The Washington Post

‘Dancing With the Stars’ winds down non-controversial, super-competitive season

“Dancing With the Stars” Season 14 cast (Adam Taylor/ABC)

Tuesday night, “Dancing With the Stars” will crown a winner after one of the least controversial — but most competitive — seasons ever.

Given that the most headlines the show drew this year were mainly about injuries — Melissa Gilbert’s plight, Katherine Jenkins’s back spasm — it might not come as a surprise that this was the lowest-rated final performance night ever.

About 16.5 million people tuned in on Monday, way off from last spring’s first-part finale audience of 22.9 million viewers. Of course, last time it was up against things like NBC’s short-lived, low-rated “Minute to Win It”; this year competition involved Howard Stern and “America’s Got Talent,” which copped 9.5 million over on NBC.

(Also, the first season, which only aired one night a week, averaged 22.3 million viewers in its final show.)

Anyway, either NFL player Donald Driver/Peta Murgatroyd, classical singer Katherine Jenkins/Mark Ballas and actor William Levy/Cheryl Burke will get the hideous-yet-coveted Mirror Ball Trophy on Tuesday night. All three were strong performers — the judges constantly reminded everyone this has been the most competitive season in “DWTS” history — so anyone has a shot.

Although it’s possible that Donald’s fantastic freestyle — with an assist from rapping Cowboy Troy — put him over the top, as he also achieved his season-long dream of getting a 10 from Len. And everyone loves an underdog.

Emily Yahr covers pop culture and entertainment for the Post. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyYahr.


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