'Dancing' Winner Cowboys Up


Emmitt Smith has three Super Bowl rings and the title of the National Football League's all-time leading rusher. In a few years, he'll have a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

And as of Wednesday, he can add "ballroom dancing champion" to his many accolades.

Smith beat out former "Saved by the Bell" star Mario Lopez in the finale of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" Wednesday on the strength of his popularity among fans. The two finalists were tied with 89 points each after Tuesday's final performances.

ABC didn't reveal how close the final vote was, but if online chatter and a Zap2it poll are any indication, it was probably close. Blogs and message boards were fielding comments from fans sharply divided between Smith's charm and seemingly effortless moves and Lopez's superior technical skills. As of mid-afternoon Wednesday, Zap2it readers were favoring Smith in an online poll, but not by much: He had roughly 52 percent of the vote to 48 percent for Lopez.

In winning the crown, Smith did fellow NFL great Jerry Rice one better. Rice finished second to Drew Lachey in last season's competition.

Smith teamed with professional dancer Cheryl Burke to win the competition -- her second straight title after she worked with Lachey last time around.

The hour-long finale moved along at a reasonably good pace, with both finalists performing an encore of one of their dances from Tuesday (Smith and Burke did a samba, Lopez and Karina Smirnoff their freestyle routine) and the return of all the other competitors -- even Week 1 bootee Tucker Carlson. The requisite clip packages and testimonials from friends and family helped fill out the rest of the time.

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