We’re down to the Finals of Dancing With the Stars Season 18. On Tuesday, May 20, the Mirror Ball trophy will go to one of these four couples: James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd, Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas, Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, or Amy Purdy and Derek Hough.
We’ve already given reasons why Meryl and Amy might win, but now it’s time to single out the last man standing. Here’s why James could make a Big Time Rush to the end.
1. He’s the most consistently improved dancer. Meryl was already a champion ice dancer when she got there; fellow Olympian Amy only occasionally moves across the floor, and can just choose the optimal prosthetic for each routine; and Candace started strong but hit rough patches for most of the rest of the competition. James, on the other hand, started with a score of 21, lower than the other finalists by several points, and slowly improved his technique to earn perfect scores. In the Semifinals, judge Carrie Ann Inaba said she thinks he’s the smartest competitor since he listens to everything the judges say and she sees the results in his dances. He and Peta work hard to impress the judges and viewers, and it pays off. He just heard about a wonky hand issue, and based on his track record, we won’t hear about that again. If DWTS is about the journey of dance, and who improves the most along the way, it should be James.
2. He could be the dark horse in the Meryl vs. Amy fight. Right now it looks like we’re headed toward an Amy vs. Meryl battle in the Finals, but there may be room for someone to slip in and take the win. The scores are probably going to be close enough to be pretty irrelevant, and fans have been making their cases for Meryl or Amy. Some fans say Meryl was too much of a ringer in advance and has shown no real improvement ‘cause she was already pro level. Others say Amy shouldn’t win ‘cause she’s not that great a dancer, she’s just getting sympathy votes helped by the golden boy’s choreography. They don’t like Amy’s tears, Maks’s temper, or Derek’s streak of winning, and you never know how much these things might affect the results.
It might just lead casual fans to skip the drama and head for a third option. Candace isn’t as strong a dancer as James, and he seems more likely to survive to the very end with the athletes. The wholesome pop star and his beautiful showmance partner have stayed out of that growing fan fight. A male celeb hasn’t won the show since Season 14, when Donald Driver danced with Peta. Sometimes these things are cyclical — we’ve just had three female winners, and before that we had three male winners. Maybe the tide has turned.
3. Jeta fans are a force to be reckoned with. James has almost three million Twitter followers, and if you’ve followed #DWTS during the live shows you’ve seen how many Jeta fans dominate online. They are passionate, vocal, and determined to get this win for James. Meryl and Maks have their own passionate base, and Amy and Derek have Oprah as well as his base of fans and a lot of new viewers, but the Jeta fans seem like they are on a mission. This may have been theirs to control all season and we were distracted by the athlete vs. athlete dramas. Right from the cast announcement, James’ fans screamed the loudest, and they have not quieted down. Pair that with his strong dancing and powerful partnership with Peta, and we may have a winner.
Do you think James and Peta will win Season 18?
DWTS Season 18 airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.