Posted by Ellen Krafve - email
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Judges and fans agree it was the most competitive "Dancing with the Stars" ever, with the youngest competitor, Shawn Johnson, narrowly coming out on top. It's still all the buzz with East Texas fans debating those final results.
It was a complete surprise!
"I really wanted Gilles to win," said Sherry Freeman. "I was rooting for him."
"Gilles," said Deanna Sims. "Gilles definitely."
"He should have won," said Holly Collins.
But dance instructor Sal Landeros, who choreographs routines for Dancing with the Tyler and Longview Stars, predicted it all along.
"'You watch and see. She's going to be the dark horse,' and I said, 'It wouldn't surprise me if she won because technically she's real good and she's real showy,'" said Landeros. "She dances real well and they look good together."
"She was my favorite," said Whitney Sims. "So, [I] kinda love the underdog. She did such a good job, was so cute and spunky."
Less than one percent separated Shawn from Gilles, and Dallas-native Melissa Rycroft samba'd and shimmied her way to the top.
"Melissa? I liked her arms and so she had nice arms and nice kicks," said Landeros.
"I loved Melissa and I think she did a good job but she had dancing experience so you know I really felt like Gilles was great," said Deanna Simshe. "Just looked professional."
Landeros said while they all transformed into amazing dancers, if he were judging, his vote would have gone to Gilles.
"Reason is because I know, as far as a male, I know what it takes to lead," said Landeros. "You've got to remember the steps, you've got to take the lady in and out of the steps, and you've got to get ready next. If there's any tricks you've got to support her. He came a long ways."
In the future, Landeros thinks judges votes should count more.
"When it gets to the last five I think it should go to 75/25," said Landeros. "I think the judges should have a little bit more input."
But Americans chose Shawn Johnson as their new sweetheart, and her gold medal now hangs next to that mirror ball trophy.
"I just couldn't get enough and I'm kind of sad to see it end," said Freeman.
Landeros predicts we'll see more of all of them. It is just the beginning of their dancing careers.
"Once it gets in you, it's kind of addicting," said Landeros.