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Monaco dethroned as Dancing queen

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The Associated Press reports that O'Hurley, runner-up in this summer's hit dancing competition, snatched the crown from the pate of the show's original champion in a heated dance-off that aired live on Tuesday evening. The fans' votes were counted, and in a Thursday night results show, host Tom Bergeron gave O'Hurley the news he'd been longing to hear.

Though soap star Kelly Monaco and her partner, Alec Mazo, danced their way to victory in the July 6 finale, their win was the subject of much controversy in the weeks that followed. Fans of the defeated O'Hurley protested the series' complicated voting process and suggested that the Seinfeld star was the victim of network favoritism, as Monaco stars in ABC's General Hospital.

This viewer unrest, coupled with the show's astonishingly high summer ratings, convinced Dancing's producers to arrange a rematch. The questionable voting system was dumped in favor of a simpler plan in which the winner was chosen by viewer votes alone.

On Tuesday's live show, Monaco and Mazo performed the cha-cha and the quick step while O'Hurley and his partner, Charlotte Jorgensen, danced the rhumba and the waltz. Each pair was then allowed to end the evening with a freestyle dance.

The three Dancing judges shared their opinions and evaluations of each dance, and though they were pleased with Monaco's performance, they were more impressed by the handsome O'Hurley. Their glowing praise and stellar marks were echoed by the fans who phoned in their votes, and O'Hurley became Dancing's new king.

Once the results were read, O'Hurley was so full of joy he found it hard to express himself. He simply beamed and said, "I'm very rarely beyond words, and I am right now."

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