I have no idea who will go home this week on Dancing with the Stars. Nobody does. This season has been strange, with the worst dancers going out in the beginning (Keyshawn Johnson, Bill Nye, Valerie Harper) and then some of the better dancers following.
In the past two weeks we saw Brant Daugherty and Elizabeth Berkley go home despite my assumption that they’d both be in the finale. The judges’ scores have proven irrelevant as dancers like Bill Engvall continue to stick around despite being at the bottom of the leaderboard by incredibly large margins. I tried to wrap my head around how this worked by explaining the scoring process, offering up ideas for changing it to avoid such injustices
So this week it’s anybody’s guess. The Dancing with the Stars semifinals will feature four judges as former pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy returns to the ballroom to give out scores. Each of the five remaining couples will dance twice to the same songs, one plugged the other unplugged. At the end of the night, one couple will be eliminated and four will move on to the final week.
Let’s look at the five remaining couples to see who might stay and who might go.
Amber Riley and Derek Hough
Amber has been slipping with her scores due to her injuries and she may not have enough left to make it all the way to the end. However, the combined power of Gleeks and Derek lovers is her greatest asset and will likely keep her around for the last week.
Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff
Corbin now has the best average score of the season, though the past few weeks have proven that scores alone don’t matter. However, is awe-inspiring trio dance that scored a perfect 30 and won raves from the judges (with Carrie Ann Inaba calling it the best dance in 17 seasons) should give him a lot of viewer votes, so I hope he’ll be safe.
Bill Engvall and Emma Slater
Can anything stop this man? I predicted he’d be gone in week 1, but here he is at the semifinals and staying safe despite getting the worst scores by a large margin. His average for the season puts him in ninth, only ahead of Keyshawn, Valerie and Bill Nye. Still, I’m done underestimating his fan base. If Bristol Palin could make it into the finale, than Bill can too.
Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani
She has the second-lowest average score of the remaining couples, but her trajectory has been phenomenal. She’s slowly learned to embrace the fact that she can compete with the stars who came in with more dance experience. I suspect her story appeals to a lot of middle-aged women who watch the show, and her judge-based trio dance was so enjoyable it may have gotten her some extra viewer votes. But I wouldn’t be shocked if she was eliminated.
Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke
I’ve been riding Jack quite hard this season, predicting he’d go home many, many weeks. But he keeps getting surprisingly great scores and sticking around. Can he make it to the finale like his sister? I’m not so sure. He might have the least amount of fan support of the remaining couples and I feel like his jungle-themed trio dance was just embarrassing, highlighting his weakest elements as a dancer.
I was tempted to randomly pick a name out of a hat for my prediction, but instead I’m sticking with Jack and Cheryl. I feel the least connected and least inspired by them and their trio dance was a disaster.
At this point, it hardly seems to matter. I firmly believe that Corbin is the only remotely deserving winner left (he’s the only one who’s gotten a perfect 30). He’s received great scores and he’s proven himself in multiple styles. Amber doesn’t have the stamina, Jack can’t do Latin dances to save his life, Leah is just OK and Bill is actually getting worse as the season winds down.
But what do I know? In my original pre-season predictions I thought Elizabeth Berkley would win with Christina Milian and Keyshawn Johnson also in the Top 5. Bill, Jack and Leah weren’t even in my top half.
Dancing with the Stars airs Monday at 8pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)