Credit: ABC

Before we met the final four of Dancing With the Stars Season 17, when Maksim Chmerkovskiy was just about to sit in the judges seat next to groping Bruno Tonioli, the former pro talked to Access Hollywood about who might win the fall 2013 Mirror Ball trophy.

The two celebs he mentioned were basically the frontrunners to win from Week 1: Amber Riley, who is dancing with four-time pro champ Derek Hough; and Corbin Bleu, who is dancing with one-time champ Karina Smirnoff.

"Corbin's the frontrunner dance-wise,” Maks told Access, “but I think Amber has a lot more ability than we may think.” This was said before she topped the leaderboard on the Semifinals, with Maks himself being the only judge to deny her a 10 all night. “I was thinking about, like, sports references,” Maks continued. “If you made the playoffs, you may not have the biggest, best record going into the playoffs but if you have the experience of being there, it's a huge plus. It's a whole new ballgame. So whoever makes the final has to go up against Derek, who's been there eight times or however many times, and has four trophies to show for it. It's a huge asset when you know what to do with that.”

Derek has actually been to the Finals seven times since he started with the show in Season 5; he won Season 7, Season 10, Season 11, and Season 16. Cheryl Burke, who is in the finals with Jack Osbourne, has also been to the Finals seven times since she started on the show in Season 2, which she won; she also won Season 3. Karina has been in the Finals four times since starting on the show in Season 3; she won Season 13.

This is Emma Slater’s first season as a competing pro, so it's her first trip to the Finals. It's possible she'll follow in Cheryl's footsteps and win on her first season, if Bill Engvall’s fans can get them there.


Do you think Amber and Derek have a big advantage thanks to his unmatched ability to win? Watch the two-night Season 17 Finals on Monday, November 25 and Tuesday, November 26 on ABC.

Source: Access Hollywood