Jennifer Grey Takes 'Dancing With the Stars' Title

"Dirty Dancing" star is tops with judges, beats Kyle Massey, Bristol Palin.

ByABC News
November 23, 2010, 3:50 AM

Nov. 23, 2010 — -- Nothing or nobody puts Baby in a corner -- not a ruptured disk in her back and not an army of mama grizzlies.

"Dirty Dancing" star Jennifer Grey proved that this evening on her way to becoming the season 11 champion of "Dancing With the Stars," coming out on top based upon an equal combination of judges' scores and viewers' votes.

Disney Channel staple Kyle Massey took second place.

Bristol Palin, the daughter of former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, whose waltz to the finals despite poor scores week after week stirred controversy, ended up in third.

"This has definitely been a life-changing experience and I've had the time of my life," Palin said after her defeat.

At the top of the show, Grey, who has topped the judge's scorecards with regularity this season, revealed she had to go to the hospital following two perfect scores from the judges in competition Monday night. Despite a severe back injury, she said she would keep trying to dance for the title.

"I think I left a little bit of my spine on the floor and I ruptured a disk," she said toward the top of the show. "This might be my last two chances to dance on this show with [professional dance partner] Derek Hough. I think I'd better do it."

She did dance two more times. After winning, she added, "I'm really glad I did."

After learning of her win, she embraced Hough, who lifted her off the floor and spun her around. Show host Tom Bergeron warned him to be careful of Grey's back injury.

The winners then hoisted the winners' mirror ball trophy over their heads as confetti rained down.

With her first dance of the evening, a Viennese waltz, Grey received yet another perfect score from the judges. Ranked against her two competitors, she received three 10s, meaning all the judges considered her dance the best.

Two judges ranked Massey second, earning him a total score of 26, and one ranked Palin second, earning her a 25.

In the second dance, an "instant" cha-cha to music only revealed to the dancers an hour beforehand, Grey and Massey earned combined 28s, while Palin earned a 27.

Combined with Monday night's two dances, that left Grey with a judges' tally of 118, Massey with 110 and Palin with 104.

Despite her last-place scores in all four of her finale dances, Palin wasn't out of the competition.

"Going out there and winning this would mean a lot," Palin said in a taped segment toward the start of tonight's two-hour season finale. "It would be like a big middle finger to all the people out there that hate my mom and hate me."

In past weeks, Palin's poor judges' scores were bolstered by the fan votes, which account for 50 percent of the stars' overall score -- and show producers disclosed before the show that "record" voting levels made it difficult for some votes to be logged.

Viewers have suggested in past weeks that people -- especially those "mama grizzlies" who support Sarah Palin -- have been voting in blocs and manipulating the system.

Only 14 percent of people in an ABC News/Washington Post poll out Monday evening thought Palin earned her place in the finals through dancing ability, while 54 percent credited a voting blitz by Sarah Palin supporters.

The show's producers revealed the massive finale voting push in a statement released in the hours before Tuesday's show -- but it did not say who was getting the lion's share of the fans' votes.

"Due to a record amount of activity, some viewers reported experiencing difficulties registering their votes for the 'Dancing with the Stars' finale, which affected each finalist equally," read the statement. "The issue was promptly addressed and voting lines remained open online until 11 a.m. ET on"

Both Palins, mother and daughter, have denied any organized vote-getting tactics.

Sarah Palin was in the audience cheering on her daugher during Monday night's performances. On Tuesday, she was in Phoenix signing her new book.

"She's had the journey of, you know the challenge and the improvement and the work ethic," Sarah Palin told ABC News' John Berman after her book event. "This has been all about work ethic and perseverance and, you know-- No, I couldn't be prouder. She's happy. She's very happy."