Las Vegas Sun

November 19, 2017

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Tara Palsha falls a game short:

Dancing champ Donny Osmond holds off a full-time dancer to win Golden Nerf

Hypnotist Marc Savard, a hockey fan, places third


Scott Harrison/Retna/

Donny and Marie Osmond’s 2011 “Christmas in Chicago.”

Click to enlarge photo

Tara Palsha.

Click to enlarge photo

Comedy hypnotist and Planet Hollywood headliner Marc Savard.

Slide over, disco mirror-ball trophy. Make room for a true symbol of Vegas excellence.

OK, so maybe Donny Osmond won’t replace his “Dancing With the Stars” championship trophy with the Golden Nerf on his mantle, but the Flamingo headliner says he’s genuinely excited about winning this year’s celebrity picks contest in just his second year competing.

“Not as much ‘bling’ but definitely as much ‘bang’ to be proud of!” said Osmond, who went 2-1 in the season’s final week to finish with a 28-22-1 record against the spread, a solid 56 percent success rate.

This year’s chase for the Nerf had several lead changes throughout the season and came down to the final weekend.

Tara Palsha, principal dancer in “Vegas! The Show” at Planet Hollywood, was near the top of the leaderboard all season and also finished 2-1 in the final week to finish alone in second place at 27-23-1. In her first season in the contest, Palsha was bidding to become only the second woman to win the Nerf (joining Rita Rudner, who won in 2003 and 2007).

Comedy hypnotist Marc Savard, also in his first season competing in the contest, posted a 26-24-1 to finish in third, two games behind the champion, and was a threat to win all season long.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman led early in the season and was vying to not only be the second woman to win the Nerf, but also the second reigning Las Vegas Mayor – and second Goodman – to win the title. Former mayor Oscar Goodman won the trophy in 2004. She finished three games off the pace at 25-25-1, but did win a nice consolation prize: She finished with the best mark in the Goodman household, a game ahead of her spouse.

Stay tuned for more from this year’s champ. Osmond will receive his trophy before the Super Bowl – and will offer his thoughts on the game once the teams are decided. And once I get around to spray painting another foam football.

Sal’s picks:A 3-0 finale gave me a 30-16-2 mark for the regular season. The 64.5 percent record against the spread is easily the best season I’ve put together, which means next year, you’d be wise to pick against me each week. In the meantime, I’ll try to continue prognosticating success throughout the postseason by taking all four underdogs this weekend: the Bengals plus 4 at the Texans, the Lions plus 10½ at the Saints, the Falcons plus 3 at the Giants and the Broncos plus 8½ vs. the Steelers.


Past winners

2001 – Lance Burton

2002 – Clint Holmes

2003 – Rita Rudner

2004 – Oscar Goodman

2005 – Wayne Newton

2006 – Anthony Crivello

2007 – Rita Rudner

2008 – Wayne Newton

2009 – Lance Burton

2010 – Lance Burton

2011 – Donny Osmond

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