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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 05/22/2012

‘Dancing With the Stars’ 2012: Donald Driver, Katherine Jenkins and William Levy compete in the finals

Brooke Burke Charvet is sparklier than ever on the last performance night of the season — a sign that we’ve almost come to an end of the “Dancing With the Stars” Season 14 journey. Tom Bergeron reminds us that this has been the most competitive season ever. So, by reality show law, this should be the most exciting finale ever. Or something like that.

Turns out, we don’t have much of a chance to think about it, as the hour-long show has quite the speedy pace — the top three couples each must dance twice. The first dance, one that they already performed earlier in the season and the judges want to see again, while the second dance is the always-crucial freestyle performance, which we’re told could “make or break” any couple.

There’s another dance the couples have to perform on Tuesday night’s season finale, but we’ll worry about that later. First up:

Actor William Levy and Cheryl Burke

Dance #1: Cha Cha Cha

William is thrilled to show off his cha cha cha to show the judges how far he’s come. Bruno stops by rehearsal and calls William “sex on legs” — but that’s still not going to be enough competing against the talented Donald and Katherine.

So William throws himself into the cha cha cha, even unbuttoning his shirt halfway for the occasion. Confetti falls from the sky after Cheryl leads him through a peppy dance — is it foreshadowing for the finale on Tuesday?

“That’s as good as I’ve ever seen in 14 seasons,” Len proclaims. High praise! Bruno calls the performance an “intoxicating human cocktail of natural flowing moves and sizzling sensuality,” as William turns about 10 shades of red. Embrace it, Levy! Scores: 10, 10, 10 for a total of 30 points.

Dance #2: Freestyle

Cheryl reiterates the importance of the freestyle dance, and they decide to go risky with a few lifts. William looks terrified, especially during one move that requires him to walk down the stairs carrying Cheryl. Luckily, they don’t use that during the actual performance, and Cheryl leaps flawlessly from the stairs into his arms without falling. Plus, William goes with his entire shirt unbuttoned for this one.

“What you do, you do well,” says Len, barely audible over the screaming audience. “But for me, it was too predictable.” Cue lots of boos. “You were like two devils unleashed upon the Earth...sinful, but ever so good!” Bruno yells. Carrie Ann, naturally, also loves it. Scores: 10, 9, 10 for a total of 29 points, and 59 for the night.

Classical singer Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas

Dance #1: Paso doble

Len drops by to help Katherine and Mark during rehearsal. He says he thought their last paso was too aggressive, and Katherine needs to tone it down this time around.

During the performance, Katherine tries to live up to the intensity of the moves without seeming too angry, and the dance seems to have a lighter touch.

Bruno calls it “technical brilliance.” Carrie Ann says every movement was perfectly executed, and Len is especially pleased, and compares the dance to a plate of tapas (it’s a compliment). In the Celebriquarium, Brooke Burke Charvet ticks off everything that’s gone wrong for Katherine the past couple weeks: First a wardrobe malfunction, then a back spasm. Katherine doesn’t try for sympathy votes with any tears — instead, she just laughs it off. Scores: 10, 10, 10 for a total of 30 points.

Dance #2: Freestyle

Mark convinces Katherine to try a backflip in order to be as versatile as possible. But she one-ups this idea by starting out the dance behind the microphone, singing before her own performance. Very clever, Katherine! Either way, the dance is much more fun than the one she just performed.

Bruno is thrilled. “I have never seen so much content, so fast, so well executed,” he raves. “That was the dance of a champion,” Carrie Ann exclaims. Len says that if this is a dream, don’t wake him up — that was a real freestyle. Scores: 10, 10, 10 for a total of 30 points, and 60 for the night.

Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd

Dance #1: Argentine Tango

This is Donald’s big week, as he’s determined to get a 10 from cranky judge Len. In rehearsal, Carrie Ann nicks Peta’s choreography, telling her not to hold back with Donald. She advises him that he has to make his moves bigger to impress Len, and Donald is determined to score that elusive 10.

They start with an impressive lift, and later, Donald lifts Peta to the sky again. Will carrying Peta around pay off? “I loved the first one and I loved it again,” Carrie Ann gushes. Len compliments the lifts, says the dance was a vast improvement, but calls it “careful” — there goes that 10. Bruno thinks Donald went for the subtle, intimate moments, and was heavy on storytelling. Scores: 10, 9, 10 for a total of 29 points. So close, yet so far.

Dance #2: Freestyle

Donald uses his knowledge of “DWTS” history to come up with the theme for his freestyle dance — the element of surprise. No one will expect him to go country, Donald decides, so he’s going to go country. He and Peta put on cowboy hats and practice all kinds of complicated lifts — one that leaves Peta with a bloody tooth. No time for bandages, though, because they have a country dance to learn.

Donald’s “DWTS” history lesson pays off, big time: Their dance is the most entertaining of the night, and even has backup music by rapping country singer Cowboy Troy. They perform flawlessly, with lifts all over the place.

Carrie Ann is so ecstatic that she’s literally standing on the judges table cheering. The ballroom goes crazy — like, William Levy-without-a-shirt crazy. “Oh my god!” Carrie Ann says, out of breath. “This is by far my favorite finals, and this is by far my favorite dance tonight.” Len loves it. “Fantastic!” he yells. Could this be the 10? Sure enough, a 10 from Carrie Ann. And then, Len: “Donald, here it comes!” he yells. It’s a 10! Same with Bruno. It’s a total of 30 points, with 59 for the night.

By  |  06:00 AM ET, 05/22/2012

 
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