A look back at the high and low lights of his journey to the mirror ball trophy
Donald Driver wins the Dancing with the Stars 2012 mirror ball trophy! Were you surprised? Season 14 DWTS kept you guessing until the very end. Let’s take a look back at Driver’s journey on Dancing with the Stars this year.
Who knew what to expect when the Green Bay Packer hit the dance floor? Athletes are a mixed bag. Just look at Martina Navratiolova who was the first to be eliminated this season and Hope Solo who never did as well as we all had wanted her to last year. But then we look at fellow footballers Emmitt Smith who won DWTS season three with partner Cheryl Burke and Hines Ward who won in 2010 alongside Kym Johnson. Things could go either way!
After his first performance, a cha cha, Driver found himself one point away from last place (which was a three-way tie). Not too promising. But he stepped up his game with a touching rumba dedicated to a friend who died of cancer during week two’s most memorable year performance. Driver and partner Peta Murgatroyd earned 26 points. But it was during the following episode, on rock week, when Driver first rocked my world unleashing his passion with an uber-masculine paso doble. [Missed it? Watch the powerful paso here.] The bar was then raised for his Latin week Argentine tango. The judges didn’t seem to love the performance, but the dancing duo still took away 27 points. The following week Driver’s Viennese waltz was good (another 27 point dance), but it was the group paso doble alongside hotties William Levy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy that is worth noting.
It wasn’t until trio week, when Driver proved he could handle not just partner Peta, but Karina Smirnoff as well, that the football player toped the leader board earning a combined total of 55 points. His three-way jive was also the encore performance the following evening. But it was week eight, when Maria Menounos was eliminated, that I first doubted Driver’s ability. He was powerful and charismatic but the athlete’s footwork and finesse was not up to snuff with Menounos’ or Katherine Jenkins’. At the same time, it was the first moment I believed he really could win!
During the finals, Donald was the last to perform and the only star remaining who had yet to receive a 10 from judge Len Goodman. In rehearsals, Carrie Ann Inaba pushed Driver for more content and less lifts in his Argentine tango, and although she didn’t get what she wanted, she still gave him a 10. But Driver did not receive a perfect score just yet. The football pro's reaction? “Len, I don’t know what I need to do baby, but I promise to do it on the next one.” And he did! Driver and Murgatroyd performed a high energy ho down, which earned the team their first perfect score of the season.
The DWTS live finale was kicked off with an encore performance of Driver’s ho down, followed by his 24-hour cha cha, which was sharp and energetic. And of course the fit footballer took off his vest giving it to Inaba, performing his last dance shirtless. In fact, Driver and Murgatroyd may have been the least dressed couple of the season as host Tom Bergon loved pointing out all season, and all night long. Are sexy costumes the secret to success? Check out these photos of the shirtless boys of Dancing with the Stars. It may convince you.
In the final moments of Dancing with the Stars season 14 we learn that William Levy has finished in third place and Katherine Jenkins is 2012’s DWTS runner up. Personally, I’m sad she didn’t win but Driver took us on quite the journey this season and is a great addition to the Dancing with the Stars hall of fame.
What do you think? Should Donald Driver be the season 14 Dancing with the Stars winner? Who would you have like to have seen win?
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