SAN DIEGO, May 23, 2012 – It came down to the fans, and the fans gave the Mirror Ball Trophy to Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd on the season finale of “Dancing With The Stars” Season 14.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas placed second, and in what seemed a surprise to many, William Levy and Cheryl Burke placed third.
As the Packer Nation celebrates, Driver is now the third NFL player to win, following Emmitt Smith and Hines Ward. Three others have placed second. Athletes have now won seven of the 14 seasons of Dancing With the Stars. Including the NFL players, add Apolo Anton Ohno, Helio Castroneves, Kristi Yamaguchi and Shawn Johnson.
It was a virtual dead head after Monday night, with Jenkins 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.
The final round of 24-hour dances ended up making no impact on the results, as the judges gave perfect scores to all three competitors. William Levy and Cheryl Burke danced their salsa first, a crowd pleaser and well executed, but not challenging or complex. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas gave their jive all they had, a blaze of energy that maintained good speed right until the end.
But if anyone had doubts that Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd deserved to be the champions, their cha cha cha underlined and put the exclamation point on their title. It was big, bold, and innovative and it took chances. It was executed with the fierce competitive spirit these two showed all season. It would have been much safer to ease off the gas and make it simple. They didn’t and both the judges and the fans love them for it.
After the show, Murgatroyd posted this on Twitter: “WOWWWWWW!!! Big big thank you to everyone who voted for @Donald_Driver80 and I. We couldn’t have done it without you THANK YOU!!!!!” Driver soon followed with this message to the fans: “America thank you all for the love and support. Without America we could not have won. Love you all. ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤”
Bruno Tonioli pointed out that like all great athletes, Driver knew how to peak at just the right time. He listened to the comments and coaching and showed improvement week after week. But perhaps even more important, Driver and Murgatroyd never played it safe, never held back, and they went for it all and won it with their Texas freestyle. It was unexpected, bold, and gave a nod to the show’s history.
Next season’s competitors would do well to remember the words of Len Goodman after the freestyle: “Chances win dances!”
The two-hour finale featured all of the former competitors. Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower performed the freestyle they planned. Jaleel White and Sherri Shepherd lived out their respective fantasies with White playing the role of Shaft, and Shepherd dancing with five of the male pros to “It’s Raining Men.” No one enjoyed herself more on the show than Shepherd.
Gladys Knight sang “The Way We Were” as we were treated to a montage featuring the three finalists. It was a fitting way to end the season, and for fans who truly love this show and think of it as something a bit more than just another reality show, there wasn’t a dry eye. We vote for bringing back Gladys to sing on every final show of “Dancing With The Stars” forever more.
The season started with somewhat low expectations. There weren’t any huge stars. Gladys Knight herself was probably the biggest name. There wasn’t any stunt casting, not a Bristol, Chaz, or Kate Gosselin to be found. But Season 14 produced some of the best dancing, closest scores and finest entertainment you could hope for. The right couple won, and no one lost.
So until next September, we will have to spend our time speculating which former competitors will return to the ballroom for the upcoming All-Stars Edition. Or if you’re like me, you head to Las Vegas to see the live stage version of Dancing With The Stars now playing at the Tropicana Hotel with Carson Kressley, Kyle Massey, Lacey Schwimmer, and Joey Fatone in the cast. Kym Johnson and Tristan McManus are reportedly joining the troupe as well. Some of us can’t go without a fix!
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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Copyright © 2012 by Falcon Valley Group
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