SAN DIEGO, May 20, 2014 – After 10 weeks of competition, and two hours of filler Tuesday night during the finale, when it came down to choosing from the best dancer, the most improved, or the most inspirational, fans voted for the best dancer.
Olympian Meryl Davis and professional partner Maks Chmerkovskiy won the Mirror Ball Trophy for Season 18 of “Dancing With The Stars.” It was notably Chmerkovskiy’s first win as a professional after 14 seasons of competition. The closest he had ever come before was second on two occasions; first with “Spice Girls” singer Melanie Brown (known as “Mel B”) in season 5; and again in season 12 with actress Kirstie Alley.
Paralympic snowboarder and double amputee Amy Purdy and partner Derek Hough finished in second place. Actress and author Candice Cameron Bure and partner Mark Ballas finished in third place.
“It means so much,” said Chmerkovskiy.” To do it with Meryl is a dream come true. There’s a reason it didn’t happen before — because it was meant to happen with this one.”
The three finalists performed their fusion dance routines on the show, but they made no difference in the scores, standing or eventual outcome. Amy and Derek’s Argentine tango and cha cha fusion was strong and spirited, a representation of their season and a perfect score of 30 points.
Candace and Mark performed a sweet quickstep/samba for a score of 27 points. Meryl and Maks danced a foxtrot/cha cha with sharp, dazzling spins and steps. It was 30 points of dancing excellence.
It seemed fitting that fourth place James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd performed two full routines on the show. They danced their freestyle as the night’s encore; and they brought back their Michael Jackson inspired cha cha. They may not have officially been finalists, but James and Peta went out with style and a winning attitude.
Early this season, observers seemed sure that Davis was an odds-on favorite to win, but she and Chmerkovskiy were not always at the top of the leaderboard based on judges’ scores. In week 8 they were dead last. Fan votes are 50 percent of the scoring and fan votes carried the pair several times to the finals and to their eventual win.
Chmerkovskiy did not compete the last two seasons, reportedly due to clashes with producers; he has a reputation for a fiery temper and take it or leave it attitude. But it is precisely this attitude along with his performing skills that have made him a fan favorite. His brief returns to the show over the past two seasons as a performer and judge were hyped to the audience by ABC. The network knows Maks is an attention getter.
Despite her fragile, gentle appearance, Davis is a steely-eyed athlete and fierce competitor after 17 years as an ice dancer. Audiences seemed charmed by her ability to “tame” the hot headed Chmerkovskiy, but she’s dealt with a Russian coach and plenty of tough moments in her career. She emotes beautifully and played her role on the show to perfection – all while dancing with great skill. But skills alone don’t win you the Mirror Ball Trophy. The audience has to root for you, and Meryl and Maks had a lot of people rooting for them.
Amy Purdy had a lot of support as well. Week after week she and Derek Hough pushed past her physical limitation (which were real and sometimes restricted what she could do on the dance floor) to see what was possible. This was a win in anyone’s book and Purdy earned everyone’s admiration for her fearless approach. Here’s hoping more people pay attention to the Paralympic Games when they next roll around. There are a lot more Amy Purdys out there.
When Candice Cameron Bure made it to the finals over James Maslow on Monday night, there were gasps and boos in the audience. But she deserved her spot. Candace is truly a non-dancer, the most improved performer on the show, and discovered a whole new confidence in herself. As she said on the show, “I represent all those people without dance experience,” and many in the audience relate to her. Her appearance on Tuesday was the third victory out of three competitors on the night. This is why “Dancing With The Stars” still has so many fans after 18 seasons. As Derek Hough said on Monday, “This is more than just a dance show to me.”
ABC announced a week ago that “Dancing With The Stars” would return for Season 19 in September. Who would you like to see competing in the next round of competition? Tell us in the comments section. Until then, see you in September.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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