And the Winner of ABC’s ‘Splash’ Is…

Credit: Kelsey McNeal/ABC

After eight weeks of belly flops, ruptured eardrums, concussions, and bruised kidneys, Splash — the “most electrifying diving competition on Earth” as host Joey Lawrence dubbed it — has come to a close. On Tuesday night’s finale, it came down to Nickelodeon star Drake Bell, former Baywatch babe Nicole Eggert, and extreme skier Rory Bushfield

After impressive dives by each of the finalists, the studio audience was left to choose the winner. Even while coping with his ruptured eardrum from the previous week’s competition, Bushfield was able to pull out the win. And it’s a good thing, too, because, as Bushfield said, “I don’t think any skier would be impressed if I got beat by a couple of actors, so I gotta step up my game.” 

The finale began with each of the final three contestants performing a dive for the judges to score. Only the top two would continue on to the final round, where the audience would choose the winner. 

For their first dives of the night, each of the contestants chose variations on dives that had given trouble in the past. Eggert triumphed with the same handstand dive she scarily botched early in the competition, Bushfield opted for a dive full of complicated twists and turns (which must have wreaked havoc on his torn abdomen), and Bell takes a second stab at the dive that gave him a concussion during last week’s rehearsal. All were impressive — and none were anything I’d like to try — but only Eggert and Bushfield advance to the next round. 

With her final dive, Eggert upped the show’s suspense factor. After a double back flip, she hit the water hard on her back and surfaced saying, “I need help.” As the audience waited with bated breath — and we see a shot of Eggert’s daughter crying in the stands — Splash cut to commercial. After the break, everyone is relieved to see a triumphant Eggert raise her arms and yell, “I’m okay!”

For his final dive, Bushfield decides to do the one thing he has avoided all season — enter the water head first. So, with his the last jump off the platform, Bushfield finally does a real dive for the first time. And he nails it. It’s a double front flip from which he enters the water perfectly vertical. While the result is out of their hands, the judges both say that — as much as they admire Eggert’s courage and charisma — they would have chosen Bushfield as the winner. These guys are Olympians, of course they’ll pick the diver with the best technical form. But will the audience agree, or go with their heart? Duh, they go with Bushfield (I already told you that). 

And so, the all-time best-show-to-watch-while-on-the-elliptical has come to a close. Will we see a second season, or will the the myriad injuries (and potential lawsuits that come with them) prevent ABC from letting it continue? 

Follow Abbey On Twitter @AbbeyStone

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