DWTS 16 Preliminary Power Rankings – Part II

So you read my predictions for who is going to be gone before the midpoint of the season.  Now it’s time for my predictions for who’s going to be sticking around longer…and who’s gonna win :-) Read on!

6.) Ingo & Kym – Not sure quite what to make of these two – they’re very likeable and seem to have great chemistry, Ingo seems willing to work hard and eager to do well, and Kym, as always, is a very patient, nurturing teacher that brings out the best in her partners.  But while everything seems pretty on the surface, I can’t shake the feeling that Ingo may be a bit…awkward.  The rehearsal video and the pix we’ve seen so far seem to reveal some “Ralph hands”, and Ingo himself has admitted that he’s not exactly a graceful guy.  I’m also seeing shades of him taking things just a little too seriously – and we’ve seen how being a little too serious and a little too desperate to do well can torpedo a couple’s chances of getting votes.  Now don’t get me wrong – compared to some of the couples on the bottom half of the list (namely D.L. & Cheryl, and possibly Sean & Peta), Ingo & Kym have a great connection and “taking things a little too seriously” is less of a problem than, say, having zero chemistry with your partner or having a partner that just doesn’t seem to give a hoot :-P I just don’t know that Ingo & Kym are going to coast through this season like Hines & Kym did.  Fanbase-wise? I’m inclined to say that Ingo will benefit somewhat from the “soap vote”, although likely not to the degree Kelly did – since Ingo’s character on GH seems to only be recurring at this point, I don’t know that he’ll have as many of the same impassioned fans that voted for Kelly, also voting for him.  We already know Kym is pretty well-loved, so her fanbase should help out somewhat…but I think overall, these two will probably be more on-par with the Cameron Mathison/Edyta partnership, rather than the Kelly/Val one.  There are just too many more popular celebs (likely with better dance skills) this season for a soap star to really have a hope and a prayer of making it to the finale, methinks.

5.) Zendaya & Val – No doubt Zendaya’s got some serious dance skills, and Val seems to have a good plan set up to really show America what she can do.  But I still have memories of Roshon & Chelsea lingering in my mind, and that makes me worry that, no matter how great Zendaya is, she is probably going to struggle to get the votes to stick around, especially since she’s up against so many people with much bigger (and much more DWTS-compatible) fanbases.  I think she’s probably a bit better off than Roshon, who seemed to suffer a bit due to what I would consider ho-hum choreography from Chelsie (and less of a pro fanbase); but may not be as well-off as Chelsea, who had the benefit of a popular pro with good choreography skills…as well as a big boost from TPTB to help her stick around.  Which brings me to the elephant in the room: will TPTB be tempted to “pimp” Zendaya, who is part of the ABC family? I’d say if they’re tempted to do it with Sean, they’re probably also tempted to do it with Zendaya – but I doubt we’ll ever see that ridiculous “winner take all” dance again, after the outrage they saw after season 12.  After all, the only assist Roshon seemed to get in season 14 was getting repeatedly saved in the face-off…and he actually deserved it, so I’m not sure that he got much of a boost when you really think about it.  I guess I’m HOPING that America falls in love with Zendaya’s dancing and personality enough that they’re motivated to vote, so she ends up not really needing to be pimped  – I do think she’s one of the more talented Disney kids we’ve had, and seems to have a laid-back, carefree attitude similar to Kyle Massey’s.  So I am optimistic in that respect ;-) As for Val – I think it will be interesting to see if he benefits from his brother not being on this season, not only in terms of vote-splitting (which I’m not sure there was a whole lot of to begin with) but just in attitude as well…seems like Val has a better sense of focus this time around, and I think it might have to do with the fact that there isn’t so much of an obligation to put “family above all else” this season.  I’m hoping Val shifts his focus to really honing his craft as a choreographer, because I do think he has the potential to be one of the more creative choreographers this season – and I’m hoping he puts less energy into promoting DWM and maintaining that fierce sense of loyalty that seemed to pervade last season.  Loyalty to family is a great thing – but sometimes you need to spread your wings and develop on your own…and this seems like a good opportunity to do it :-)

4.) Kellie & Derek – I know I’m probably going to catch hell for this, but here it goes: I just don’t see these two breaking into the top 3, no matter how well they dance.  There, I said it – now please refrain from tweeting me to command me “don’t underestimate Kellie & Derek!” or telling me to “go watch their rehearsal video, I think you will see that they’re really good!” And yes, some of you have done exactly those things, and it annoys me to no end.  :-) I see all the same videos, interviews, pictures, and polls you guys do, and I am well aware of what a good dancer looks like – I’ve done ballroom for 10 years.  But it’s not all about the dancing – if that were the case, Shawn & Derek would have won last season.  And while I acknowledge that Derek is probably the best choreographer & teacher on the show, and that he’s capable of taking his partners farther than anyone might have expected, and that Kellie’s legs are looking great, and they have “great chemistry” – the politics of last season lead me to believe, like Heidi, that Derek will probably never win another MBT, simply due to some truly wacky ideologies some fans have about the show.   I still can’t believe that Shawn & Derek, who were the closest thing to a “sure thing” we’ve ever seen on the show, lost to a pro that’s never won before (and has frequently gotten sent home in the first 1-2 weeks of the show) with a partner with an iffy fanbase.  Still not sure what voters’ motivations were in determining that outcome, but the pessimist in me thinks that there is, unfortunately, a “Derek backlash” happening…to the point where I think he might not ever win again.  Add to that the fact that Kellie, while possessing a “huge country fanbase” (I put that in quotes because fans of just about every celeb claim that their celeb’s fanbase is “huge”), is still up against two Olympians and a NFL player – arguably the two most formidable voting fanbases in the context of DWTS.  That right there tells me that, unless you have a gold medal or a Lombardi trophy, you probably have a snowball’s chance in hell of making it to the finale this season.  However, I do think Kellie is looking pretty damn good, and does have an asset in Derek – so I could see her making it to the semi-finals.  I will gladly eat crow if they manage to crack the top 3, especially if they manage to bump out one of the couples I’m less fond of, but I’m thinking the best they can hope for at this point is 4th.  I’ll at least enjoy the ride ;-)

3.) Dorothy & Tristan – Dorothy is adorable.  Tristan is adorable.  Dorothy looks fantastic for her age.  Dorothy has a gold medal and a cult following. Tristan has never won.  I think all of the above points to a pretty good chance of them making it to the finale – as long as Dorothy can make a splash and Tristan gives her some good choreography.  I have no doubt that Dorothy still has some mad skating skills to tap into that will help immensely on the floor – she also seems to be very fit and very upbeat, and has a great work ethic.  My only concern? Confidence.  She, like Ingo, seems a bit unsure of herself, to the point that she might be a bit of a timid mover.  I think it’s going to be up to Tristan to build up her confidence and help her come out of her shell.  As for Tristan – this may be the season that we actually get to see what he’s made of, choreography-wise.  Up until now, he’s been saddled with partners that have left him a bit limited in what he can create for them  – I think Dorothy is his most apt pupil so far, so I’m expecting him to really let loose and create some great dances.  We’ll see if he delivers ;-) As for fanbase – I think Dorothy may actually have Aly beat, as I’m seeing  a lot more chatter about her from older fans with nostalgia for her skating days, than I am chatter from fans waxing poetic about the most recent Olympics.  Aly’s the new kid on the block – Dorothy is the O.G.  8-) And I’ve noticed Tristan’s fanbase has been gaining momentum in recent seasons, so he may be a force to be reckoned with in terms of votes, too.  I think these two definitely have the potential to make it to the finale, but I’m not sure that they can break the face-off for the top 2 that I’m predicting…

2.) Aly & Mark – I know everyone labeled them as a “sure thing” for the MBT when they were announced, but for whatever reason, I can’t shake the feeling that these two might not exactly rise to the high standards that have been set for them.  If Shawn & Derek, the ultimate “sure thing”, can lose – the possibility is there for Aly & Mark.  I’m sure Aly, like Shawn, will learn the steps with no problem…gymnasts, like skaters, seem to take to ballroom choreography with ease on DWTS.  While I at first got a shy, meek vibe from Aly (much like I did on Shawn’s first season), I did see her coming out of her shell more in her rehearsal videos with Mark, which is a good sign.  As for Mark – he no doubt has some great choreography up his sleeve.  But will he be able to resist the urge to get too “experimental” while indulging his own creativity, and still give Aly the proper choreography to please the judges? Aly dancing well is only part of the equation – if she’s dancing routines that are too “out there” for Len’s taste, or that Carrie Ann thinks aren’t proper, she’s going to get docked…they did it with Chelsea, and I think they’ll do it again with Aly.  So Mark will have to walk a fine line – create creative, memorable routines, while still doing “meat and potatoes” steps to please the judges.  And then comes my biggest concern: is Aly only going to elicit constant comparisons to Shawn? They both are gymnasts, they both have danced with Mark – I think it’s only natural that the viewers are going to be mentally comparing the two.  And unfortunately for Aly, I think she’s got a lot to live up to, if she’s going to be expected to do every bit as well as Shawn.  Kinda makes me wonder if the viewers, while being “Derek’d out”, might also be “gymnast’d out”, too.   I don’t know that it benefits Aly to be following right behind a season where another gymnast made such a splash. ..but who knows.  I’m wondering if Aly & Dorothy are going to be splitting votes, and I’m inclined to think that Dorothy is more likely to get the bulk of them.  But I think Mark may be getting more votes than Tristan.  Honestly, not sure how this one will play out – but I can’t shake my gut feeling that this season’s winner will be…

1.) Jacoby & Karina – He’s fresh off a Superbowl win, he’s charismatic, he seems like he can actually dance, and (thank the lord) Karina seems to have tamed his arrogant streak, and he seems to be ready to work hard to do well this season.  I think this is going to be one season where the NFL fanbase trumps the Olympic fanbase – especially since I think Aly & Dorothy might end up splitting votes.  Jacoby’s also the first NFL player we’ve had that’s fresh off a Superbowl win – will be interesting to see if that gives him a bit of a boost in votes, since it was so recent.  Dance skills? His actual technique is still yet to be seen, but this is a guy that seems really uninhibited and not afraid to “move big” – so he may even be better than Hines or Donald in that respect, since I found both of them seemed to “move small” from time to time.  Appeal? I know he was turning some people off in the first few interviews he gave, but the ones I’ve seen in the past week seem to be more humble, and more realistic about the demands this season…I’m thinking Karina may have sat him down and taught him a thing or two ;-) As for Karina – I’m wondering if Apolo getting kinda screwed by the judges (and consequently, eliminated earlier than expected) last season is going to spur Karina’s fans to vote harder this time around…there are so many things that happened last season that leave me with no clue with what to expect this time around, really.  But I’m gonna be optimistic and say that Karina’s fans are going to be a bit more tenacious this time around, and that the NFL fan base is going to be a bit asset.  I’m excited to see what we get from these two.

So there we go – my initial predictions, without having seen anyone dance yet.  What do you guys think? Who do you think will make the finale…and who will win? I’m sure there’s going to quite a lot of debate on this one…