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DWTS 14: Crowns a gentleman champion

On the “Dancing with the Stars” finale for season 14, the three remaining couples performed a 24-hour challenge–learning a new dance routine in a day, but each couple received a perfect score. That means it wasn’t the judges but the audience who decided the champions.

Green Bay Packer Donald Driver and his partner Peta Murgatroyd won the mirrorball trophy. This might not mean as much as a Super Bowl championship ring, but Driver has shown he has charisma off the football field and on the dance floor.

  1. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd
  2. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas
  3. William Levy and Cheryl Burke

Driver joins other sports figures who have won the mirrorball trophy, including Olympic gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi (6), Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson (8), Olympic old medal speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno (4), racer Helio Castroneves (5) and football players Emmitt Smith (3) and Hines Ward (12). Driver makes seven athletes  and three football players who have won the mirrorball trophy.

French man Gilles Marini placed second behind American Johnson during season 8. Other foreign nationals who have made the finals were: Brit Kelly Osbourne (season 9) and Chilean Cristian de la Fuentes (season 6). Both finished third just as William Levy did tonight.

Yet from the audience reaction, Levy could be a real winner and become a cross over star. Perhaps we’ll see him soon guest starring in TV series in English as that super sexy Latin lover. Heck, what about a Latin James Bond?

Besides reviewing the 10 weeks for high-level performances, the three remaining couples were required to perform the 24-hour dance challenge. The three dances did not separate the competitors as they all received perfect score.

Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: cha cha cha (30) to “Beggin’” by Madcon.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: jive (30) to “Splish Splash” by Bobby Darin.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: salsa (30) to “Juventud de Presente” by Tito Puente.

Besides the three dance performances by the final three couples, Gladys Knight returned to sing “The Way We Were.” Pasadena-born Jaleel White also returned to perform a paso doble to the theme of “Shaft.”

Kelly Clarkson appeared and sang “Dark Side” and “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).” as Kym Johnson, Tony Dovolani, Anna Trebunskaya and Tristan MacManus danced.

This fall, “Dancing with the Stars” fans will see many familiar faces as season 15 will be the first ever all-stars version. Who are you hoping will make the cut?

DWTS 14 Finals: Can Katherine Jenkins win?

Last night, 15 May 2012, Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins and her professional dance partner learned early on that they had survived the cut and were moving on to the finals. That’s despite posting the lowest combined score for two dances on Monday night. TV hostess Maria Menounos and her partner Derek Hough were eliminated instead, leaving two hunks in the finals: telenovela actor William Levy and NFL wide receiver Donald Driver.

Maria Menounos would have been a long shot because only one winner has been a TV hostess (Brooke Burke).

  1. William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 28 (9, 9, 10) + 30 (10,10,10)  = 58/60
  2. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 28 (9, 9, 10) +29 (10,9,10) = 57/60
  3. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 29 (10,9,10) + 27 (9,9,9) = 56/60

Jenkins suffered from a back muscle spasm and that may be critical to her performance in the finals. Ballas will have to choreograph in a way that will not cause further pain or damage, but Ballas can be unpredictable. It wasn’t so long ago that Disney star Chelsea Kane had to have a heart-to-heart with Ballas about his artistic risks during season 12. Kane and Ballas finished third behind the winer Hines Ward and Kym Johnson and the runner-up Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

The belly dance-themed salsa routine on Monday night was risky, but did include salsa moves, however, it was that unsupported back bend that caused Jenkins to break out in tears, unable to complete the move. Ballas making a butterfly over Jenkins didn’t add to Jenkins’ difficulty level and at that stage in the performance was a high risk as her back was unsupported. Further, earlier Ballas and Jenkins had performed on their knees and Jenkins obviously wasn’t wearing knee pads–another risky decision.

Of course, Ballas isn’t the only professional dancer who takes risks in choreography. Burke and Levy’s rumba during week 6 (Motown Week) was deemed too steamy by head judge Len Goodman. He gave the team an 8 compared to the 9 from judge Carrie Ann Inaba and the 10 from judge Bruno Tonioli.

Derek Hough’s Bollywood-inspired samba had too little samba for Goodman and the team got marked down to a 7 compared to the nines the other judges awarded. Peta Murgatroyd was more successful with her R&B inspired samba for Donald Driver this last week. That allowed Driver to samba without being compared to the kind of hip movement we already know Levy has.

Yet Hough, Burke and Murgatroyd’s risk taking weren’t physical, but thematic.

Driver has stage presence, but he doesn’t emote or smolder as much as Levy. Driver also doesn’t have that sensuous and fluid hip action that Levy does. Both men suffer from a tendency to be flat-footed (not extending their feet and ankles) and sickle footed. Jenkins almost always has turn out, beautiful lines and extension in both her hands and feet. Driver and Levy don’t always reach full extension as consistently as Jenkins. Jenkins, however, has problems projecting anger or a commanding, dominating presence as is required for the paso doble. Both of the men are capable of that as well as the lighter mood that Jenkins is best at projecting.

Katherine Jenkins holds the high score for the cha cha cha (29), quickstep (29) and waltz (29). She’s tied with Maria Menounos and Levy for the high score in the rumba (27). Menounos has the high score for jive (29), paso doble (30), Viennese waltz (28) and Argentine tango (30). Levy has the high score for the foxtrot (30), samba (30), salsa (28) and tango (28). Driver doesn’t hold the high score for any of the dances.

The team who posts the highest score during the freestyle usually has the advantage. There’s always the possibility of complete disaster such as artistic meltdown between Anna Trebunskaya and Olympic gold medal figure skater Evan Lysacek who finished second during season 10. Can you remember Marie Osmond’s doll-themed freestyle with gentleman dancer Jonathan Roberts without cringing? That was season 5 and Marie Osmond finished third (Hélio Castroneves and Julianne Hough won).
Julianne Hough won twice–with Ohno and Castroneves in seasons 4 and 5 respectively. Her brother Derek has won three times: season 7 with TV hostess Brooke Burke, season 10 with singer Nicole Scherzinger and season 11 with actress Jennifer Grey. Ballas has won twice: during season 6 with Olympic gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi and season 8 with Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson. Cheryl Burke has also won twice: with Drew Lachey during season 2 and Emmitt Smith during season 3.
Burke has finished second twice: season 3 with actor Gilles Marini and season 13 with reality star Rob Kardashian. Burke has finished third once–during season six with actor Cristián de la Fuente (who had an injured shoulder).
Ballas has finished third twice: during season 11 with political advocate Bristol Palin and season 12 with Disney star Chelsea Kane.
While both Ballas and Burke have experience planning and training a celebrity successfully into the finals, Peta Murgatroyd is only in her second season as a professional dance partner and this is her first time in the finals. Yet she has proven to make smart choices and takes fewer big risks than Burke who went too raunchy for Len Goodman. Then there’s Ballas who sometimes seems choreographing more for his own personal gain or self expression than as a strategic plan for his celebrity.
With the teams so closely matched, the votes of the viewers will really count. What do we know about the DWTS audience? Over 13 seasons, six women and seven men have won the mirror ball trophy.
Maria Menounos would have been a long shot because only one winner has been a TV hostess (Brooke Burke). Three actors have won (Monaco, Grey and Martinez) and three singers (Scherzinger, Lachey and Osmond).

Only one non-American has won (Castroneves who is Brazilian). Castroneves won over British singer Mel B. French man Gilles Marini placed second behind American Johnson. Other foreign nationals who have made the finals were: Brit Kelly Osbourne (season 9) and Chilean Cristian de la Fuentes (season 6). Both finished third. Katherine Jenkins and William Levy would be at a disadvantage here.
The largest group of winners have been sports figures: Olympic gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson, Olympic old medal speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, racer Helio Castroneves and football players Emmitt Smith and Hines Ward. That would give Donald Driver an advantage.
Yet looking at Google Trends, the hot topic in America last night and early this morning was Katherine Jenkins with neither Donald Driver nor William Levy making the top 40 search list. This DWTS finals will be hard to call and expect incredible routines and high emotion on Monday night.

DWTS 14 Week 9: Donald Driver gets three tens for third

Three tens would make a perfect score, but last night (15 May 2012) on “Dancing with the Stars” football player Donald Driver and his professional dance partner Peta Murgatroyd received three tens, but not for the same dance. Their combined score for two dances gave them a 57 out of 60 and put them in third place on the leader board.
The top-ranked team of Maria Menounos and Derek Hough received one perfect score and were two points ahead of Driver and Murgatroyd. The second-place team of William Levy and Cheryl Burke were only one point below Menounos and Hough and one point ahead of Driver and Murgatroyd.
 It was Bruno Tonioli who was the deciding score between third and fourth. For their waltz to “Kissing You” by Des’ree, Driver received a 10 from Tonioli. For the samba to “Mr. Big Stuff”  by  Jean Knight, Carrie Ann Inaba and Tonioli both gave tens.
This is one tough field of dancers.
Driver performed the waltz dressed in a white suit with Murgatroyd in an all white dress. Over the season, his frame and extension, particularly in the arms, have definitely improved. He needs more extension in his feet and turn out. Still he expressed tender romance well.
Carrie Ann Inaba called it “dreamy.” His feet needed to finish the step and not have extra steps and shuffles.
Len Goodman thought it was charming, but noted that Driver need to look left and not at his partner as ballroom rules dictate. In all, Goodman found Driver to be a “big rough, tough cream puff.”
Bruno Tonioli noted that “It is much harder to impress with a waltz than a tango or a quickstep,” and he loved the gentle, soft quality that Driver has. For such a big guy, Driver is light on his feet. Tonioli also noted that Driver extended lines better than ever and the performance was like “watching romance blossom in front of my eyes.”
For the samba, I think Murgatroyd made a wise choice. Knowing that both Driver and Levy would be performing the samba and that Levy can really move those hips, she tried a non-traditional samba.
The routine made Murgatroyd the aggressor in their tangle of love. Driver lacks the fluid hip movement, but consider the beat of the song and that he did have elements of the samba. Instead of being half-dressed and ready to partyin the streets of Rio, Driver begins in a grey three-piece suit. He would use more extension in his feet and more turn out.
Instead of ending in a happy, heated jungle festival, Driver ends up being taken for major money by Murgatroyd’s gold digger girl.
Goodman thought it was a bit careful.
Tonioli thought it was a risky move taking the samba out of Brazil and party-hardy, but he felt it worked.
Inaba just smiled and said it was A plus game.
Here’s how the teams stood at the end of Monday night.
  1. Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 30 (10,10,10) +29 (10,9,10) = 59/60
  2. William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 28 (9, 9, 10) + 30 (10,10,10)  = 58/60
  3. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 28 (9, 9, 10) +29 (10,9,10) = 57/60
  4. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 29 (10,9,10) + 27 (9,9,9) = 56/60
The top two teams should advance into the finals and I’m looking forward to seeing  their freestyle performance. The question of the third team might come down to who gets more votes from the bottom two. While Jenkins and Ballas have a better season average, that won’t be taken into account when the votes are tallied Tuesday night. In addition only one non-American has won the show over the past 13 seasons and he was competing against another non-American.

That was Helio Castroneves who is Brazilian during season 5. Castroneves won over British singer Mel B. During season 8, French man Gilles Marini placed second behind American Johnson. Other foreign nationals who have made the finals were: Brit Kelly Osbourne (season 9) and Chilean Cristian de la Fuentes (season 6). Both finished third. This trend might mean that Katherine Jenkins and William Levy would be at a disadvantage.
However, the largest group of winners have been sports figures: Olympic gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi (season 6), Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson (season 8), Olympic medal speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno (season 4), racer Helio Castroneves (season 5) and football players Emmitt Smith (season 3) and Hines Ward (season 12). That would give Donald Driver an advantage.
Below you can compare the four semifinalists and their scores for the seven dances performed Monday night.

Argentine tango
  1. Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 30 (10,10,10) Week 9
  2. William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 29 (10, 9, 10) Week 5
  3. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 29 (10,9,10) Week 5
  4. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 27 (10, 8, 9) Week 5
Jive
  1. Maria Menounos and Derek Hough:29 (10,9,10) Week 9
  2. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 28 (10, 9, 9) Week 8
  3. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 26 (9, 8, 9) Week 2
  4. William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 22 (7, 7, 8) Week 4
Quickstep
  1. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 29 (10, 9, 10) Week 9
  2. Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 25 (8, 8, 9) Week 2
  3. William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 25 (9, 7, 9) Week 2
  4. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 24 (8, 8, 8) Week 2

Samba

  1. Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 25 (9, 7, 9) Week 8
  2. William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 30 (10,10,10) Week 9
  3. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 29 (10,9,10) Week 9
  4. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 29 (10,9,10) Week 6

Salsa

  1. William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 28 (9, 9, 10) Week 3
  2. Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 27 (9, 9, 9) Week 5
  3. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas:  27 (9,9,9) Week 9
  4. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: N/A
Tango
  1. William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 28 (9, 9, 10) Week 9
  2. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 27 (9, 9, 9) Week 8
  3. Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 26 (9, 8, 9) Week 4
  4. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: N/A
Waltz
  1. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 29 (10, 9, 10) Week 3
  2. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 28 (9, 9, 10) Week 9
  3. Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: N/A
  4. William Levy and Cheryl Burke: N/A
 For all the dances performed during season 14, here are the top scoring teams.
Argentine tango: Maria Menounos and Derek Hough (30)
Cha cha cha:
  • Jaleel White and Kym Johnson (29);
  • Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas (29)
Foxtrot: William Levy and Cheryl Burke (30)
Jive: Maria Menounos and Derek Hough (29)
Paso doble: Maria Menounos and Derek Hough (30)
Quickstep: Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas (29)
Rumba:
  • William Levy and Cheryl Burke,
  • Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas,
  • Maria Menounos and Derek Hough (27)
Salsa: William Levy and Cheryl Burke (28)
Samba: William Levy and Cheryl Burke (30)
Viennese waltz: Maria Menounos and Derek Hough (28)
Waltz: Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas (29)
As of tonight, the average score of the remaining teams for 12 30-point dances (excluding Motown Marathon scores) is as follows:
  1. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 27.3
  2. Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 26.8
  3. William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 26.9
  4. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 26.4
With the teams to closely matched, the votes of the viewers will really count.
Online voting will remain open until 11 a.m. (Eastern Time)/ 8 a.m. (Pacific Time) the following day (Tuesday).

DWTS 14 Week 6: Donald Driver in fourth

Donald Driver might have been disappointed. During Motown Week, he finished fourth overall, but he also got special advice from head judge Len Goodman that made Driver drop to the floor with joy.

Goodman felt that NFL player Driver performed better than the telenovela star William Levy. Goodman’s top score so far this season has been a nine and last night he gave nines to Driver, Katherine Jenkins (with Mark Ballas) and Jaleel White (with Kym Johnson).

Driver had a little bobble during his routine, but he can really do Motown. His ballroom isn’t bad either. He has to watch the positioning of his feet and the straightening of the knees. What was lovely to watch was his on-stage personality. It fitted both the foxtrot and the Motown sound. Driver and his partner Peta Murgatroyd danced “The Way You Do the Things You Do” to The Temptations singing live.

Bruno Tonioli declared that Driver had pizazz, confidence and a powerful stage presence. “You should be in the theater,” he advised. I agree. Imagine Driver as a musical headliner? I’d go to see him.

Carrie Ann Inaba gushed,  “You’re so in the zone.” She also noted that his transition from funk to traditional hold was flawless.

Len Goodman does have a sense of humor and it makes for good TV. Goodman said he knew that Driver was disappointed last week. This week Goodman claimed that he felt Driver would come out tonight and “show me some fireworks and you didn’t” and, wait for it, Goodman exclaimed, “You exploded on the floor.”

With that he gave Murgatroyd some advice.  “This man can give more…the routine wasn’t as big as his talents. This guy can be a great dancer.” I agree.

Consider that during the Motown Marathon, which is usually dominated by teams with a male professional dancer saw only Mark Ballas guide his celebrity, Welsh classical singer Katherine Jenkins, to the top spot.  The three teams after that were with male celebrities. Could we call them the three hunk-ateers? That’s TV actor and Pasadena-native Jaleel White and his partner Kym Johnson, telenovela star William Levy and his partner Cheryl Burke, and Driver.

Consider that from these four teams, the team of Driver and Murgatroyd is the only team where the professional partner hasn’t won a mirrorball trophy. Murgatroyd has to be a quick study because Burke and Ballas really know how to get the best of their celebrities and Johnson isn’t so bad at it either.

We don’t see Driver in danger of being in the bottom two so we look forward to his performance next week. Driver and Murgatroyd are tied with the high score for the foxtrot with Maria Menounos and Derek Hough.

LEADER BOARD
Individual dance + Motown marathon

Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 29 (10, 9, 10) + 10 = 39
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson: 29 (10, 9, 10) + 8 = 37
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 27 (9, 8, 10) + 9 = 36
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 27 (9, 9, 9) + 7 = 34
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 26 (8, 9, 9) + 4 = 31
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24 (8, 8, 8) + 6 = 30
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: 23 (7, 8, 8) + 5 = 28
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus: 21 (7, 7, 7) + 3 = 24

Individual Dances

Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 29 (10, 9, 10)
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson: 29 (10, 9, 10)
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 27 (9, 8, 10)
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 27 (9, 9, 9)
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 26 (8, 9, 9)
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24 (8, 8, 8)
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: 23 (7, 8, 8)
Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus: 21 (7, 7, 7)

Motown marathon

  • Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 10
  • William Levy and Cheryl Burke:  9
  • Jaleel White and Kym Johnson:  8
  • Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd:  7
  • Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy:  6
  • Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: 5
  • Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 4
  • Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus:  3

Vote online

DWTS 14 Week 5: Donald Driver tango lifts him to third

Last night on “Dancing with the Stars” season 14, it was Latin night and Donald Driver’s Argentine tango split the judges. Driver and his partner Peta Murgatroyd got the last ten of the night but the pair ended up tied for third.

In DWTS, the difference between the Argentine tango and ballroom tango is the hold (notice both are NOT leaning back in Argentine tango), the direction their heads are facing (in the direction they are heading) and lifts are allowed.

At a real milonga, lifts are rarely performed at a dance party and not allowed in most ballroom nightclub Argentine tango competitions, but allowed in show tango but not salon tango. There would be more emphasis on displacements (sacadas) and you’d see giros, volcadas and colgadas.

The conceit of this dance is two people gambling and Donald Driver presents a more laid back masculinity than William Levy who projected a more forceful persona. In this scenario, it’s as if two attractive people are just having a little foreplay on the dance floor as they danced to “Sin Rumbo” by Otros Aires. Driver does a sacada (displacement) and a few double ganchos. He was leading with his heel which I always find a bit frightening when performing close intricate moves, but the routine is mostly lifts, dips and tricks.

Carrie Ann Inaba said that was divine and admired Driver’s control.

Len Goodman said he thought the lifts were spectacular.

Bruno Tonioli commented that the build up was amazing, a predator was ready for the kill.

Inaba gave Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd a ten for their Argentine tango, but Goodman scored them with an eight. Tonioli gave the team a nine. This team ended the night tied for third with Maria Menounos and Derek Hough who performed a salsa routine. Tied for first were the teams of Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas and William Levy and Cheryl Burke.

Inaba and Tonioli gave Levy and Jenkins tens, but Goodman gave both of them nines. A nine is the highest score Goodman has given out thus far this season.

With Levy nursing an ankle injury, Driver may be able to challenge him. As far as we know, Driver and Jenkins remain uninjured. Maria Menuonos has an injured rib, stress fractures in her foot and this week fell on her face.

Both Ballas and Burke have won the mirrorball trophy before.  Burke won during season 2 with 98 Degrees member Drew Lachey and the very next season with retired NFL star Emmitt Smith. Ballas also has two mirrorball trophies: from season 6 with Olympic gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi and season 8 with Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson.

This is only the second season for Murgatroyd. During her first season, she was paired with NBA Laker Ron Artest who changed his name to Metta World Peace. They were the first team eliminated so Murgatroyd doesn’t have much experience training and choreographing for a celebrity as the professional dancers for the other top teams.

Driver and Murgatroyd had the highest score last week for their paso doble to “Purple Haze” and if there was more content in their Argentine tango, they could have possibly been part of the tie for first place. Murgatroyd might be taking Edyta Sliwinska’s place as the professional who dances with the least clothes covering her body. I suspect that Murgatroyd will have to give Driver more technique if they want higher scores from the judges as lifts are only allowed in the Argentine tango and freestyle routines on DWTS. This team should continue on to next week.

LEADER BOARD

Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 29 (10, 9, 10)
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 29 (10, 9, 10)
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 27 (10, 8, 9)
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 27 (9, 9, 9)
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: 26 (9, 8, 9)
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson: 24 (8, 8, 8)
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 21 (7, 7, 7)
Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus: 20 (7, 7, 8)
Gavin Degraw and Karina Smirnoff: 19 (6, 6, 7)

By Individual Dance

SALSA

  • ***William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 28 (9, 9, 10)*** Week 3
  • Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 27 (9, 9, 9)
  • Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: 26 (9, 8, 9)
  • Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 21 (7, 7, 7)

SAMBA

  • ***Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: 25 (8, 8, 9)***Week 3
  • Jaleel White and Kym Johnson: 24 (8, 8, 8)
  • ***Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskay: 24 (8, 8, 8)***Week 3 ELIMINATED
  • Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus: 20 (7, 7, 8)
  • Gavin Degraw and Karina Smirnoff: 19 (6, 6, 7)

ARGENTINE TANGO

  • Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 29 (10, 9, 10)
  • William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 29 (10, 9, 10)
  • Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 27 (10, 8, 9)

Week 4

Week 3

Week 2

Week 1

DWTS 14 Week 4: Donald Driver gets top score

Who would have thought that this week football player Donald Driver and his partner Peta Murgatroyd would take the top spot? Dancing the paso doble to Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix, Driver was raw and sexy.

Beginning the piece alone, pretending to play the guitar, Driver had good frame and Spanish carriage–chest a little forward with shoulder blades drawn back hard. What would make his performance perfect? Small details in the feet and hands.

Bruno Tonioli called him muscular, masculine and magnificent with power and drive and a splash of humor.

Carrie Ann Inaba thought it was psychedelic, bizarre and just hot damn.

Head judge Len Goodman told Driver that after the show they could compare tattoos.

The judges gave him nines for a total of 27 points. It would be his highest score to date. Week 1, he had received a 21 for his cha cha cha, week 2 a 24 for his quickstep and last week, week 3 a 26 (9, 8, 9) for his rumba. This week was the first time head judge Goodman found him worthy of a nine which is the highest score Goodman has given this season thus far.

Goodman gave a nine to Maria Menounos and Derek Hough for their third week rumba, and to Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas for their waltz (also third week) and William Levy and Cheryl Burke for this salsa routine (third week). Goodman gave no nines out weeks 1 and 2. Goodman would only give Driver a nine this week. He gave out five eights this week.

With their top score, Driver and Murgatroyd should survive this week’s elimination.

LEADER BOARD

Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 27 (9, 9, 9)
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 26 (9, 8, 9)
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: 26 (9, 8, 9)
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 24 (8, 8, 8)
Gavin Degraw and Karina Smirnoff: 23 (8, 8, 7)
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 22 (7, 7, 8)
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson: 22 (8, 7, 7)
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 22 (7, 8, 7)
Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy: 21 (7, 7, 7)
Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus: 20 (7, 6, 7)

STANDINGS BY INDIVIDUAL DANCE
Jive
  • William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 22 (7, 7, 8)
Levy and Burke had the fourth highest score for jive, tied with Jaleel White and his partner Kym Johnson.
Paso Doble
  • Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 27 (9, 9, 9)
  • Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 24 (8, 8, 8)
  • Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 22 (7, 8, 7)
Tango
  • Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 26 (9, 8, 9)
  • Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff: 23 (8, 8, 7)
  • Jaleel White and Kym Johnson: 22 (8, 7, 7)
  • Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy: 21 (7, 7, 7)
  • Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus: 20 (7, 6, 7)
Viennese Waltz
  • Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: 26 (9, 8, 9)

Week 3

Week 2

Week 1

DWTS 14 Week 1: Donald Driver has impact (VIDEO)

BURBANK, CA (Los Angeles County)–Why does Los Angeles need a football team? Easy. We may have the Lakers, but for dancing, particularly “Dancing with the Stars” fans, it’s football over basketball. Last night on the premiere “Dancing with the Stars” season 14, ABC brought back the football player contestant we so missed last season. And we discovered that NFL Green Bay Packer Donald Driver had charisma and flair on the dance floor.

We’ve had basketball players who could dance such as Rick Fox, a former LA Laker. He was with the more experienced pro Cheryl Burke. Driver’s partner, Peta Murgatroyd debuted last season, after having been part of the DWTS dance troupe. The Australian only performed the cha cha cha because she and her partner LA Laker Ron Artest were also the first couple cut. Artest who might have confused fans by changing his name to Metta World Peace. Or maybe DWTS fans don’t like the Lakers.

The Australian dance pro will need to find a fan base, but historically, at least in the last 13 seasons football players have done well with DWTS fans–even when they can’t dance (remember Michael Irvin?) Dancing with Anna Trebunskaya during season 9, Irvin received a 13 for his cha cha cha. Yet he lasted until the ninth elimination. That season, Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson won. Osmond at 51 was and is the oldest winner of the mirrorball.  Compare that to Rick Fox who scored a 22 on his first week Viennese waltz. Fox was the 7th person eliminated, just before NFL quarterback Kurt Warner (with Trebunskaya).

Driver was dancing to “Dedication to My Ex (Miss That)” by Lloyd featuring Lil Wayne. The song suited him, but he performed for the crowd and not to the music. He had rhythm, but didn’t express the song. The fans didn’t care.

“Nothing but charisma and charm for days…you kicked that cha cha’s bootie,” proclaimed Carrie Ann Inaba.

Head judge Len Goodman was also smiling and commented that his “attitude was good,” and Goodman liked how Driver attacked for the dance, but noted that he started to loose time a little bit. Next week, Goodman warned Driver that he needed “far more control and lovely wide frame for quickstep.”

Bruno Tonioli compared Driver to a rooster. His dance had “full impact” and Driver was a “diamond in the rough” with energy, power and presence, but Tonioli cautioned, “You got to refine it because you got the talent.”

Without any really clueless dancers, Driver ended up near the bottom, tied with Maria Menounos and Derek Hough with 21 in the cha cha cha group. Overall, they were on the low end.

The man can move but can Peta Murgatroyd in her second season guide him to a win? She’ll need to perfect his posture and poise, highlight his abilities and downplay is weaknesses. It should be interesting.

As for the football team problem, maybe ABC and “Dancing with the Stars” should consider sponsoring a Los Angeles football team.

Cha cha cha

Leader board

  • Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas: 26
  • Jaleel White & Kym Johnson: 26
  • William Levy & Cheryl Burke: 24
  • Jack Wagner & Anna Trebunskaya: 23
  • Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower: 23
  • Sherri Shepherd & Val Chmerkovskiy: 23
  • Gladys Knight &Tristan McManus: 23
  • Maria Menounos & Derek Hough: 21
  • Donald Driver &Peta Murgatroyd: 21
  • Gavin Degraw & Karina Smirnoff: 20
  • Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 20
  • Martina Navratilova & Tony Dovolani: 20

Vote online. 

Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins and Pasadena’s Jaleel White lead

Opera singer Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas were tied with Jaleel White and Kym Johnson with 26 points. Both got nines from Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba; it was head judge Len Goodman who only thought the two worthy of eights.

Both couples danced the foxtrot.

This week there was no one celebrity that was so awful your eyes hurt. Three couples were tied for last place, but with a respectable 20. Tennis great Martina Navratilova and her partner Tony Dovolani performed the cha cha cha; Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Gavin Degraw and Karina Smirnoff performed the foxtrot.

Navratilova is 55; Gilbert is 47 and DeGraw is 35. Quite an age spread at the bottom. Jack Wagner is 52. It’s Gladys Knight who at 67 is the oldest contestant this season.

Knight received the same score as the youngest contestant, Roshon Fegan. They were in a group of four couples tied for fourth with 23.

  • Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas: 26
  • Jaleel White & Kym Johnson: 26
  • William Levy & Cheryl Burke: 24
  • Jack Wagner & Anna Trebunskaya: 23
  • Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower: 23
  • Sherri Shepherd & Val Chmerkovskiy: 23
  • Gladys Knight &Tristan McManus: 23
  • Maria Menounos & Derek Hough: 21
  • Donald Driver &Peta Murgatroyd: 21
  • Gavin Degraw & Karina Smirnoff: 20
  • Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 20
  • Martina Navratilova & Tony Dovolani: 20

Foxtrot

Cha cha cha

Online voting 

You can vote by phone (AT&T customers) or online. If you vote online, better get registered at ABC.com. You have only one hour after the show ends to vote by phone, but up until the next morning to vote online (11 a.m. East Coast and 8 a.m. Pacific).

Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd

Phone:

  • 800-868-3403
  • 800-VOTE4-03
  • Text-in Code: 3403 

Gavin Degraw & Karina Smirnoff

Phone:

  • 800-868-3404
  • 800-VOTE4-04
  • Text-in code: 3404

Gladys Knight & Tristan McManus

Phone:

  • 800-868-3411
  • 800-VOTE4-11
  • Text-in Code: 3411

Jack Wagner & Anna Trebunskaya

Phone:

  • 800-868-3402
  • 800-VOTE4-02
  • Text-in Code: 3402

Jaleel White & Kym Johnson

Phone:

  • 800-868-3412
  • 800-VOTE4-12
  • Text-in Code: 3412

Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas

Phone:

  • 800-868-3410
  • 800-VOTE4-10
  • Text-in Code: 3410

Maria Menounos & Derek Hough

Phone:

  • 800-868-3401
  • 800-VOTE4-01
  • Text-in Code: 3401

Martina Navratilova & Tony Dovolani

Phone:

  • 800-868-3409
  • 800-VOTE4-09
  • Text-in Code: 3409

Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Phone:

  • 800-868-3407
  • 800-VOTE4-07
  • Text-in Code: 3407

Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower

Phone:

  • 800-868-3405
  • 800-VOTE4-05
  • Text-in Code: 3405

Sherri Shepherd & Val Chmerkovskiy

Phone:

  • 800-868-3406
  • 800-VOTE4-06
  • Text-in Code: 3406

William Levy & Cheryl Burke

Phone:

  • 800-868-3408
  • 800-VOTE4-08
  • Text-in Code: 3408

Vote online. 

DWTS 14: Donald Driver

Donald Driver brings back what was missing last season–a football player. Many DWTS fans are also football fans it seems.

Full name: Donald Jerome Driver

Partner: Peta Murgatroyd

Official website

Drafted in the seventh round by the Green Bay Packers in 1999, Driver has spent his whole career in the NFL with the Packers playing wide receiver. Since 2005, Driver co-hosts a state Packer analysis TV show called “Inside the Huddle with Donald Driver.” He has written three children’s books: “Quickie Handles a Loss,” “Quickie Makes the Team,” and “Quickie Goes to the Big Game.” Quickie was his mother’s nickname for him.

Birthday: 2 February 1975

  • Age: 37
  • Aquarius

Hometown: Houston, TX

College: Alcorn State

Alcorn State is located in Lorman, Mississippi and was founded in 1871 on the site of what had been a white college established by a Presbyterian Church, Oakland College. Oakland College had closed so that the students could fight for the Confederacy at the start of the Civil War. After the Civil War, the property was sold to the state and named after the governor James L. Alcorn. It was a black men’s college until 1895, when women were admitted. Notable alumni include Medgar Evers (first NAACP field secretary), Alex Haley (author of “Roots”), Jakc Spinks, Jimmy Giles, Roynell Young, Jack Phillips, Milton Mack, Cedric Tillman, Dwayne White, Garry Lewis, Torrance Small, John Thierry, Steve McNair, Bryant Mix, Donte Dowers, Carlos Thorton, Terry Wilkerson and more.

Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd

Phone:

  • 800-868-3403
  • 800-VOTE4-03
  • Text-in Code: 3403 

DWTS 14 cast

Season 14 begins on 19 March 2012 on ABC with a two-hour special.

Men:

  1. Singer Gavin DeGraw (Age 35, New York born) with Karina Smirnoff
  2. Football player Donald Driver (Age 37, Houston, TX) with Peta Murgatroyd
  3. Singer Roshon Fegan (Age 20, Born in Los Angeles) with Chelsie Hightower
  4. Actor William Levy (Age 31, Havana, Cuba) with Cheryl Burke
  5. Actor Jack Wagner (Age 52, Missouri) with Anna Trebunskaya
  6. Actor Jaleel White (Age 35, Pasadena, CA) with Kym Johnson

Women:

  1. Melissa Gilbert (Age 47, Los Angeles, CA)  with Maksim Chmerkovskiy
  2. Singer Katherine Jenkins  (Age 31, Wales, UK) with Mark Ballas
  3. Singer Gladys Knight  (Age 67, Atlanta, GA) with Tristan McManus
  4. TV personality Maria Menounos (Age 33, Medford, MA) with Derek Hough
  5. Tennis player Martina Navratilova (Age 55, Prague, Czech) with Tony Dovolani
  6. Actor Sherri Shepherd (Age 44, Chicago, Illinois) with Val Chmerkovskiy
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