Why Did Donald Driver Win 'Dancing with the Stars' Season 14?
Why Did Donald Driver Win 'Dancing with the Stars' Season 14?
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Dancing with the Stars season 14 has found its new Mirror Ball champions -- Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd. So what contributed to this win? Here are 5 reasons.

Donald Peaked at the Right Time

For much of the first half of Dancing with the Stars season 14, Donald Driver was a middle-of-the-pack kind of guy. His scores were decent -- lots of 7s and 8s -- but he wasn't a front-runner by any estimation.

But then, Donald slowly got better. His scores crept upwards while many of the other celebrities saw the same numbers week after week. 9s and then 10s became common as the judges became more and more impressed with Donald's performances.

By the time the semi-finals and finale came around, Donald was the dancer to watch.

People Love Donald

If you want to go on Dancing with the Stars, it's important to be the kind of person that works for the audience. Mean people never get far. Laziness is not tolerated. Only stars that are unfailingly nice to their professional partners ever make it much beyond the halfway point of the show.

By these standards, Donald Driver was a winner. His nearly constant smile was fun to watch. Peta seemed to love him. And there was no way that the guy was lazy. Donald Driver was a celebrity the audience could root for.

Popularity Is Key

While the dancing matters on Dancing with the Stars, popularity is very often the key to victory. This is where Donald Driver had the edge over his finale competition. William Levy was essentially unknown to English-speaking audiences before the season began. Katherine Jenkins isn't much of a star outside of classical music circles.

Donald Driver, on the other hand, is a football player. As a key member of an insanely popular team and a Super Bowl veteran, a large segment of the American viewing audience would be familiar with Donald. And people love football.

New Pro Blood

After 14 seasons, there seems to be a bit of what one might call DWTS professional fatigue. We see the same pros over and over -- that can get a little boring. When the same pros win multiple seasons, the fatigue grows.

Donald Driver was paired with Peta Murgatroyd on Dancing with the Stars season 14. Peta is only a second-time pro and was the first eliminated in her season 13 debut. She was new blood. She was the underdog. Who doesn't love the underdog?

When you consider that the last three couples Donald beat contained veteran professional winners, this becomes even more obvious. Derek Hough has three Mirror Balls, while Cheryl Burke and Mark Ballas each have two.

Audiences may have felt it was time to spread the Mirror Ball love around.

That Freestyle

It's a Dancing with the Stars truism that the Freestyle wins the competition. Donald Driver definitely lived up to that. While all of the finalists gave us excellent freestyle work (I personally preferred Katherine's Freestyle, when it comes down to it), Donald was the most spectacular. No one expected that country dance, and its excellence was even more of a surprise.

While there were plenty of other factors that contributed to Donald Driver's Dancing with the Stars season 14 win, the Freestyle may have sealed the deal.

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Why do you think Donald Driver won Dancing with the Stars season 14? Did you expect it? Is he the star you wanted to win? Leave your comments below!

(Image courtesy of ABC)