeron smiled and said, "Well, not tonight."

Dancing quickly became the leader of this summer's pack of reality shows, with an average of 14.9 million viewers a week. This unexpected achievement may convince ABC to bless fans with a second season, or even a long-term Dancing franchise.

Andrea Wong, ABC's executive VP of alternative programming, says that "One of the great things about it is that it appeals to everybody. There's something for young people, there's nostalgia and a love of dancing for older people. It is great to be able to do a show that is really inclusive."

Let's hope that Dancing gets a chance to strut its stuff with the regular-season competition this fall.

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