And then there were three. Either Bindi Irwin, Nick Carter or Alek Skarlatos will be the winner of Dancing with the Stars season 21, though viewers won’t find out until after sitting through two hours of performances, the 24-hour fusion challenge and other tomfoolery. At this point, the leaderboard barely matters as whoever gets the most votes will win.
While the stars are the focus, it’s also a battle for the pros. Sharna Burgess and Lindsay Arnold have never won the Mirror Ball while Derek Hough already has five. Can one of the women break through and stop the Derek domination?
60: Bindi Irwin, Nick Carter
57: Alek Skarlatos
Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough: She’s basically been the frontrunner since week 1. In 12 nights of performances, she’s been at the very top of the leaderboard eight times. She has seven perfect scores, more than any star in the history of the show. She has the best average score from the judges, which has been the case for 12 out of 20 winners. She has a magical smile and a partner with five Mirror Balls. And there’s the story of her dad, sure to make her the overwhelming sentimental favorite.
Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess: Backstreet’s back! For the season-long average he finished second, which is the same as six previous winners, including last season’s Rumer Willis. The most important thing he has going for him is that he’s a freaking Backstreet Boy. More often than not, DWTS stretches the definition of “star,” but Nick has been with the world-famous boy band for more than 20 years, they’ve sold over 100 million records and have legions of fans. He is a genuine star with a long-term fan base and if anyone can rely on his supporters to vote, it’s him.
Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold: Alek should have no chance of winning. For the entire season, he has the sixth best average score from the judges. Only three other people have ever finished in the Top 3 with the sixth-best average score: season 11’s Bristol Palin, season 18’s Candace Cameron Bure and season 15’s Kelly Monaco. They all finished in third place, and Alek should too. If he manages to sneak into the Top 2 or even win the Mirror Ball, he will be making history in several ways.
I predict that Alek will finish in third place and Nick will finish in second, meaning Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough will win Dancing with the Stars season 21. Giving Derek his sixth Mirror Ball Trophy might be overkill to some (no other pro has won more than twice), but Bindi is magical and the kind of person people want to root for.
It helps that she got the coveted solo Freestyle, meaning there weren’t any other pros or troupe members performing with them like the others. In recent years, that kind of Freestyle helped Meryl Davis and Rumer Willis win.
Finally, here’s a fun fact: If Bindi wins, she will be the second-youngest winner ever, but just barely. When Shawn Johnson won in season 8, she was 17 years and 120 days old at the finale. Bindi will be 17 years and 123 days old on Tuesday’s finale. Oddly, Alek would also be the second-youngest winner of all-time, even though he’s 23.
Find out who wins Dancing with the Stars season 21 on the two-hour finale Tuesday at 9pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)