O'Hurley Glides Past Monaco in TV Dance-off

The votes are in — and John O'Hurley (search) has bested Kelly Monaco (search) to win the "Dancing with the Stars" title many thought he deserved in the first place.

"I'm very rarely beyond words, and I am right now," O'Hurley said after the results were announced Thursday on the ABC show.

In a rematch, O'Hurley and his professional dancing partner, Charlotte Jorgensen, bested Monaco and hers, Alec Mazo. Monaco beat O'Hurley in the July 6 season finale of the show, but the win over the popular O'Hurley prompted skepticism over the voting process.

The victor of the rematch was chosen purely by viewers — and co-host Tom Bergeron said the winner and loser were separated by just 1 percent of the votes.

On the live "dance-off" Tuesday night, Bergeron introduced the pairs with high drama and tongue at least partly in cheek.

"In the tradition of the great rematches — Ali vs. Frazier, McEnroe vs. Borg, the Rolling Stones and father time — neither could resist the challenge of proving once and for all they are the best," Bergeron said.

The competitors did some big talking of their own before the contest began.

"I won this challenge fair and square," Monaco said. "That is our win, that is our trophy and that's the way it's going to stay."

"Nobody, nobody wants to win as much as I do," O'Hurley said, later adding, "I think we should have won."

The rematch followed audience complaints that the show's voting process, which relied on both viewers and judges, was confusing. Questions also were raised about possible network favoritism for Monaco, who stars in the ABC soap opera "General Hospital."

O'Hurley is best known for playing catalogue king J. Peterman on NBC's "Seinfeld."

Quizzed by reporters in July, judge Len Goodman said the results weren't influenced by the network. "I never knew she was on ABC," he said of Monaco.

Monaco and Mazo performed the cha-cha and the quick step. The dances for O'Hurley and Jorgensen were the rhumba and the waltz. Each pair ended with a freestyle performance.

Although viewers alone determined the winner this time, judges Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli returned with evaluations and scores. O'Hurley and Jorgensen earned a total of 77 points, edging Monaco and Mazo's 74 points.

The judges were kind in their comments, with a few exceptions, and even more so in their scoring — no performance earned less than a seven.

"A really first-class opening routine," judge Len Goodman said of Monaco and Mazo's cha-cha, although choreographer Inaba said Monaco stumbled at the start and lacked focus.

Toniolo was impressed with the pair's next two dances, but Goodman and Inaba begged to differ.

"I didn't like it at all," Goodman said of the quick-step number. "It was like a balloon that you blew up and let go (and) it flew around the room."

After the freestyle, Inaba suggested Monaco's hold on the championship could be in doubt.

"It seems to me that you lost a bit of your technique over the weeks that have passed. ... I don't think you did it tonight," Inaba said.

At least Monaco's outfits were consistent — extremely tight, revealing and dripping with glitter and jewels.

O'Hurley was criticized by Tonioli for stumbling on his rumba footwork but Goodman pronounced the performance "beautiful." O'Hurley and Jorgensen excelled on the waltz, winning a perfect "10" from each of the three judges.

Their freestyle, a comic routine in which they acted out partners fighting for the spotlight, earned praise for O'Hurley's ambitious lifts of his partner, which Tonioli noted were "so difficult for a non-professional."

"Dancing with the Stars" proved the surprise hit of the summer schedule and was part of a small burst of dance popularity on TV that included the Fox series "So You Think You Can Dance," which ends Oct. 5.