And The Winner Was.......
The Season 14 Finals were not too fast but certainly quite furious as Donald Driver, Katherine Jenkins, William Levy and their respective pro dance partners put it everything and the kitchen sink into their final performances. The couples were tasked with three dances; two performances for Finals Night and one more dance for the judges during the Finals Results Show. At the end of it all Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd and Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas were the two contenders left standing after William Levy & Cheryl Burke were announced as the 3rd place/2nd runners up for the Season 14 competition.
After one more drumroll of dreadful (and annoying) suspense Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd were announced the winning couple of Dancing With The Stars-Season 14
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd started off with a crisp and cool Argentine Tango that wasn’t so much an improvement over their Latin Night Argentine Tango but rather a different approach to it. The intense staccato in their first attempt was replaced with a smoother and a little less taut routine. The couples Freestyle was a country flavored crowd-pleaser featuring some lively boot stomping and some wicked lifts that probably had the off-stage paramedics ready to engage a possibly messy emergency. Donald & Peta had the Cha Cha as their last dance of the season and the duo gave the public what they wanted (a shirtless Donald in butt hugging hot pink pants and Peta in a string-bikini like showgirl piece) and the judges what they wanted (fancy footwork and fabulous hip swivels).
Donald’s athleticism and competitiveness on the football field gave him the tools he needed to become a superstar in the televised dance competition. From Week 1 Donald displayed an eagerness to nail the choreography that his pro partner, Peta Murgatroyd, set before him. It was a bumpy road at first as Donald showed that he had the moves and the charisma. However, if he didn’t learn to control his movements then he would run the risk of marring his technique resulting in certain elimination.
But after Week 1 Donald and Peta went back to the rehearsal studio and worked on fine tuning Donald’s dance technique. Donald’s improvements were clearly evident week after week. The football star could play the “cool cat” in a Foxtrot, the distinguished gentleman in a Waltz, the romantic hero in a Rhumba and a passionate gladiator in a Paso Doble. Technically, Donald never seemed to waver at anything Peta threw at him. He kicked, he glided, he lifted, he spun, he jumped, and he kept good posture. The man was more versatile on the dancefloor then I could’ve imagined and his willingness to throw himself completely in his dances clearly paid off as he is now a mirrorball trophy holder along with Peta Murgatroyd; a pro dancer who was eliminated in the first week of Season 13 but is now a winning pro for Season 14.
Katherine Jenkins was just as brilliant as Donald Driver in the ballroom and perhaps an even greater revelation. Would the classical singer be able to perform a Foxtrot as effectively as an aria? The answer turned out to be a strong “yes” as Katherine committed to the teachings of her pro partner, Mark Ballas. As multiple Dancing With the Stars
winner and a highly creative choreographer Mark Ballas is all about pushing his student to new heights. The singer didn’t shrink from Mark’s tutelage but rather met his challenges and delivered some of the most astounding performances of the season.
Of course, it was a scary moment when Katherine suffered a back spasm during her Semi-Finals Salsa that not only may have cost her a place in The Finals but also an injury that may have prevented her from dancing again. Thankfully, Katherine was chosen by the viewers to participate in the final lap of the competition and with a clean bill of health Mark had no hesitation to put in all the stops in his final dances with Katherine. A 2nd place/1st runner up placement is nothing to feel sad about. The woman danced her butt off and has probably won a stronger fan base in the United States as a result of her gracious attitude and her solid endurance throughout the competition.
I agreed with the judges’ assessment that the Dancing With The Stars
audience has never went wild over a contestant in the way they howled, squealed and rooted for William Levy. The Cuban born actor and model was already the one to watch before the competition began. His centerfold physique made him the ultimate “eye candy” for the season but it was up to his pro partner, Cheryl Burke, to make him more than just a pretty boy.
William’s dance journey was erratic. One week William would perform an incredible Cha Cha but the next week he would come back with a subpar Jive. I admired William for taking the feedback and continually coming back to show improvement. His fan base was even more encouraging as they pushed him through the competition. The majority even opted to have William in the Semi-Finals instead of Maria Menounos (tv host) who was technically superior to William. Once William made it to the Semi-Finals it appeared that he wanted to make every effort to prove that he truly deserved to be there and, for the most part, he did. I bet that I will be seeing more appearances from William Levy thanks to the amazing amount of publicity he gained from this show.
Season 14 was arguably one of the most mysterious seasons of Dancing With the Stars
. Practically all the contenders showed promise in their debut performances and then they raised the difficulty bar again during the second week of competition. The pros were probably quite pleased to have contenders that truly wanted to give their all to the competition and not just rely on popularity to pull them through. Even contenders that weren’t as strong in dance technique made up for it with some killer stage presence and vivacious personality.
Even when the Semi-Finals rolled around there was no obvious frontrunner. Katherine Jenkins, Donald Driver and Maria Menounos were evenly matched on charisma and skill while William was had a powerful fan base that could push him to the top even if his dancing was as technically clean as the other higher scoring contenders.
It remains to be seen if the new addition of the “Dance Duel” will be used in the future as many fans have cited the move as a way to manipulate viewer votes. Personally, I will admit that sometimes the viewers get it wrong and forget that this is a dance competition not a popularity contest. If the dancer is really that good then he or she should be able to survive the Dance Duel and continue on. But I do think the Dance Duel should be started from the first elimination round instead of midway. I still believe that decent dancers like Jack Wagner and Sherri Shepherd would’ve stayed longer if they had a shot at a second chance.
The Trio Challenges performed on Week 8 resulted in some incredible routines and I hope that is one of the things that will endure in the seasons to come. It sounded like adding a third pro partner to the mix would only complicate matters but the stars and their partners came up with some nifty ideas and dazzling choreography that will most likely ensure that The Trio Challenge will be a regular practice in future competitions.
I also liked Motown Night and I would love to see that theme revisited in some way. It wouldn’t necessarily have to be Motown but it was a blast to watch the dancers perform with the original artists performing their songs in the background. Classical Night and Rock Night continue to be loads of fun and present some interesting challenges for the couples and it just makes it even more rewarding when the duos succeed in those challenges.
Season 15 is definitely in the works and might be the most exciting season yet as past contestants return to take a second stab at the mirrorball trophy in “Dancing With The Stars-All Star Season”. To voice your opinion about which star should be re-entered into the competition just go to www.abc.com
or click on the link towards the bottom of this article to head directly to the Dancing With The Stars
page. Dancing With the Stars – Season 14 – Final Ranking
1) Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd
2) Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas
3) William Levy & Cheryl Burke
4) Maria Menounos & Derek Hough
5) Melissa Gilbert & Maks Chmerkovskiy
6) Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower
7) Jaleel White & Kym Johnson
8) Gladys Knight & Tristan MacManus
9) Gavin DeGraw & Karina Smirnoff
10) Sherri Shepherd & Val Chmerkovskiy
11) Jack Wagner & Anna Trebunskaya
12) Martina Navratilova & Tony Dovolani