And then there were three. The Mirror Ball Trophy will be awarded to the winner of Dancing with the Stars season 19 tonight, and it will go to one of three stars. There’s Duck Dynasty star Sadie Robertson, Pretty Little Liars star Janel Parrish and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air‘s Alfonso Ribeiro, who is as old as the other two girls combined.
On Monday’s performance finale, Bethany Mota and Derek Hough were eliminated in fourth place. The remaining three couples were separated by just three points on the leaderboard. They also have one last chance to change that with the 24-hour fusion dances. But then, the couple with the highest combined judges’ scores and votes from Monday night will take home the Mirror Ball.
80: Alfonso Ribeiro
78: Sadie Robertson
77: Janel Parrish
Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson
Alfonso established himself as the frontrunner in week 1 and comes to the end at the top of the leaderboard, both for the finals and for the entire season. He suffered from injuries along the way, but goes into the finale as a definite favorite. His routines from Monday were flawless and emphasized his dancing ability, while others focused on gimmicks or emotion. The judges made their preferences known by saying that America should vote for the best “dancer,” and that is definitely Alfonso.
Perhaps the only real obstacle for him is his partner, Witney Carson. This is only her second season as a pro, and in the history of the series, only five pros managed to win in either of their first two seasons. Alec Mazo, Cheryl Burke and Julianne Hough all won in their first seasons while Mark Ballas and Peta Murgatroyd won in their second seasons. That would be quite an accomplishment for Witney, and she would also be the first So You Think You Can Dance alum to win the Mirror Ball, something Lacey Schwimmer, Chelsie Hightower, Dmitry Chaplin and Lindsay Arnold couldn’t do.
Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkobskiy
If you’re voting with your heart, these two have it. They may be at the bottom of the leaderboard, but it’s just by three points, which translates to about 1 percent of the public vote. They’ve surged in the past few weeks and their Freestyle was monumentally romantic and different. It was intimate and personal, when everyone else went big and bold. That could help them stand apart enough to win the votes and the Mirror Ball Trophy. Plus, it would make a great storyline for DWTS if both Chmerkovskiy brothers won in 2014.
Val is definitely the other important component of this couple. He’s the longest-running still-active pro without a win, so will his seventh season be lucky? This is his third time in the Final 3, and he already has the bronze and the silver, meaning it’s his time for the gold. It’s also interesting that, in just seven seasons, Val has earned 11 perfect scores. That ties the all-time number held by Kym Johnson (in 13 seasons) and Tony Dovolani (in 18 seasons).
Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas
My brain says that Alfonso should win and my heart says it should be Janel, so that leaves my fear that Sadie will win. She’s been good but not great all season, as illustrated by the fact that her encore dance in the finals only earned one point higher than when she first did it back in week 4. She may be second on this week’s leaderboard, but overall she’s fourth, behind Bethany Mota.
Sadie’s best chance to win is her fan support. Her two dances this week were smart ones, getting out the Duck Dynasty supporters and getting fans of ’80s and ’90s nostalgia with a Super Mario Bros. Freestyle. Those two routines could help her stand out, and the elimination of Bethany and Derek probably helps her the most as the majority of their voters will likely turn to Sadie.
As for her partner, this is the seventh time Mark Ballas has reached the Final 3, tying Cheryl Burke and putting them both only one behind Derek Hough. However, he hasn’t won since season 8, which bodes poorly for his chances. Of the five pros who have won multiple times, the largest gap between wins has been just three seasons. More commonly you have pros like Cheryl and Julianne, who won in their first two seasons, but then never won again.
And even if they get a perfect score for their 24-hour fusion dance, they will still finish the season with the fourth best average score from the judges. The fourth-best score has NEVER won. In fact, the third-best has only won twice in 18 seasons, and every other time it has been the best or second-best score to win, and those honors go to Alfonso and Janel.
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I predict Alfonso and Witney will win Dancing with the Stars season 19. As much as I’d love to see Val win the Mirror Ball (and they have four of my seven favorite routines of the season), I feel like it’s Alfonso’s to lose. People WANT him to win and he really wants to win. It seems like destiny, and with the judges obviously pulling for him, I think he has the best feel-good story of the season.
But as a fan, my odds are good because I would be extremely happy to see Alfonso or Janel take home the Mirror Ball. Sadie is the only potential thorn in that plan, but all of the statistical analysis makes me think that won’t happen.
See who wins DWTS season 19 Tuesday at 9pm on ABC, following a Road to the Finals special, provided there’s no more breaking news to interrupt the live broadcast.
(Image courtesy of ABC)