According to me. :-) For now. I reserve the right to adjust my predictions based on actual dance ability. My guesses are based on several factors:
- Fanbase, fanbase, fanbase
- Determination and Attitude
When you get right down to it I think, personally, that Gilles Marini was the better dancer last season, but the tween fanbase (and the state of Iowa) were not to be denied. This is NOT to say that Shawn isn’t a fine dancer – she certainly is, and she’s cute as a bug to boot. She had all four factors in her favor, whereas Gilles wasn’t as strong in number 1. Conversely, there’s Brooke Burke – NO fanbase going in, but she had 2, 3 and 4 going for her and a tremendous natural dance ability – but she also had no one going against her that had a huge fanbase combined with ability. Then, look at Ty Murray – neither he nor Lil’ Kim had fanbases that overlapped with the “traditional” DWTS audience – meaning people who would VOTE – but both did really, really well. But, Lil Kim was the superior dancer whereas Ty became hugely popular over the course of the season because of his charming personality. I think lots of people loved Lil’ Kim too, but Ty was a charming force to be reckoned with. ;-)
This season? Well, is there any way to beat an Osmond named Donny? I shudder to speak his sister’s name after that disasterous Doll Dance (and the fact that she bumped the more deserving Jennie and Derek), but Donny is arguably a better dancer – he’s been doing it since he was a little kid. And then there are those whispered rumors of him and Anna Trebunskaya and a studio. ;-)
Ah, Aaron Carter. Again, a fanbase, albeit one that appears only larger than Derek Hough’s and Lacey Schwimmer’s (per twitter) by 15 percent. I don’t know if that speaks well to Derek and Lacey or poorly to Aaron. :-) While that may not signal a huge fanbase for a celeb, I have a feeling this guy can move and will connect with the Tween/Teen audience. That’s a big deal. I don’t know if that will be enough – Cody Linley made it to what? Fifth place? And how much of that was attributable to Julianne Hough?? So, I dunno. I’m liking him for the final four, in any case.
Mya. Lots of experience with choreography, already a good dancer. I don’t hate her for it – it simply means she can take direction. She’s somewhat tall and lean so she has a good body for it. Her partner, Dmitry Chaplin, is Emmy nominated (along with Derek Hough), but that is for SYTYCD where they have a LOT more leeway in moves and such – he’s essentially an unknown quantity on this show, thanks to Holly Madison. Decent sized fanbase for Mya, but do her fans overlap with those of Lil’Kim or DWTS?? She could easily get bumped by someone who has more fans – hard to say.
Melissa Joan Hart – five words: Two long-running TV Shows. She might not have the huge twitter following, but she’ll get the nostalgia vote. Lots of people grew up on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I don’t think her likeability or her TV popularity will carry her to the final four without a strong dance ability – in any other season, with any other cast, maybe. Not this time.
Kelly Osbourne amuses me. :-) She has a tremendous following – but so did Kim Kardashian. Kelly’s really going to have to dance well to last beyond the first couple weeks, IMO. I don’t know what to make of producers pairing her with Louis. Combine that with the little factoid that he’s been choreographing for So You Think You Can Dance which starts up again in the fall and well….?
Mark Dacascos – the Iron Chef dude. I don’t know anything about his fanbase, but the guy can move. I’m predicting this guy will be the Gilles of Season 9. I don’t need to say much more than that. Just watch one of the Extra videos that I posted earlier to see what I mean.
Natalie Coughlin. Again, what more do I have to say than Olympic Gold Medalist?? If it weren’t for a guy named Michael Phelps she’d probably be on cereal boxes. Heck, maybe she is anyway!! Question is, will she be a Shawn or a Maurice?? I do believe the odds are in her favor.
As for the rest of the Cast -
I think that Tom DeLay and Macy Gray will be fighting to see who leaves first – that’s just my general impression of the bottom tier. I also think the snowboarder Louie Vito is SO unknown that he will have to be Apollo Anto Ono’s twin brother right out of the gate in order to go far. Every time I tell someone there’s a snowboarder in the cast they say “The red haired guy?!?!?” Doesn’t bode well.
Chuck Liddell?? Who? I’m sure he has fans, but do they watch DWTS? He will have to channel Ty Murray otherwise.
Kathy Ireland says she’s clumsy – is she being humble? I any case, models don’t ordinarily do well, and neither do women of a certain age, sad to say. Hate that.
Speaking of models, Joanna Krupa is very beautiful, driven and really wants to do well. She has Derek Hough as a partner who successfully took another model to the final and won. The first couple weeks will determine how she does in the competition. She has a hurdle or two to overcome, although I think the Superstars audience was so small that the impact may also be small. I also think she is far from alone in despising Terrell Owens. :-) As a relative unknown in this group of slightly better knowns she’s going to have to be good right away.
Ashley Hamiltion – total unknown. Also going to have to be good right away, although I doubt he’ll be the first to go either way.
That leaves us with Debi Mazar and Michael Irvin – either one of which could be a dark horse favorite; Michael because he’s a pro football player and they always do well and Debi because she has the build (and Maks) and I think people will like her. I know I do. ;-) She’s very striking looking in the rehearsal pictures.
My Final Four (for now):
Say it with me now – in NO particular order:
– Donny Osmond
– Natalie Coughlin
– Mark Dascascos
Aaron, Melissa, Joanna