Who will win the Golden Mirror Ball? That’s the question heading into Tuesday’s Dancing with the Stars season 20 finale. Monday’s performances saw five perfect scores and one not-so-perfect dance, essentially making this a two-person race. The leaderboard won’t be finalized until the 24-hour fusion dances get scored, but odds are it won’t change much.
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Based on Monday’s performance show, it seems like there’s a very obvious frontrunner, but is it really that easy? Maybe.
80: Riker Lynch, Rumer Willis
72: Noah Galloway
Assuming the ratio of scores stays roughly the same, Noah will need to beat both Riker and Rumer by more than 3.5 percent of the public vote to win. That’s a tall order, so a third-place finish seems inevitable for him. Still, let’s look at each of the final 3 couples.
Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy: They are definitely the favorites going into the finale. Their Freestyle blew the other two out of the water and gave them the momentum, plus the stamp of approval from the judges with comments about how Rumer is “a dancer’s dancer.”
They also have five perfect scores so far, and if they get another for their 24-hour fusion routine, then Rumer will become only the third star ever to get six perfect routines in a single season. The others, Jennifer Grey and Meryl Davis, won their seasons.
As for the pro, this is Val’s eighth season and he’s the longest-running active pro without a win. He seems overdue, especially since this is his fourth time in the Final 3, and it would help the show as well since he’s a big part of the DWTS Tour. And it would be kind of cool if he wins 364 days after his brother won his first Mirror Ball.
Riker Lynch and Allison Holker: They’re heading into the finale with four consecutive perfect scores. They also have the highest average score for the season (and will keep it unless Rumer somehow beats him by 5 or more points in the 24-hour fusion challenge). The couple with the highest average score has won 12 out of 19 times, including the last five seasons in a row, so history is on his side. If he doesn’t win, second place should be guaranteed since the only time the highest-scoring couple didn’t finish in the Top 2 was season 13 with Ricki Lake and Derek Hough in third place.
Riker definitely has the energy and enthusiasm, and with more Twitter followers than anyone else, if he can mobilize his fan base, he could still have a shot. But his Freestyle wasn’t flawless, even if his Pirates Paso Doble reprise was.
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Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess: They will finish the season with the fifth best average from the judges. While a handful of previous couples have made it to the finale with those kinds of low scores, none of them finished in the Top 2. So if Noah can avoid third place, he’ll already be making history.
But anyone watching knows he doesn’t deserve to win over the other two. His best chance is the sentimental vote, which he could get thanks to a Freestyle that played up his war injuries. And since I already brought up season 13 when talking about Riker, let’s remember who won that year: J.R. Martinez, another Army veteran and motivational speaker who was physically injured in the Iraq War. So don’t rule out a come-from-behind win for Noah.
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As they say, the winner really comes down to the Freestyles, so I predict that Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy will win Dancing with the Stars season 20. With perfect scores and a perfect Freestyle that the judges raved about, they have all of the momentum. They’re the perfect blend of dancing skill with an emotional story (Rumer coming into her own as her proud and very famous parents watch on in tears).
While it was a close race going into finale night, it looked like Rumer landed the knockout blow to Riker in the Freestyle round. And it’s going to be very hard for Noah to overcome those 8s for his Argentine Tango, especially since he will most likely lose more ground on the leaderboard in the 24-hour fusion challenge.
Who do you think will win? Find out on the Dancing with the Stars season 20 finale Tuesday at 9pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)