The dancing is (almost) done and now it’s time to hand out the Mirror Ball Trophy for Dancing with the Stars season 22. Either UFC fighter Paige VanZant, deaf America’s Next Top Model winner Nyle DiMarco or Good Morning America meteorologist Ginger Zee will be the winner.
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Monday’s scores and votes will be combined with the scores and votes from last week’s semifinals and the scores for Tuesday’s final round, the 24-hour fusion challenge, to decide the winner. While we don’t have the last scores yet, we have more than enough information to make a prediction.
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118: Paige VanZant
114: Nyle DiMarco, Ginger Zee
Assuming everyone gets the same scores for the 24-hour fusion challenge (which is what usually happens), the final leaderboard basically gives Paige a 1 percent head start over Nyle and Ginger, so it’s really all about the viewer votes.
Anyone who watched the finale has to know that Ginger deserves to finish in third place. I know she was injured, but both of her dances were fairly dull and forgettable, especially when followed by up Nyle and Paige’s stunning Freestyles. Unless something horribly wrong happens, I can’t imagine a scenario where Ginger gets more votes than Paige AND Nyle, so I’m not even considering her as a potential winner.
This is really a two-person race. Paige has the better scores and the best overall average for the season, which has led to 13 out of 21 winners in the past. Nyle is in second place, which has been the case for six winners. So let’s look at both of them.
Why Paige Will Win
Paige has consistently turned in great performances and she delivered two of her best in the finale. She clearly won the Redemption round and got to perform last with her powerful Freestyle. The finale ending with Mark Ballas crying tears of joy only helps to sell her status as the clear favorite to win.
It also helps that Mark has only had three other partners who were athletes, including the two times he’s won (Kristi Yamaguchi and Shawn Johnson). She was even ahead of both Nyle and Ginger at the end of both the semifinals and finals. If there’s a clear narrative for the season, it’s that she’s the winner.
Why Nyle Will Win
It’s hard to argue against the inspirational deaf male model. Paige may be a better dancer, but he has a better story and voting for him might make people feel better. If he only needs to beat Paige by 1 percent of total votes, then that seems reasonable given the power of his community.
Nyle is the feel-good story, the person you like and want to see win. Paige is the better dancer, the one who earned the victory week after week with brilliant moves. Maybe I’m just too obsessed with the current election, but I see Nyle as Bernie Sanders and Paige as Hillary Clinton. That makes Ginger the Donald Trump, someone whose victory would make me question the sanity of this country as I curl up in a fetal position, crying myself to sleep. And despite what some people might think, the numbers don’t lie and the leaderboard has been right all season.
So I predict that Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas will win Dancing with the Stars season 22. Watching the finale, I just felt like Paige was the clear favorite and I have faith that most people will see it the same way and vote based on merit.
The Dancing with the Stars finale airs Tuesday at 9pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)