Gilles Marini is the New Kristi Yamaguchi on 'Dancing with the Stars'
We’ve reached the midpoint of Dancing with the Stars when the hommes are separated from the garçons, and Gilles is definitely not a little boy. Can anybody come between Gilles Marini and the mirror ball trophy? Each week, the answer looks more and more like: “hells no”!

Let’s compare Gilles’ progress so far to that of Kristi Yamaguchi, who took home the trophy in season 6 of Dancing with the Stars with her professional partner Mark Ballas.

I think we can all agree that Kristi Yamaguchi was far and away the most talented celebrity dancer of season 6, and possibly of the entire series thus far. She was amazingly talented, mastered everything that was thrown at her quickly, and was a gracious and likeable competitor throughout. Based on their scores (see table below), Gilles Marini is definitely holding his own. Although he started out his season with a 24 (as opposed to Kristi’s 27), he managed to snag a 30, likely his first of many, a week before Kristi did.

I know that we don’t get to see much of the rehearsal footage, but I’d say that the dancing doesn’t come quite as naturally to Gilles as it did to Kristi. Cheryl is often seen grumbling about Gilles’ far too feminine posture, or sloppy footwork, whereas last spring, Kristi and Mark were shown to be completely focused in their rehearsal tape. In the end, however, it doesn’t really matter how well the rehearsals go as long as you can bring your A-game come show time.

One thing that Gilles has that Kristi didn’t have is fierce competition. I’m not saying that Jason Taylor or Cristian de la Fuente weren’t good, but it was apparent to me that Kristi always danced at a much higher level than either Jason or Cristian. But in Gilles’ case, he’s got to watch out for Melissa Rycroft, Lil’ Kim and Shawn Johnson, any of whom can give him a run for his money. Even though this week, he was able to beat them by a larger margin than in any previous weeks of the competition, I don’t imagine that this will continue to be the case. Kristi was a runaway leader, but Gilles definitely has to work hard for his victory.

What do you think? Does Gilles have the mirror ball trophy in the bag? Or will Dancing with the Stars season 8 end with a big upset?

-Debbie Chang, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of ABC)