SAN DIEGO, May 21, 2012 – It will all come down to the fans to decide who takes home the Mirror Ball Trophy as the winner of “Dancing With The Stars” Season 14 after Monday night’s results, a virtual dead heat among Katherine Jenkins, William Levy and Donald Driver.
Katherine Jenkins is sitting atop the leaderboard after two perfect scores of 30 for a total of 60 points. William Levy and Donald Driver are tied with 59, just one point behind.
In the first round, couples danced a routine from earlier in the competition the judges wanted to see them improve upon. They could change up the music and choreography.
William Levy was asked for a cha cha cha, which he danced the very first week of the season. It showed an improvement in style and confidence. Levy’s lines are terrific. But it didn’t seem particularly challenging. The judges loved it. Len Goodman said it was the best cha cha he’d ever seen on the show. The judges scored Levy a 30 right off the top of the show.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas followed with a paso doble. Jenkins performed the paso during Rock Week and the dance suffered from the improbable music choice and her horrible leatherette catsuit and cape didn’t help. This time, the paso was played straight, with traditional music and costumes. It was stunning and perfectly executed technically. It deserved every bit of its 30 points.
Would Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd finally get their perfect score for their Argentine Tango? The dance was powerful with superb lifts, but Len Goodman found it a little too careful. Uh oh, kiss your ten from Len goodbye. Still, Carrie Anne Inaba and Bruno Tonioli loved it, for a score of 29 points.
On to the freestyle round, where fans have learned to expect the unexpected.
The first freestyle from William and Cheryl was not at all unexpected. It was a medley of Latin styles from tango to salsa to cha cha. Len Goodman called it a “salsa with lifts.” Bruno Tonioli loved it, no surprise. Even the costumes were rather boring. Technically it was fine, but there wasn’t the kind of sizzle you hoped to see. It scored 29 points.
Mark Ballas also played it a bit safe, but this time the result was a bit more exciting. Katherine Jenkins does her best with the traditional ballroom styles. Ballas took a page from Donny Osmond’s book several seasons ago, when he and Kym Johnson won the Mirror Ball Trophy with a stylish quick step. Ballas put together a jazz age, Chicago style routine of jive, lindy, and quickstep. He was smart to start it off with a brief singing introduction from Katherine. It seems the couple missed a hold and weren’t completely in sync, but the energy and performance covered those sins. The judges once again rewarded Jenkins and Ballas with a perfect 30.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd decided to take a chance. They correctly predicted Levy would perform something Latin and hip shaking, and Jenkins would dance a quick step. Driver showed he is a longtime fan of the show and knows its history. He reached back and took his inspiration from the famous Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke freestyle considered one of the favorites ever in show history, a Western number to “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.
Driver and Murgatroyd pulled out all the stops for a cowboy-themed freestyle loaded with lifts and Texas two-stepping. They were dressed in Packers green and yellow outfits. The crowd loved it, the judges loved it. Len Goodman told Driver that in football, catches win matches; in ballroom, “chances win dances!” Finally, in the last week of competition, Driver got his perfect ten from Len and a perfect 30 for his effort. If Driver wins the Mirror Ball Trophy, he won it with this surprising, bold, energetic and exciting dance.
After the show, Murgatroyd posted this on Twitter: “That was the most INSANE energy I have felt in the ballroom! We had a blast in our Freestyle and hope we rocked all your socks off!!!!!!” (I promise I didn’t leave out any exclamation points).
Fellow pros and competitors from across the seasons made their favorites known to Twitter followers. Maks Chmerkovskiy, Melissa Gilbert, Roshon Fegan, Erin Andrews, Kirstie Alley are rooting for Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd; Kym Johnson, Mike Catherwood, Melissa Rycroft and Khloe Kardashian for William Levy and Cheryl Burke; and Derek Hough and Donny Osmond for Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas.
Competitors will have once last chance to impress the judges, the “24 Hour Challenge.” They received music upon the close of the show Monday night, and have 24 hours to create one last routine using any ballroom style they wish to the music provided. UPDATE: Mark Ballas told his Twitter fans he and Katherine Jenkins will dance a jive. William Levy will perform a salsa and Donald Driver will dance the cha cha.
Who will win? Katherine Jenkins is technically the best dancer. Her paso was superb, but her freestyle was safe, and didn’t seem to have energized viewers. The best technician doesn’t always win. William Levy is reliable, smooth and charismatic. It’s hard not to root for Levy to do well. But his freestyle was also predictable and safe.
The greatest athletes know how to peak at just the right time. Donald Driver has shown the most improvement over the course of the season, and he and Murgatroyd went for it all with their Texas freestyle. It was unexpected, bold, and gave a nod to the show’s history.
It’s up to the fans and I predict they will send Driver home with a Mirror Ball Trophy to match his Vince Lombardi Trophy.
For the two-hour finale, all of the former competitors will return to reminisce and dance one more time. We will hear singers Kelly Clarkson and competitor Gladys Knight will sing as well as dance. We will see the final 24-hour dances from the finalists, and then we’ll find out who wins.
Don’t miss our final Communities live chat for this season of Dancing With The Stars at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.
“Dancing With the Stars” returns for the final show of the Season 14 on Tuesday night, May 22, 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time, on the ABC Television Network.
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.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities at WashingtonTimes.com” when quoting from or linking to this story.
Copyright © 2012 by Falcon Valley Group
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.