“Dancing With the Stars” again seemed like a rerun on Monday, May 23, as Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Hines Ward danced wonderfully yet another time during the final round of competition. The winner of the 12-week-long competition will be announced on ABC tonight as the season comes to an end.
Without a doubt, the award-winning grid iron pro has translated his excellence on the football field to the ballroom dance floor with his Australian-born dance partner, Kym Johnson, throughout the season. Las Vegas odds have been in Ward’s favor consistently.
On Monday’s performance show, the three judges were individually dispatched to the finalists’ practice studios to coach them on their weakest genre of dance this season. The three remaining couples performed their weakest dances again on Monday.
For Ward and Johnson, it was the bouncy, bubbly “quick step,” largely due early issues with Ward’s technical footwork. Judge Len Goodman repeatedly instructed Ward to point his foot downward throughout the dance. Each couple also performed a creative, free-style routine, which some observers and analysts say has the greatest impact on who the winner will be. Viewer votes and judges’ scores will be combined tonight to determine the champion.
In traditional ballroom tux and gown outfits, Ward and Johnson did the quick step to “Puttin on the Ritz,” and received a 29/30 from judges. For the freestyle, they were decked out in black and gold bandleader and majorette uniforms and danced to a marching band-style compilation of Michael Jackson tunes. It was quite exciting and entertaining, and the pair earned a perfect 30/30 score.
A whole section of the audience were past and present Pittsburgh Steelers, including Jerome Bettis and even Franco Harris. A sea of Terrible Towels continued to wave as they have each week. Blogs and websites have been building up support for Ward’s possible win.
“It will be bittersweet leaving the show [and Kym],” Ward said to the show’s co-hosts. “I will have to see Kym out at a club to dance the quick step with her again, but, even if I don’t win the mirrored ball, I’m just happy that I made it to the finals.”
A good sport both on and off the field. Best wishes, Hines Ward! –arnell pharr