Nov. 26, 2008 — -- The judges dubbed her the "sensation of season seven." On Wednesday night Brooke Burke capped off a season of style and grace to become the new "Dancing With the Stars" champion.
Burke, 37, had only one word after clinching the coveted mirrorball trophy: "Unbelievable."
The red-hot model, TV host and mother of four Viennese-waltzed away with the "Dancing" title, edging out NFL legend Warren Sapp, the first runner-up, and former boy band star Lance Bass, who finished third.
"It's been an incredible journey," Burke said moments after her big win. "It's such an accomplishment, just to try things that you've never done before. For me, it's been an incredible experience."
Burke and her pro-partner, Derek Hough, were the season-long front-runners, praised by the judges for their impeccable technique and cheered by the fans for dazzling showmanship. Hough, whose sister, Julianne, is a two-time "Dancing with the Stars" champ, seemed to be in shock.
"I actually can't believe it," he said. "It's been tough. It's been wonderful. It's been everything I could ever hope for. I can't believe we actually did it."
During Wednesday's finale, Burke earned one final set of perfect 10s from the judges after a heart-tugging waltz to John Mayer's sentimental song "Daughters." Burke's fiance, actor David Charvet, cried in the audience. Even tough judge Carrie Ann Inaba got choked up.
"You are a star," Inaba said. "The show is called 'Dancing With the Stars' and you are a star."
A combination of judges' scores and fan votes named Burke the champion, but the crowd applauded heartily for Sapp, called the Twinkle-Toed Teddy Bear by his partner, Kym Johnson. The former Super Bowl champion settled for second place, saying, "I'm just glad I didn't do any disrespect to the football guys out there."
Brooke Burke: Model Champion
Burke breaks the model curse that has haunted the ABC dance-off. Former model contestants Paulina Porizkova and Josie Maran were axed early on in previous seasons. Before her ballroom blitz, Burke was best known as a sultry centerfold and for hosting gigs on the E! travel show, "Wild On" and the CBS reality competition, "Rock Star."
Now Burke is the reigning 'Dancing' queen.
"She's been amazing the whole competition," said Hough. "She deserved it so much."