Liane Bonin
December 06, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

No matter who Melana chose on last night’s ”Average Joe” finale, NBC had no reason to be weepy last night. Though the series had scored so-so ratings earlier in the season, the final episode lured in an above-average 17.4 million viewers, with 19.3 million tuning in during the last half-hour, besting ABC’s ”Monday Night Football” and CBS’ rerun of ”CSI Miami.” Even better, dweebs and nerds shouldn’t give up hope just yet: ”Average Joe Hawaii” starts Jan. 5.

But last night, the greatest fear of dorks everywhere was confirmed. Despite showering sexy Kansas City Chiefs entertainment announcer Melana Scantlin with gifts and saving her from a candle-ignited fire (okay, the fire was his fault, but nice save), New York stock trader Adam, 28, was given the boot. Scantlin instead chose handsome but unfocused waiter-student Jason, 27, to whisk away on an all-expenses-paid vacation.

Adam, whose gushing enthusiasm caused Scantlin to wonder if he might actually propose marriage on one of their dates, took the news surprisingly well, congratulating winner Jason without shedding a single tear. Scantlin later explained that she sent the self-proclaimed underdog away because she didn’t share his intense feelings. And, of course, Jason’s model-pretty looks had nothing to do with it.

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