On Dancing with the Stars, there are many remarkable achievements to hit. Stars are looking for a perfect 30 from the judges and they want to win the Mirror Ball Trophy. But perhaps the most difficult accomplishments is becoming a member of what I like to call the Never 7 Club.
The rules are simple. To join the club, a star must never get a 7 or lower from the judges. That means only 8s, 9s and 10s from each of the three judges during any of their individual performances.
While doing this in the later weeks is easy, surviving early on isn’t so simple. But on Dancing with the Stars season 17, a trio of couples has made it through the first three weeks without ever receiving anything lower than an 8 from the judges.
Amber Riley and Derek Hough started off with three 9s before dropping to three 8s the next two weeks. Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff started with three 8s, then scored 26 (two 9s and an 8) the next two weeks. Elizabeth Berkley and Val Chmerkovskiy have stayed consistent with a 24 and two 25s.
All three of them are well on their way to joining the Never 7 Club. Fittingly, there are only seven members of the club after 16 seasons. For pros, Mark Ballas has done it a remarkable three times and Cheryl Burke has done it twice.
Neither Derek nor Karina has ever joined the Never 7 Club, though last season Val did it with Zendaya. Actually, Val is on a huge winning streak, as he hasn’t received anything lower than an 8 since the second week of season 15 with Kelly Monaco. His week 3 performance with Elizabeth in season 17 was his 29th consecutive individual dance on the show with all 8s or higher. The previous record was Peta Murgatroyd, who had 22 straight dances with 8s or higher across seasons 14 and 15 with Donald Driver and Gilles Marini.
So to see if Amber, Corbin or Elizabeth are worthy of joining the Never 7 Club, here’s a look at the seven current members.
Season 2: Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke
The eventual winner, Drew not only never got a paddle lower than an 8, but after week 1, he only got one 8 the whole season, everything else was 9s and 10s.
Season 4: Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson
Another former boy band member, Joey started the season with three 24s in a row and continued to never get below an 8 from any judge before finishing second to Apolo Anton Ohno,
Season 5: Sabrina Bryan and Mark Ballas
Sabrina had the earliest exit for anyone on this list, going out in seventh place. Still, during the six weeks she did get to dance, she never scored lower than an 8. In fact, a 25 in her last week was her worst score.
Season 6: Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas
Kristi has fewer 8s than anyone on this list, only getting three all season before winning. Just as impressive, her first 8 didn’t come until week 7, when Len Goodman gave her 8s on both of her dances. Before that, it was all 9s and 10s. She also holds the record for the highest average score for all of her dances during the season, a 28.3.
Seasons 8 and 15: Gilles Marini with Cheryl Burke and Peta Murgatroyd
Gilles’ claim to fame on DWTS is that he competed twice and never got a single paddle below an 8 either time. It was all 8s, 9s and 10s both times he appeared, something no one else can claim. Still, he failed to win both times.
Season 14: Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas
For an impressive third time, Mark Ballas and his partner made it through the season without ever getting a 7 or lower from the judges. And like more than half of the people on the list, she finished in second place.
Season 16: Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy
Last season Zendaya made it all the way to second place without ever getting a 7 or lower on an individual dance, though she was part of a group Paso Doble that got a 22.
So will Elizabeth, Corbin or Amber join any of these dancers in the elite Never 7 Club? As you can tell, no season has ever had more than one person with this distinction, so the caliber of dancing is at an all-time in Dancing with the Stars season 17.
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(Image courtesy of ABC)