The three remaining celebrities on season 14 of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" pulled out all the stops tonight in their bids to win the mirror ball trophy, and their performances were judges to be so good that only one point separates the top scorer, who earned a perfect score, from the other two contestants.
Each of three finalists danced one ballroom dance plus a freestyle. They'll be assigned a new final routine which they'll perform tomorrow, and the champion will be revealed at the end of tomorrow's results show.
William Levy: The telenovela heartthrob scored a perfect 30 for his cha-cha, earning high praise from the judges. "That's as good as I've seen in 14 seasons of cha cha cha," head judge Len Goodman said. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba told the actor he'd grown as a dancer over the course of the season, and judge Bruno Tonioli said the routine had sizzling sensuality. "Your hip action leaves me green with envy," Tonioli added.
His salsa and cha cha-inspired freestyle was less favorably received by Goodman, who told the star: "For me it was too predictable. All you do is shake your butt and get the women screaming. I'm fed up with it. I wanted more." Inaba and Tonioli expressed enthusiastic approval for the routine. Levy earned 29 points for the freestyle, for a night's total of 59 out of 60.
Katherine Jenkins: The Welsh classical singer also earned a perfect score for her intense paso doble. Tonioli said the routine was full of vivid, lush artistry, while Inaba told Jenkins she was like a prima ballerina, "every move perfectly executed." Her perfect score included her very first 10 from Goodman for the season.
Her freestyle featured elements of jive, quick step, Lindy Hop and tap. It was fun and fast, and judges loved it. "That was the dance of a champion," Inaba told Jenkins. Tonioli praised the content, speed and execution. From Goodman, there was very high praise: "If I'm asleep, don't wake me up. This is a freestyle." She earned another perfect score for her freestyle, for a night's total of 60 points.
Donald Driver: It's no secret the NFL has been trying without success to earn a perfect 10 from Goodman. He failed again with his Argentine tango, even though Tonioli and Inaba each gave him a 10 points. Goodman told him the routine was "a little bit careful," and gave hims 9 points, for a total of 29 points.
Driver admitted that he was taking a big risk by performing a country music-inspired freestyle, but the sassy routine - performed to live music from country rapper Cowboy Troy - paid off big time. When his routine was over, the ballroom audience was applauding wildly and Inaba was standing on top of the judges' table and cheering. And Driver finally earned his first 10 from Goodman. "In football, catches win matches, and chances win dances," Goodman said, telling Driver his gamble had paid off. Tonioli was equally enthusiastic, and Inaba said the tonight's final was her favorite in the show's entire history, adding that Driver's freestyle was her favorite dance of the night.
At the end of tonight's performance, Jenkins topped the leaderboard with a perfect score of 60. Levy and Driver both are one point behind, each with a score of 59.
Viewers' votes from tonight will account for half of the stars' totals, but they'll still have to perform another dance tomorrow before the winner is declared at the end of the show.
Tennis great Martina Navratilova, actor Jack Wagner, talk show host Sherri Shepherd, and singers Gavin DeGraw and Gladys Knight, actress Melissa Gilbert, Disney star Roshon Fegan, and TV personality Maria Menounos have already been eliminated this season.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 29, 30: Total: 59
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 30, 30. Total: 60
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 30, 29. Total: 59