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Driver continues upward arc, scores 26 on “Dancing”

Posted by Duke Bobber on April 2, 2012 – 9:09 pm

Donald Driver

Three weeks into his stint on “Dancing with the Stars,” Packers WR Donald Driver’s progression as a dancer is mirroring that of his football career. Driver has steadily improved his score each week, going from 21 in week 1, to 24 in week 2, and 26 in Monday night’s show.

Driver turned in an emotional performance, dedicating his rendition of the rumba to a friend lost to cancer in 2010 — the same friend who introduced Driver to his wife, Betina. Driver explained that his friend died in his arms. “I grabbed his hand. All he could do is look at me,” Driver said. “And tears rolled down his eyes. He took another breath. And that was it. And I never let him go.”

Driver and partner Peta Murgatroyd, the last of 11 duos to perform in Monday’s show, danced to Mariah Carey’s “One Sweet Day.”

And what did each judge think of the pair’s execution?

“The passion that you just expressed was mesmerizing,” said Carrie Ann Inaba, who marked Driver and Murgatroyd with a 9. “I was truly touched.”

Len Goodman gave the pair an 8, explaining, “I didn’t expect such a great, big, hunky-dunky football guy to come out and dance with such warmth and emotion. Awesome.”

Judge Bruno Tonioli rounded out the scorecard, telling Driver, “You push yourself to the limit every time.” Tonioli awarded the Packers’ all-time leading receiver with a 9. Driver and Murgatroyd’s 26 was the 4th-highest score of the evening.

After the dance, Driver gave some simple advice: “You need to cherish every moment,” Driver said. “Live life to the fullest.”

Eliminations continue on “Dancing with the Stars.” Viewers can vote via phone and text message for Donald only on the night he performs; online voting ends at 10 a.m. CT the following day. Log on to abc.com to vote.

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