SAN DIEGO, May 15, 2012 – The top four couples fighting for the three spots in next week’s finals on “Dancing With The Stars” showed just how close this competition has turned out to be in Season 14. At this level, injuries and mistakes can mean the difference between making it, and going home a week shy of the chance to dance for the Mirror Ball Trophy.
After the competition, the remaining stars are just three points apart out of sixty total points possible from top to bottom after two dances.
In the first round, each couple performed a ballroom dance they had not attempted so far. William Levy and Cheryl Burke scored 28 points for a smoky tango, not their best but extremely good. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas followed up with a gangster-themed quickstep that was indeed quick, sharp and energetic. It scored 29 points.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd danced an emotional, graceful waltz. It’s tough to generate excitement with a waltz that wins judges’ enthusiasm and fan votes. Driver and Murgatroyd did well, scoring 28 points.
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough drew an Argentine Tango. The timing couldn’t have suited them better. Hough is a creative genius as a choreographer with dramatic dances like this one. Menounos executed his creation perfectly and received a perfect 30 as a result, putting them in the lead after the first round.
As the Latin round got underway, the 10s kept right on coming. The second perfect score of 30 went to William Levy and Cheryl Burke for a crowd pleasing, beautifully executed traditional samba. Levy is truly a good dancer and plays his characters to perfection. He was helped by drawing this dance which suits him so well and allows him to play to the fans shaking and shimmying his hips.
Then disaster struck. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas performed a salsa with an Ali Baba snakecharmer flavor. It seemed odd but to her credit Jenkins was executing the dance well. At the end, the pair stumbled badly and missed hitting the final pose. Ballas kept Jenkins from hitting the floor, holding her up, saying repeatedly “I got you, I got you.” She seemed dazed and as if the wind had been knocked out of her. Jenkins made it to the judges table, shaky and out of breath, unable to speak. She received three 9s for a score of 27. Any other night this would have been perfectly acceptable.
At the end of the show, host Tom Bergeron announced that Jenkins had been transported to a hospital for medical attention. But it turns out she was attended to by medics and stayed until the show went off the air. As of press time her exact condition was unknown. On Twitter, Ballas posted this message immediately after the pair left the dance floor: “sry guys we couldn’t finish R dance. Katherine hurt her back, I tried my best not let her fall at the end :) hope we still have ur votes.”
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd had to come out next, and their lively samba danced to “Mr. Big Stuff” brought the crowd back to life. Donald still hasn’t gotten that 10 he wants from Len Goodman, but he got two others and went out with a 29.
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough picked a good time to have their best night of the season. A creative jive set to Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope” incorporated the brilliant use of a table and even a few of Monae’s own signature moves from her music video for the song. Once again Goodman was stingy with a 9, but the total score was another 29. After the show, Menounos said on Twitter, “Omg!!!!!!!!!! What a night!!!!!!!!! Omg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you all for your inspiring messages-they helped alot! Xo please vote! #dwts ”
It will indeed come down to the fan vote with the judges’ scores so tight. Who will the fans get behind and support? Will they vote on the overall season, on the semi-finals only, or for their personal favorites no matter the performance?
All of them deserve to be in the final for different reasons. Perhaps the only one that is a lock is William Levy. Donald Driver has consistently improved and is an audience favorite. Of the two women, Maria Menounos earned her way into the final with the help of Derek Hough’s choreography and Katherine Jenkins’ mishap. It was impossible to take your eyes off Maria all night. She played her roles to perfection while her dancing had attack. She committed all the way.
On Tuesday night we’ll learn which three make it to next week. We will also hear a “Surprise Announcement” about next season. This is likely to be news that season 15 will be an All-Star edition, featuring 12 stars who have competed on the show before but didn’t win. Rumored to be in the mix: Kirstie Alley, Mel B, and Kyle Massey.
“Dancing With the Stars” names its finalists for Season 14 on Tuesday night, May 15, 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time, on the ABC Television Network.
Contestants and Scores:
Maria Menounos & Derek Hough, tango 10-10-10 (30) + jive 10-9-10 (29) = 59
William Levy & Cheryl Burke, tango 9-9-10 (28) + samba 10-10-10 (30) = 58
Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd, waltz 9-9-10 (28) + samba 10-9-10 (29) = 57
Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas, quick step 10-9-10 (29) + samba 9-9-9 (27) = 56
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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