Shawn Johnson, an Olympic gold medallist gymnast, won the Dancing With The Stars Season 8 crown on May 19 and added the mirror ball trophy to her collection of Olympic medals. With her partner Mark Ballas, they performed a group Paso Doble as well as a Freestyle dance on the first night and a Cha Cha Cha on the second night. The judges Len Goodman, Bruno Toniolo and Carri Ann Inaba were impressed enough to award them 58 points out of a possible 60. Sex And The City actor Gilles Marini dancing the Argentine Tango with Cheryl Burke also obtained 58 points for a tie. Johnson and Ballas however pipped Marini and Burke to the trophy by a majority of just 1% of the viewers' votes. The favorite, Melissa Rycroft, a former cheerleader who danced the Samba with her partner Tony Dovolani came in third.
Dancing With The Stars (DWTS) Season 8 premiered on ABC television network in the USA on March 9. The 13 celebrities who participated in this season's show included Holly Madison, former Playboy model and ex-girlfriend of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, New York Giants footballer Lawrence Taylor, singer Jewel and her rodeo star husband Ty Murray. Among the well known professional dancers were Karina Smirnoff, Mark Ballas (son of dance legend Corky Ballas), Julian Hough and Cheryl Burke. Two new dances, the Argentine Tango and Lindy Hop were introduced this season. As well as being remembered for the finale with the tightest competition since its inception, this season's show will also probably be remembered as the show with the most number of injuries suffered by the contestants.
Jewel fractured both her shin bones, while Nancy O' Dell tore the meniscus in her knees during rehearsals. Both were forced to withdraw from the competition and were replaced by Holly Madision and Melissa Rycroft. Gilles Marini suffered tendonitis in the shoulder and Steve Woznaik the co-founder of Apple Computer sprained his foot during training. Jackass actor Steve-O injured his back while practising the Salsa. Season 9 of DWTS is expected to be aired in the fall of this year. The Americans are so fortunate in that they are able to watch really fantastic TV dance reality shows like DWTS and So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). It looks like there won't be a SYTYCD Malaysia Season 3 this year. Seems the global financial crisis is taking its toll. We can only pray for the storm to blow over soon!