It was the most thrilling night of competition in Season 14 as the three celebrity finalists on “Dancing with the Stars” hit the dance floor on Monday night, causing a stir in the ballroom with two rounds of headline-making moves.
Classical signer Katherine Jenkins and partner Mark Ballas received the top score of the night – a full 60 out of 60 — but the night ended with the mirrorball trophy still up for grabs, as William Levy and partner Cheryl Burke, and Donald Driver and professional dancer Peta Murgatroyd put in two freestyle performances that are bound to be talked about for years to come.
Green Bay Packers star Donald and pro Peta knew they had to do something different to impress the judges, who haven’t scored them as well as William and Katherine throughout the season, and the twosome most certainly did.
Going for Donald’s idea – a country-inspired freestyle – the pair took to the ballroom (in Packers colors — green and yellow) for Round 2, and whipped the audience into a frenzy with line dancing struts and some gravity-defying lifts.
She was so excited, judge Carrie Ann Inaba didn’t just cheer, she leapt on top of the judges table, and screamed in delight.
“No offense to any of the people in the past seasons… This is, by far, my favorite finals and that is, by far, my favorite dance of the night,” Carrie Ann said, as the pair earned a perfect score (including the elusive 10 from Len Goodman).
But while Donald helped end Monday’s final with a bang (and a 59 out of 60, after earning 29 for their Round 1 Argentine tango), just minutes before, William Levy and Cheryl Burke too put in another crowd-pleasing freestyle.
While in recent seasons, many stars have opted for the kinds of dances found in clubs – like hip hop – for their freestyle, William and Cheryl put together a Latin-inspired routine that showed off some of William’s best moves. It was also filled with stunning lifts, and a saucy flare that left the audience screaming over the judges.
With the crowd not willing to die down, Len started speaking anyway.
“I liked it. I liked the lifts. I liked the changes of rhythm from tango into salsa, but for me, it was too predictable,” he said as the crowd quickly turned on the Brit, booing his statement. “All you do is shake your butt and get the women screaming. I didn’t want a salsa with lifts!”
“But everybody else did,” Carrie Ann interjected, prompting the audience to scream with glee once again.
As she continued, impressed by their number, Carrie Ann found herself at a momentary loss for words, instead filling her time by doing the robot, before stating, “That was… exactly what a freestyle should be.”
Len wouldn’t budge on the 10, so William and Cheryl walked away with just 29 out of 30 for the freestyle and a total score of 59 out of 60, after a perfect 30 in Round 1 for their cha cha, tying the pair with Donald and Peta for second place for the night.
Katherine Jenkins’ freestyle featured a different kind of flash, but it managed to win over all the judges.
It began with the Welsh belle using her pipes, singing on the stage, before she and Mark met on the dance floor and took on a host of swing moves.
“That was a fast and flamboyant tour de force through all the ages of swing,” Bruno Tonioli said. “You were on the money all the way.”
“You can do anything,” Carrie Ann added, as Katherine and Mark earned their second perfect score of the night. “I just think that was the dance of a champion. You are a champion.”
Katherine and Mark also impressed with their Round 1 paso doble, which gave Katherine a 10 from Len – and a perfect score.
“You are the prima diva of ‘Dancing with the Stars,’” Carrie Ann raved.
But the competition is not over.
On Tuesday, the three remaining couples will perform a new routine in “Dancing’s” newly-introduced “24 Hour Challenge.” The couples will have just 24-hours to match their dance style of choice to music given to them after Monday’s show. The judges will score the couples’ routine out of 30 points on Tuesday’s two-hour season finale.
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