Ten’s Dancing With The Stars has crowned a winner for 2020.
Actress Claudia Karvan, comedians Celia Pacquola and Ed Kavalee and Richard Wilkins’ son Christian Wilkins were the final four contestants left in the competition after this truncated eight-week season.
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Pacquola and dance partner Jarryd Byrne were the season’s winners, earning the coveted mirrorball trophy, and picking up $50,000 for Celia’s chosen charity, Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre.
Wilkins placed second, Karvan third, and Kavalee fourth.
But it was a surprisingly tough night for judges’ favourite Karvan, who was far and away the judges’ favourite at the finale, earning the leading score of 60 on the leaderboard before viewer votes were added to the mix and dropped her down to third place.
And to add insult to injury, an unfortunate technical error saw the show cut away from Karvan’s finale dance to an ad break. Viewers in some regions complained they barely saw any of Karvan’s routine before ads cut in:
The show later apologised for the technical difficulty, posting Karvan’s dance in full online:
Earlier, hosts Amanda Keller and Grant Denyer opened the show with an acknowledgement that the season hadn’t gone as planned, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing some last-minute changes.
“Grant, who would have predicted this when we started two months ago,” said Keller.
“Normally for the Grand Finale, we would be packed to the rafters with screaming fans, but not tonight,” said Denyer.
The pair also addressed any concerns about the contestants and their dance partners not practicing social distancing.
“As you can imagine, it is difficult to socially distance when you’re ballroom dancing. Our celebs and their partners and all of our dancers have spent long hours every day for the past few months,” said Keller.
“Of course, the health and safety of our cast and crew is paramount and we are following all the necessary government guidelines that are currently in place.”
FINALE ‘THROWN INTO CHAOS’
This season of Dancing With The Stars had been thrown into chaos by coronavirus. Earlier this week, co-host Amanda Keller revealed how the program would continue with a grand finale amid tough social distancing rules.
“For the first time in the world, our grand finale will be different,” Keller said on her WSFM breakfast show.
“With all the state closures we can’t rely on getting people in and out,” Keller said. The finale had been brought forward by a week.
Channel 10 also had a back-up plan in case airports are shut and Keller and Denyer, who both live in NSW, weren’t allowed to fly to Melbourne for the show.
“They’ve got cars standing by in case Grant and I can’t fly out,” the WSFM host said on air this week. “Imagine that, being driven back from Melbourne. I’d be hopeless. Any trip longer than 10 minutes and I can’t handle it!”
Usually all the contestants return for the finale, but this season it was just the final four contenders on set.
And one of the judges was missing as well.
“Craig (Revel Horwood) has had to fly home in case he couldn’t get out,” Keller said. “He lives in England. He will be judging via a TV monitor.”