There's a new title for Titletown thanks to Green Bay Packers WR Donald Driver, Peta Murgatroyd and the fans that voted for the duo on "Dancing with the Stars." Driver has won the Season 14 mirror ball trophy after 10 weeks of competition and over 12 styles of dances.
The Cha-Cha-Cha proved to be the final dance and his second perfect score of the season for Driver who last showcased the Latin American dance back in Week 1 of the series. Scoring a perfect 30 with this final dance, the judges did not throw any penalty flags. Or any penalty flags to any of the finalists for that matter. All remaining couples had perfect scores on their final dance. Which meant it was up to the fan votes. The votes that would send Driver home with the mirror ball trophy.
"The public will decide," said Judge Bruno Tonioli in the opening segment of the final episode. Perhaps Tonioli had a revelation of how the show would end. Or, perhaps, he knew about Packers fans and how they support their team both on and off the field. Regardless, fans are the likely factor that held back the 2nd place duo of Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas.
A singer, actor and wide receiver were the last three standing just a night before with one point between all three pairs. Jenkins and partner Ballas came into tonight's competition as the leaders with the perfect score of 60 points, while Driver and Murgatroyd tied with William Levy and Cheryl Burke with 59 of 60 points. Perfect scores for all three final dances kept Jenkins on top with 90 points while Driver and Levy remained tied for second place with 89. But that's before the fan votes were tallied in the evening's final total.
The first of the three couples to be relieved for the night was Cuban-born Levy (known jokingly by Tonioli as the "Latin-dancing James Bond") and then the news came fast that Driver was the season's champion.
Speaking to host Brooke Burke regarding the entire season, Driver said, "It has been more than I expected."
In counting collective perfect scores during the season, Levy was the leader with four, followed by three from Jenkins, two of which were earned the night before, and Driver with two perfect scores in the past two days.
Keeping a steady pace for the entire season, Driver rarely was in first place, but always near the top third or within a fraction of points on the "DWTS" leader board. It was a slow and steady climb for the trophy, almost in a "Most Improved Player" style arrangement.
Taking criticism and learning from it, keen choreography upgrades and the absolute will to win was enough to have the judges in favor of a perfect score that Driver and Murgatroyd needed for their last score, coupled with the fan votes to take the trophy home.
Undoubtedly Driver landing first place for the season, out of an original 12 couples, was not shocking for the Packers fans that voted.
Tomorrow the mirror ball trophy will kick off the TV circuit tour with morning shows and hopefully find its way to Titletown.
Click here to see photos from Driver's victory.