Thanks everyone for the great feedback from part I of my preliminary power rankings :-) A lot of you brought up some really interesting points that got me thinking (and sometimes reconsidering) my predictions! Keep the interesting discussion going, as I reveal my predictions for the top half o’ the pack :-) Onward!
6.) Chris Jericho & Cheryl Burke – I know a lot of you probably aren’t expecting Chris to do exceedingly well on the show, but I don’t think we can overlook the fact that he has (statistically speaking) the strongest female pro this season. Cheryl has an extremely good track record for taking even the most mediocre partners decently far – only twice in her 11 seasons on the show has she not made it past the halfway point (and one of those times was actually a withdrawal due to injury). I think she may also be the most popular female pro on the show this season, and has amassed a quite fervent fanbase over the year. And really, after watching Chris’ rehearsal video – I really don’t think the guy is a total loss. He was moving decently well, and I get the impression that he’s really excited to be on the show this season – that enthusiasm alone is an asset, as I think he will put in the practice hours to really do well. As for athleticism – I think he could be the best lifter this season, as he’s had years of practice body-slamming his WWE opponents ;-) Hehe. I think he’ll at least make it to the halfway point of the show, but he may not be able to overcome more skilled dancers and fan favorites such as…
5.) Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Do I think Kirstie will be this season’s Nicole/Jennifer/Kristi? Hell no. But I could see her being another Ty Murray – an unlikely favorite that people keep around week after week because they’re just so damn LIKEABLE. Kirstie may be the contestant who’s gotten the most buzz this season – did you notice how she was the only one getting asked questions during the cast announcement press conference? And like Petra, Kirstie is also dancing for a “cause” – losing weight. What middle-aged housewife (the largest cross-section of DWTS viewers) hasn’t at one time or another struggled with their weight? I think this lends a very relatable, human quality to Kirstie – and people love an “average Joe” underdog. And really – Kirstie is a HOOT. She may be the second coming of Cloris Leachman, with some of the outrageous stuff that comes out of her mouth! She’s actually a pretty good dancer too – at least judging from her rehearsal tapes. I think her biggest struggle is going to be stamina, because she seemed to get winded after about 30 seconds of dancing. I hope for her sake that she doesn’t get the jive until later this season, when she’s worked on her endurance. Luckily, she has one of the most popular male pros to help her out, and I really think Maks is more of an asset now than ever before – with Derek gone, I think he may be the most consistently good choreographer on the show. Let’s just hope he can cut back on the “fluff” that Len hates…then again, we do have Dmitry for that this season :-) Haha.
4.) Romeo & Chelsie Hightower – Another couple that I’m sure no one is expecting a whole lot out of – but I think Romeo might be a “late bloomer” on this show, and won’t show his true ability until at least the midpoint of the season. I know a lot of people have commented that Romeo seems to be “too cool for school” or seems a bit arrogant – and I agree, to a certain point. I think he’s putting up a front for now, since he’s got his hip-hop reputation to protect; but I think he’s also got an ego, and won’t deliberately throw the competition like his dad. And don’t let his rehearsal tape fool you – Romeo does have some dance moves, and was even in the movie Honey. He also played basketball at USC, so the dude is an athlete. I get the feeling he may be downplaying his dance experience a bit, just in case he isn’t very good, but as the season wears on and he gets more comfortable, I think we’ll start seeing a lot more energy & expression out of him. He’s got an advantage in Chelsie, who is the resident blonde, Mormon girl-next-door; she’s gotten stuck with some real stinkers as partners the past few seasons, so I have a feeling her fans might rally & keep her around a bit longer this time. She also has a real knack for concealing the true craptastic-ness (yeah, I made it up) of some of her less-skilled partners…except for that “Hound Dog” jive. *shudder*
3.) Kendra Wilkinson & Louis Van Amstel – Despite Louis’ own assertion that Kendra is a “front-runner” this season, I think she may very well fall short of the MBT…and I’m afraid it will be his fault. No doubt Kendra can move, and I’m sure she’ll bring a lot of personality to her performances. I just hope that Louis isn’t digging both of them into a hole with all the bravado he’s been throwing around – Louis isn’t the most popular pro to begin with, and if he keeps up with the smug tweeting and cocky comments during interviews, I could see people turning against this pair. I actually feel a bit bad for Kendra – she seems a bit nervous with all the pressure being put on her to live up to people’s expectations, and I think Louis is just reinforcing that pressure at this point. I hope he can really give her some dynamite choreography too, as he has tended a bit towards the silly & ridiculous in recent seasons…and I wasn’t particularly wowed by some of the routines he gave Kelly, either. As for Kendra herself – I think she’ll be likeable enough. As we’ve seen before, a Playboy past isn’t necessarily a death sentence on the show – Kelly Monaco went on to win her season, Pam Anderson stuck around for awhile, and Joanna Krupa made it all the way to the semifinals. What IS the kiss of death, though, is lack of personality – which is exactly what sent her friend Holly Madison home. With both moves and personality, I think she’ll be quite successful this season.
2.) Hines Ward & Kym Johnson – Of all the rehearsal videos, these two were the ones that impressed me the most. Hines has both dance skill and the entertainment factor – he moves well, and he’s fun to watch. Definitely a pleasant surprise for me, considering I was worried about him being too laid back! He may not be as funny to watch as Warren was (still my favorite of all Kym’s parters), but he does look like he’s having a lot of fun. Hines also has atheticism on his side, plus a legion of fiercely devoted Steelers fans – seriously, I think it borders on insanity sometimes :-) And really – no NFL player that’s been on the show has ever truly sucked. Kym is also a well-liked pro, and it seems like many of her fans are determined to keep her on the show longer this season after her first-week ousting last season (thanks, Hoff). I think Kym has a pretty good shot of making it to the finals this year with Hines, but I think they’re going to come up a bit short if they’re up against….
1.) Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas – Yes, pick your jaw up off of the floor, I honestly think these two could win this season. Chelsea’s young, wholesome, and not totally inept in the dancing department; Mark is probably tied with Maks for “most popular male pro” this season. Now I’m not saying that being a “Disney kid” is a shoo-in to the finale – but it certainly doesn’t seem to hurt, either. Sabrina, Cody, & Kyle all managed to make it at least halfway through their respective seasons. Something about child stars and their ability to really play to a crowd seems to really be a boon for them on DWTS…plus they all just seem so LIKEABLE. I never got the arrogant vibe from any of the names I mentioned above. They all just seemed so happy to be on the show, like each dance was the most fun they’d ever had their life. Mark is a pro that always seems to do better with a partner with at least a little dance experience – I think we’ll see him back at 100% this season (if he can manage to set aside his music career for a few months…) with a renewed interest in the show. If he can get Chelsea to the finale, I think he’s likely the strongest freestyle choreographer on the show this season – and like we always say, the freestyle can really make it or break for finalists. And the showmance rumors that are likely starting to brew always seem to pique public interest too…if Mark plays this up (more like WHEN Mark plays this up!), they could eek out a few weeks based solely on the curiousity of viewers ;-)
Alright gang, so ends my official “pre-season” predictions. Will they change? Of course. But is it a good catalyst for discussion? Heck yah!!! So who do you guys see making the finale? And who do you think will take the MBT this season? DISCUSS! :-)