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Grey leads 'Dancing'; Palin still in third place

By Sandy Cohen

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 23 2010 8:00 p.m. MST

LOS ANGELES — With all viewer votes cast, Jennifer Grey led the way toward the "Dancing With the Stars" crown.

The 50-year-old actress earned another perfect score during Tuesday's season finale, besting fellow finalists Kyle Massey and Bristol Palin. Massey and Palin remained in second and third place, respectively, with one dance remaining on the hit ABC show.

Palin's improbable run to the finals has been championed by some conservative bloggers running get-out-the-vote campaigns. She came into the finale in last place and said she was leaving her fate to the voters.

"Going out there and winning this would mean a lot. It would be like a big middle finger to all the people out there that hate my mom and hate me," Sarah Palin's daughter said during Tuesday's episode, which featured a reunion of the season's cast members and an energetic performance from Christina Aguilera in its opening moments.

The three finalists were still to perform one remaining routine to add to their judges' scores. Viewer voting closed Monday night.

"Dancing" producers said Tuesday that "a record amount of activity" overloaded its online and telephone voting systems after the episode.

"Some viewers reported experiencing difficulties registering their votes for the 'Dancing With the Stars' finale, which affected each finalist equally," show producers said in a statement. "The issue was promptly addressed" and voting times were not extended.

Grey was in first place coming into Tuesday's episode. She and her professional partner, Derek Hough, earned a perfect score of 60 for their two dances on Monday's show. Massey was in second place with 56 points, while Palin finished third with 52 points.

Palin has made it to the finals despite so-so and at times poor performances. She said it was challenging to overcome the flurry of media coverage that erupted when she was voted in over Brandy — who had received a perfect score for her tango — on the hit show, prompting some viewers to question the veracity of the "Dancing" voting system. At the announcement of Brandy's elimination on that particular episode, Brandy was speechless, and Hough's jaw quite literally dropped.

"Dancing" executive producer Conrad Green said it would be fair game if Palin's voters send her to victory Tuesday.

"If she ends up winning the show, she ends up winning the show because more people decided to make the effort to vote for her — for whatever reason they're passionate about her — than they did for other people, and that is a valid part of the show," he said.

Though Palin said on Monday's episode that "there's lots of haters out there that are waiting for me to fail," the 20-year-old single mom said after the show that she feels she and partner Mark Ballas deserve to win.

"We've been working our butts off," she said.

The judges will have the final say Tuesday. Viewer voting is closed, but each contestant will add the judges' scores for their two dances Tuesday to their overall Monday totals. The dancer with the highest combined total of judges' points and viewer votes will become the new "Dancing" champ.

ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.

Online:

http://abc.go.com/shows/dancing-with-the-stars

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