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‘Dancing With the Stars” finalists score big on eve of the award

KATHERINE JENKINS MARK BALLAS

KATHERINE JENKINS, MARK BALLAS

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Donald Driver
(Monday: 59 of 60)

Here’s the one guy who can make Chicagoans root for a Green Bay Packer — even if his family sported cheese­head hats for the finals. This Super Bowl champ is enthusiastic, charming and uber-athletic, as evidenced by his flying leap over a standing Karina Smirnoff and partner Peta Murgatroyd during the trio dance. He went from being a troubled kid — who dealt drugs, had a dad in prison and lived out of a U-Haul — to an infectiously likable pro athlete and children’s book author with a wife, three kids and an uncanny ability to bust a move. He’s been underrated by the judges — especially Len — all season.

High point: A rock-star paso doble to “Purple Haze,” where he ripped off his shirt and showed us his triceps have biceps.

Low point: Judge Bruno Tonioli said he looked like a rooster chasing a hen during his debut dance, an over-excited cha cha.

Total points this season: 383

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Updated: July 2, 2012 8:47AM



The only things that got more exercise than the three finalists Monday were the judges’ “10” paddles on “Dancing With the Stars.”

Len Goodman waited all season to award Katherine Jenkins a perfect score, and he did it twice. Donald Driver’s unexpected country dance snagged him a long-awaited 10 from Len, too.

Viewer votes and judges’ scores from the final dance Tuesday will determine who goes home with the mirrorball trophy.

Donald Driver
(Monday: 59 of 60)

Here’s the one guy who can make Chicagoans root for a Green Bay Packer — even if his family sported cheesehead hats for the finals. This Super Bowl champ is enthusiastic, charming and uber-athletic, as evidenced by his flying leap over a standing Karina Smirnoff and partner Peta Murgatroyd during the trio dance. He went from being a troubled kid who dealt drugs, had a dad in prison and lived out of a U-Haul, to an infectiously likable pro athlete and children’s book author with a wife, three kids and an uncanny ability to bust a move. He’s been underrated by the judges — especially Len Goodman — all season.

High point: A rock star paso doble to “Purple Haze,” where he ripped off his shirt and showed us his triceps have biceps.

Low point: Judge Bruno Tonioli said he looked like a rooster chasing a hen during his debut dance, an over-excited cha cha.

Total points this season: 383

Katherine Jenkins
(Monday: 60 of 60)

The mezzo-soprano has built a career around her impressive pipes, but the Welsh Wiggler has a great pair of legs, too. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba called Katherine’s gams the best ever to grace the ballroom. Katherine’s footwork, lines and musicality are impeccable. Her pants-around-the-ankle incident shows she knows how to weather a wardrobe malfunction. This Brit brings a lot of elegance to the dance floor, and her accent isn’t nearly as annoying as Len’s. But her competitors have a leg up when it comes to a compelling backstory; broken off engagement can’t compete with being a destitute Cuban exile or homeless drug dealer.

High point: Emotional waltz dedicated to her late father.

Low point: Tweaking her back at the end of a belly dancing salsa. It didn’t stop her from jumping around like the floor was on fire when she found out she was safe the following night.

Total points this season: 398

William Levy
(Monday: 59 of 60)

OSHA should be equipping the judges with headphones to guard against the glass-shattering shrieks that ensue when Latin Brad Pitt is in the house. This Cuban eye candy has crazy sex appeal. Len dubbed him “the hunk with the junk in his trunks.” But the telenovela star also has all the right moves, not to mention an inspiring past. He grew up poor and hungry in Castro’s Cuba before immigrating to the States. He’s not the first stud with an accent that partner Cheryl Burke has brought oh-so-close to getting the mirrorball trophy (season eight’s Gilles Marini). William is her hot shot at redemption.

High point: Showing off his Latin dance moves in last week’s sizzling samba, where his bum shaking registered a 7.5 on the Richter scale.

Low point: Wearing leopard leggings — even he can’t pull off this look — while rehearsing for his lowest-scored dance all season: the jive.

Total points this season: 391



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