The cast of Dancing with the Stars season 19 has been revealed, but who will win the Mirror Ball Trophy? We won’t get to see them dance until Monday, September 15, but just based on their stats (and their pro partners), fans can make an educated guess about who has the best chance for victory.
In a cast that boasts six stars over 50-years-old, I have to give a huge advantage to the five stars under 40. DWTS is a physically grueling competition that will most likely put a lot of wear and tear on the bodies of the older contestants.
On the pro side, we have five former champions and three new pro partners. While newbies don’t typically do that well, this year’s crop could be different. Artem Chigvintsev was a winner on the British version, Strictly Come Dancing and Allison Holker received an Emmy nomination for her choreography on DWTS with Derek Hough.
I’ve broken down this year’s stars into three categories to see who has the best chance to win.
Janel Parrish: This Pretty Little Liars star has already been called the frontrunner on Good Morning America. And with partner Val Chmerkovskiy, it may finally be his time after his brother won in season 18. Val is the only current pro with more than three seasons who hasn’t won the Mirror Ball, so this could be his year.
Bethany Mota: With nearly 2 million Twitter followers and over 7 million YouTube subscribers, Bethany has a huge fanbase. And since her partner, Derek Hough, has finished in the top two for the last four seasons in a row, she has to be considered a serious contender.
Sadie Robertson: Mark Ballas does well when he’s partnered with Conservative stars (see Bristol Palin and Candace Cameron-Bure). The Duck Dynasty supporters should flock to this pair and take them far.
Lea Thompson: This actress may be older than the usual winners, but she has a ballet background and recently showed off her moves in an all-dancing episode of her ABC Family show Switched at Birth. If there’s a dark horse to win, it could be this woman who I suspect many viewers will be able to relate to. She could be the new Jennifer Grey.
MIDDLE OF THE PACK
Jonathan Bennett: The Mean Girls star seems fun and entertaining and could get by on personality and fan appeal. However, the hot younger guy rarely wins and hasn’t made it to the finale in a while. Partner Allison Holker may be new as a pro, but since she frequently collaborates with Derek Hough on choreography, she could bust out some inventive and crowd-pleasing routines.
Lolo Jones: Athletes are always a big question mark on DWTS. They do really well or really poorly and Lolo could go either way. But getting burdened with a new partner is definitely worrisome.
Antonio Sabato, Jr.: He’s definitely eye candy for the ladies who aren’t into young bucks like James Maslow, but his partner, Cheryl Burke, hasn’t won in the past 15 seasons. That makes it an uphill climb for him.
Alfonso Ribeiro: We all love the Carlton dance, but he also got his start on Broadway and as a young dancer with Michael Jackson. He could surprise some folks, and as a game show host, he knows how to work a crowd.
Betsey Johnson: I don’t care if she does cartwheels down the runway, a 72-year-old woman isn’t going to win.
Tommy Chong: At 76, he’s even older than Betsey and he’s also guaranteed to get eliminated early.
Michael Waltrip: I underestimated Bill Engvall, who was also partnered with Emma Slater, but his personality and blue-collar appeal landed him in the finale. Waltrip could be similar, but I’m not sure he has the same charisma as a professional comedian.
Randy Couture: DWTS loves pairing Karina Smirnoff with beastly men to try and tame them. It rarely ends well for her. She’s a hit-or-miss pro partner, always making it to the Top 5 or getting eliminated in the early weeks. It doesn’t help that the last time the show had an ultimate fighter, Chuck Liddell, he was eliminated fifth.
Tavis Smiley: Who? I’m not sure how this guy made it onto the show, but he’s definitely my pick to be the first star eliminated.
I predict Tavis Smiley will be eliminated first, followed closely by Betsey Johnson and Tommy Chong. I also predict that, as is always the case, Val Chmerkovskiy (and partner Janel Parrish) will be the “surprise” elimination of the season. After all, he was eliminated in sixth place for each of the past two seasons.
For the Top 3, I’ll go with Lea Thompson, Bethany Mota and Sadie Robertson. Despite Derek Hough, I think Bethany will finish third as the judges, especially Julianne Hough, will be trying to avoid showing favoritism. I think Sadie will finish second and, in a bit of an upset, I think Lea Thompson will win the Mirror Ball Trophy with first-time pro Artem Chigvintsev.
Not counting the first two seasons, no first-time pro has ever won, but Artem could break the mold. He won in his first season of the British version, Strictly Come Dancing, and he has a fantastic partner who could easily appeal to the female viewers more than two teenage girls.
Much like how Jennifer Grey beat out Disney star Kyle Massey and Bristol Palin in season 11, I could see Lea defeating the young stars this year.
Who do you think will win Dancing with the Stars season 19? And who will be the first star eliminated?
Find out when DWTS premieres Monday, September 15 at 8pm on ABC, followed by the first results show on Tuesday, September 16.
(Image courtesy of ABC)