Nicole Scherzinger wins ‘Dancing With the Stars’

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Pussycat Doll is now the “Dancing With the Stars” champ.

Nicole Scherzinger and partner Derek Hough dominated throughout the 10th season of the hit ABC show and bested Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek to win the “Dancing” crown Tuesday night.

“I feel like I just won a Grammy,” she said after the show. “A dancing Grammy!”

Scherzinger performed a high-energy jive as her final dance that earned a perfect score of 30 and inspired head judge Len Goodman to say, “There can only be one winner of ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ It should be you.”

Lysacek’s quickstep also earned the judges’ praise, but just 28 points.

“It’s been such a blast,” the champion figure skater said. “We are totally satisfied with everything we gave. We’re so proud of Nicole and Derek. They deserve it. … They inspired all the other couples in the competition.”

Scherzinger and Hough kissed the mirrorball trophy as they were hoisted on the shoulders of other dancers.

“Win or lose tonight, I was just very, very happy with the entire season,” said Hough, a two-time “Dancing” champ. “To get the trophy at the end of it, that was just amazing.”

Even more valuable than the trophy, Scherzinger said, were the personal lessons she learned during the season.

“This has been probably the greatest reward personally, this whole personal journey,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve learned so much about Derek Hough. He’s made me a better person through this.”

She added that she plans to work on winning a real Grammy now that her “Dancing” stint is done.

Lysacek said he hopes to bring some of his new performance skills onto the ice. And though he thought the winning couple “were the best dancers by a mile from the very first night,” he said his competitive spirit pushed him to do better each week.

“I came into this competition and said, ‘I’m not going to be competitive, I’m just going to have fun,'” he said after the show. “And the further we got from the Olympics, the more my competitive fire started burning. … It progressed, and slowly but surely I became more confident as a performer and a dancer.”

ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews, the third finalist, and her professional partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy were eliminated from the dance-off halfway through the two-hour season closer.

Earlier in the evening, all three pairs each danced an Argentine tango and earned glowing remarks from the judges.

Carrie Ann Inaba called Lysacek’s performance “perfect” and Scherzinger’s “like a beautiful masterpiece come to life.”

Though being on the show “has meant everything” to Andrews, she said she knew the fight for the title would be between Lysacek and Scherzinger.

“I came here under really crummy circumstances,” Andrews said. “I just wanted to be myself again.” Andrews was the victim of a stalker, who was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for following the reporter to at least three cities and shooting videos of her through hotel peepholes.

Gesturing toward Chmerkovskiy, she said, “This one has just put my life back together, so I’m so thankful.”

Chmerkovskiy called the season “a rollercoaster” and “an amazing journey.”

“I feel like we’ve won,” he said, “and I certainly have my own prize.”

After the show, Andrews joked that the pro dancer wouldn’t return to the show, but would instead accompany her on the college football sidelines. Rumors have swirled all season that the dance partners are dating.

Tuesday’s action-packed final episode featured back-to-back performances by the season’s finalists and past contestants.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin danced in a bedazzled space suit that host Tom Bergeron joked was from the “NASA Liberace collection.” Kate Gosselin reprised her much maligned performance to “Paparazzi,” then tore off her dress to reveal a sparkly miniskirt to finish the routine to the disco staple “I Will Survive.”

Pamela Anderson and Niecy Nash performed a sexy number together. Anderson emerged from the ceiling wearing a lacy neglige and slithered seductively across three male dancers lying on the floor to finish her routine. That’s when Nash took over, shaking her “jiggly parts” in a hot pink sequined minidress.

“I barely made it through this competition with my jiggly parts intact,” said the buxom star, who joked about her love of food throughout the season. “I feel like a weave on a stick.”

“The Bachelor” Jake Pavelka danced with his betrothed, Vienna Girardi. Actors Shannen Doherty and Aiden Turner also returned to the dance floor.

The show’s first college dance competition came to a close Tuesday, with the team from Utah Valley University taking home their own mirrorball trophy.