The 10 couples on Dancing with the Stars: Athletes won’t have much time to win ove the viewers. The season is only four weeks long, so every dance and every vote matter more than ever.
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For the male athletes, the competitors come from the three most popular team sports in the U.S. and two medalists from the 2018 Winter Olympics. It’s an interesting mix, with three of the men very close in age (28-30), plus champions in their 40s and 70s.
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How will these five men and their pro partners do? Which ones have what it takes to win and which ones could go home on the first night?
One of the biggest stars to come out of the 2018 Winter Olympics, Adam has a big personality and a big fanbase. That should get him plenty of votes and being a figure skater should give him a leg up when it comes to dancing and getting good scores (like season 10’s Evan Lysacek, who finished second).
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There isn’t much downside to Adam and he should have an easy path to the final week. However, his pro partner, Jenna Johnson, is untested, having competed only once before when she was the first one eliminated with Jake T. Austin.
The NFL star always has to be a heavy favorite to win, especially since four of them have in the past. It helps that he’s partnered with Sharna Burgess, one of the most popular pros who’s made it to the Top 5 six times, though she’s never won. Still, Josh seems likeable and, even though he’s arguably one of the least well-known men this season, he could be a surprise fan favorite like Rashad Jennings.
A retired baseball player in his 40s who won two World Series championships with two different teams, one being the Boston Red Sox. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it describes both Johnny Damon and David Ross, who finished in second place on season 24. Since he’s the only other baseball player who’s ever been on the show, it’s hard to know if his wild popularity was a fluke or a clue that Damon might have equally rabid supporters who will vote for him over and over again.
He could have a lot of support, especially if the show paints him as the ultimate family man since he has eight kids (including two sets of twins). And his partner, Emma Slater, just got married, raising her profile, and she knows how to win the Mirror Ball with an athlete, taking home the Mirror Ball in season 24 with Rashad Jennings.
The downside is that, at 44, he’s one of the older contestants this season. And I hesitate to bring this up, but he did campaign for Donald Trump in 2016, which is either a good thing or a terrible thing depending on how you look at it.
Chris is the biggest wild card among the men. He’s an Olympic luger, which is a sport that people don’t care much about even during the Winter Olympics. He’s an unknown and that could really hurt him with the viewer votes if he doesn’t make a quick, positive impression. It’s also a total mystery whether luge has any skills that are transferable to the dance floor.
The best-case scenario is that he emerges as an unexpectedly pleasant fan favorite a la James Hinchcliffe, with the dance skills to match. But with two couples going home on the first night, he may not have enough time to make a good first impression and could easily go home right away if his scores aren’t great.
He’s certainly a legend from the NBA and being partnered with reigning champion Lindsay Arnold doesn’t hurt. And if Mr. T could avoid elimination in the first two weeks, Kareem might have some hope of sticking around based solely on the viewer votes.
But it’s hard to ignore the fact that he’s 7’2”, which will make dancing with Lindsay a challenge, and he’s 71, which will make moving at all a challenge. With the exception of Tommy Chong, men over 70 never last very long on this show because they simply don’t have the stamina. Out of all five guys, Kareem is easily the least likely to win.
This group of five men is quite hard to predict. Adam seems like the frontrunner, but last spring the Top 2 on Dancing with the Stars were a football player and a baseball player. I have no idea about Chris, I think has an equal shot at making it to the finale or going home the first night. Kareem seems loveable and while he could never win a regular season, this one is so short that something crazy could happen and a popular but subpar dancer could pull out a shocking victory.
While most people will probably go with Adam to do the best from this list, I’m going a different direction. I think he may be a little too much for some voters and turn a few people off. I could also see him getting into fights with Len Goodman and getting some bad scores.
Out of these five guys, I think Josh Norman will do the best. Between Rashad winning, Calvin Johnson getting to third place and even Terrell Owens getting to sixth place last season, you should always bet on the NFL on DWTS.
Which male athlete do you think will do the best? Dancing with the Stars: Athletes premieres Monday, April 30 at 8/7c on ABC. For more updates, like BuddyTV’s DWTS Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of ABC)