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'DWTS' couples achieve perfect scores as finale approaches (+video)

'Dancing With the Stars' finalists Paige VanZant, Nyle DiMarco, and Ginger Zee each received a perfect score for one of their routines during the first part of the finale of the season. Judge Bruno Tonioli called it 'a night of creative and artistic excellence.'

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    'Dancing With the Stars' contestants Ginger Zee (r.) and Valentin Chmerkovskiy (l.) appear during an April 11 episode.
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The first part of the “Dancing With the Stars” season finale included technically impressive performances, as all three of the competing couples earned at least one perfect score for their routines.

The contestants remaining on the show are martial artist Paige VanZant, who is performing with professional dancer Mark Ballas; Nyle DiMarco, the first deaf winner of “America’s Next Top Model,” and dancer Peta Murgatroyd; and Ginger Zee of “Good Morning America” and dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy. 

All the pairs performed two dances during the newest episode, with Ms. VanZant and Mr. Ballas performing both a freestyle routine and a salsa, while Mr. DiMarco and Ms. Murgatroyd performed a freestyle routine and a quickstep and Ms. Zee and Mr. Chmerkovskiy performed a freestyle routine and a contemporary dance. 

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All the freestyle routines earned perfect scores from the judges. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba told DiMarco following his and Murgatroyd’s freestyle routine, “In 22 seasons, that is the best dance I have ever seen,” while judge Bruno Tonioli mentioned the high scores of the evening in praising VanZant and Ballas’s freestyle routine, saying that the dance was “really a triumph on a night of creative and artistic excellence.” 

The season finale of “Dancing” will air on May 24. 

Have other contestants been able to reach these heights?

One achievement in this area occurred quite recently, according to The Courier Mail in Australia. “DWTS” contestant and eventual winner Bindi Irwin got the most perfect scores of any celebrity contestant on the show just last season. 

Washington Post writer Emily Yahr noted that Ms. Irwin winning was “the least-surprising finale ever … the ‘Dancing With the Stars’ audience fell for her immediately. The judges also loved her from the start.” 

However, in the past, judges giving high scores has stirred negative discussion, too. During the 14th season of “DWTS,” which aired in 2012, the season premiere included the contestants receiving the biggest scores for a premiere in the show's history. 

“With such generous marks, it’s hard to not think: Were the judges unusually kind to the amateurs to help generate excitement for an otherwise lackluster cast?” Entertainment Weekly writer Carrie Borzillo wrote at the time.

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