(LOS ANGELES) — One year after winning the Super Bowl, Donald Driver is a champion again. The Green Bay Packers wide receiver and his partner, Peta Murgatroyd, won the 14th season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars on Tuesday night.
When asked by host Tom Bergeron how it feels to receive the Mirror Ball trophy, Driver exclaimed, “Amazing! This is awesome!”
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins and her partner, Mark Ballas, were the runners-up, despite earning the highest overall score during this week’s finals. Jenkins, who was considered a front-runner for most of the season, thanked Ballas for being such a hard-working partner.
Telenovela actor William Levy and his partner, Cheryl Burke, finished in third place. The results were determined by combining the judges’ scores with the viewers’ votes.
After dancing twice on Monday night, each couple was asked to perform a third time on the season finale. Jenkins and Ballas completed a perfect week with a 1950s-style jive set to “Splish Splash.” Bruno Tonioli called Jenkins one of the most wonderful competitors the show has ever seen, and Carrie Ann Inaba applauded her for raising the bar for the other contestants.
Jenkins and Ballas earned a total score of 30 out of a possible 30. Their overall score, including their two dances from Monday, was 90 out of 90.
Driver and Murgatroyd danced the cha cha cha to The Four Seasons “Beggin.'” Inaba presciently anointed Driver as the celebrity to beat. Len Goodman said Driver is the best dancer of any football player to have competed on the show — a list that also includes former champs Emmitt Smith and Hines Ward. Driver and Murgatroyd earned a 30 out of a possible 30, boosting their overall score to 89 out of 90.
Levy and Burke performed the salsa. Goodman said if salsa and rhythm were an Olympic event, Levy would be a gold medalist. Inaba added that Levy exudes “true star quality.” Much like Driver and Murgatroyd, the couple earned a total score of 30 out of a possible 30 and an overall score of 89 out of 90.
The two-hour results show also featured the season’s previously-eliminated contestants returning to the ballroom for one more dance. In addition, contestant Gladys Knight sang “The Way We Were,” and Kelly Clarkson performed a medley of her songs “Dark Side” and “Stronger.”
Dancing with the Stars will return next fall with an all-star season featuring past contestants. ABC has yet to announce the cast.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Brian Stelter, CNN
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com