'Dancing' Finalists Look Forward To Post-show Life - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

'Dancing' Finalists Look Forward To Post-show Life

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Now that the "Dancing With the Stars" mirror-ball trophy has been awarded, the show's three finalists are looking to the future.

Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, the show's youngest competitor ever at 17, was named the new "Dancing" champ Tuesday, beating out fellow finalists Gilles Marini and Melissa Rycroft. But with the show's 20 million weekly viewers, all three are enjoying newfound popularity.

"This has given me so many opportunities," Johnson said. "It opened up a whole new world that I've never even known about. It's just been the best experience ever."

Johnson has already taken on her next project, but her publicist declined to say what exactly the high school junior will do next.

Marini, a French actor best known for his shower scene in the "Sex and the City" movie, said job offers have been pouring in, but that's not why he signed up for the ABC dance-off.

"I really did the show toward seeing my daughter twirling around in a tutu. I thought she might like to see her daddy dancing on a big stage like that," he said. "That was, for me, the bigger thing. And then things come naturally workwise. And it's great, but I never thought about it."

The 33-year-old said he "turned down so many parts" during his 11 weeks of "Dancing."

Rycroft has more short-term plans.

"I'm going home," said the native Texan. "And I'm going to get a puppy."

The reality-show star (she was jilted on this season of "The Bachelor") said her boyfriend promised her a puppy if she reached the finals.

With a score two points behind Johnson and Marini, Rycroft was eliminated during Tuesday's two-hour finale, leaving her fellow competitors to vie for the trophy.

Johnson and Marini came into the final showdown tied with 58 points. Viewer votes were combined with judges' scores to determine the winner. Show host Tom Bergeron said the remaining finalists were separated by "less than 1 percent."

A new season of "Dancing With the Stars" is slated for the fall.

 

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