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Another 'Dancing' winner

     The crowning of race-car driver Helio Castroneves and his partner Julianne Hough as champions of "Dancing With the Stars" continues to prove that reality show winners don't have to be the best, just the most popular. (How else do you explain Maria Osmond's appearance in the show's final three?)
     The win by Helio and Julianne was an upset over Spice Girl Melanie Brown and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy, the highest-scoring couple and the most polished throughout the competition. But Scary Spice and hunky Maks (is any professional dancer on the show more deserving of the title now than poor Maks??) couldn't break through Helio's blinding smile.
     If you say who?? when you hear Helio's name, you're not alone. Although many viewers didn't know him at the start, he quickly became Mr. Popularity as he charmed viewers with that captivating smile and irresistible accent. You might think that a guy who sat behind the wheel of a car for a living would have been a dud on the dance floor, but Helio proved he could shake it with the best of them.
     As other professional athletes who have been "Dancing" contestants have shown -- including Jerry Rice and previous winners Emmitt Smith and Apolo Anton Ohno -- Helio displayed the competitive nature that drives athletes and helps them excel at whatever they do, even if the trophy is just a mirrorball on a platform.
     By the way, there is no real prize given to the "Dancing With the Stars" winners, but it would be great if that changed next season with a cash prize going to charity. ABC is certainly making enough money off of this show to warrant the gesture.

--Toni Ruberto

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