He finally did it! Len Goodman closed the Dancing With the Stars Season 14 Finals by finally giving Donald Driver a 10 — just when he needed it.
Yes, Donald & Peta Murgatroyd ended the night tied for second/last, but their crowd-pleasing country-inspired Freestyle was deemed Carrie Ann Inaba’s favorite routine of her favorite finals in all 14 seasons. If Freestyles do win seasons … this could indeed be Donald’s to lose.
That said, Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas had themselves a *perfect* night, finally earning 10s from Len — two of them — also just in time. If top scores win seasons … this could indeed be Katherine’s to lose.
That said, William Levy & Cheryl Burke are tied with Donald & Peta, just one measly point behind Katherine & Mark. Some folks are going to be mighty ticked that Len denied these two a perfect score for their Freestyle. The audience did not seem to agree with that “9” he flashed for Wills. If audience reactions win seasons … this could indeed be William’s to lose.
That said, we have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow, when there is one dance left to add to the mix before a champion is crowned. Those “24 Hour Challenge” scores will count, but this is your last chance to vote. Who got your vote tonight and why?
Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas — 30 + 30 = 60 out of 60
William Levy & Cheryl Burke — 30 + 29 = 59 out of 60
Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd — 29 + 30 = 59 out of 60
Read on for a full recap of the Week 10 action:
ROUND 1: JUDGES’ PICK
1. William Levy & Cheryl Burke — Cha-Cha-Cha to “Raise Your Glass” by Pink — Bruno just wanted some private time with William, no? “Your hip action is just sex on legs,” Bruno noted during rehearsals. To be fair, he also noted that the other finalists are just as good as William. (Just not as sexy?) (Besides, we all know Maks is the official Sex on a Stick.) Cheryl definitely has him moving and working his hips more than he did in their Week 1 Cha-Cha. Usually the celeb guys just dance around the pro ladies, but not this time.
JUDGES: Len Goodman shouted “Loud and proud! … I’ll tell you what that was — that’s as good as I’ve ever seen in 14 seasons of Cha-Cha-Cha! Well done.” Wow, that’s high praise indeed. Bruno Tonioli said it was an intoxicating Cuban cocktail of natural flowing moves. His hip action leaves Bruno green with envy. Carrie Ann Inaba said what’s now there is sophistication, musicality. “You have grown miles and that’s what the show’s about.”
SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30 out of 30. Well, you can’t top that! All the others can do is try and match it. Not too shocking. The judges do love William.
2. Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas — Paso Doble to "Espana Cani" by Erich Kunzel — Len visits them in rehearsals to talk about how she needs big, strong shapes. Her Rock Week Paso had too much aggression and not enough finesse. She really wants a 10 from Len, since he’s never flashed it for her. Love their costumes. For a guy who doesn’t want to show so much skin, Mark is showing plenty of skin. Good routine. Lots of strength, aggression and technique without going overboard.
JUDGES: Bruno said it was a Paso Doble full of vivid, lush, lustrous artistry. Her shapes extended beautifully. “Technical brilliance.” Carrie Ann said it was like watching a prima ballerina. Every moment was perfect. “You are the prima diva of the Dancing With the Stars ballroom!” Len said it was like a buffet of Spanish tapas. “Very satisfying. Fabulous!”
SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30 out of 30! When Len flashes a 10, it’s just understood that Bruno is going for a 10, too. He’s overshadowed, poor dear. But this is their first perfect score, which has to feel great. And it puts a ton of pressure on Donald & Peta. If everyone gets perfect scores, it will come down completely to the voters.
3. Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd — Argentine Tango to “They" by Jem — Carrie Ann said what was lacking in their Week 5 AT was content and choreography. So that’s a note for Peta. They want his movements to be bigger. They do their classic spin turn at the start of the routine. Good thing they kept that one in! They keep their lifts, which is good since that was their strength the first time they did that routine.
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said she loved it the first time and she loved it again. She wouldn’t say she saw more content but there was a new crispness to all the moves and a lot more light and shade. Len said it did have far more content. As always the lifts were great. “For me it was a tad careful.” COME ON, ALREADY. He wanted Donald to come at it a bit stronger, but it was a vast improvement over last time. Bruno said Donald has been very clever. He went for subtle and intimate, small in the details but strong storytelling.
SCORES: 10, 9, 10 = 29 out of 30. “Len, I don’t know what I need to do baby,” Donald said, “but I promise on this next one, you will give me a 10.”
ROUND 2: FREESTYLES
4. William Levy & Cheryl Burke — Freestyle to "Objection (Tango)" by Shakira — Cheryl is a big Argentine Tango buff so it’s interesting to see that influence at the start of their otherwise very sexy, hip-swiveling Freestyle. He does flash some skin after all. Lots of lifts and tricks. It’s intense and sexy and Cheryl rocks it. William goes nuts firing up the crowd after it’s over.
JUDGES: Len shouted through the screams to say what William does, he does well. “I liked it,” Len said. He liked the changes in rhythm from Tango to Salsa. “But for me it was too predictable. All you do is shake your butt and get the women screaming. I wanted more! I wanted to see something different. I’m fed up with it!” The other judges strongly disagreed. Bruno said they were too devils unleashed upon the earth, into a Latin-inspired extravaganza. Sinful but ever so good! Carrie Ann danced around with happiness. “That was just exactly what a Freestyle should be. It’s about breaking ground...” she began. “What ground? It was a Salsa,” Len snapped.
SCORES: 10, 9, 10 = 29 out of 30. Total of 59 out of 60.
5. Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas — Freestyle to "Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)" by Andrews Sisters — Mark said Katherine has been the most versatile dancer so he wants to show that off. She starts the routine singing with a swing at the mic. Go silver flapper girl! Why couldn’t she wear heels? Cute routine with lots of energy, but … still waiting for that something more.
JUDGES: Bruno called it fast and flamboyant. “I have never seen so much content, so fast, so well executed. You were on the money all the way through.” Carrie Ann said that showed their best. Her range of motion and style, she can do upside down, backward. “That was the dance of a champion. you are a champion!” Len said “Tom, if I’m asleep and dreaming, don’t wake me up. This is a Freestyle.” OK, so we can see where Len is leaning.
SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30 out of 30, total for the night of 60 out of 60. That’s it — that’s the top score of the night. Even if Donald & Peta get a perfect score their 29 from before can’t beat this!
6. Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd — Freestyle to "I Play Chicken with the Train" by Cowboy Troy — Donald was inspired by Drew Lachey & Cheryl’s winning Season 2 Freestyle. So he’s going for cowboy style. She bled for the routine in rehearsals. And Cowboy Troy is here! They do seem like they’ve studied past successful Freestyles. Definitely some Drew & Cheryl in there and a touch of J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff from last season. They have the tricks! This is a fun Freestyle, more like what — OK, people are wearing cheese on their heads. Cheeseheads in the house! And Carrie Ann is standing on the judges’ table.
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said, no offense to the others, “This is by far my favorite finals and that is by far my favorite dance tonight!” Len said get you some of that! Too hot to trot. “In football, catches win matches and chances win dances.” He came out and did a fantastic job. (Finally getting a 10 from Len?) Bruno said he cannot resist a ride in the wild, wild west. As rides go, this was ace high. “A country-inspired triumph!”
SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30 out of 30, total of 59 out of 60!
NOW GO VOTE
• Vote for William & Cheryl’s Team Fuego: 1-800-VOTE4-08 or 1-800-868-3408
• Vote for Katherine & Mark’s Team Welsh Wiggler: 1-800-VOTE4-10 or 1-800-868-3410
• Vote for Donald & Peta’s Team Driving Miss Peta: 1-800-VOTE4-03 or 1800-868-3403
• And don’t forget to also vote for your favorite couple here at ABC’s official DWTS site.
Watch the Dancing With the Stars Season 14 finale on Tuesday, May 22 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
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