Good Morning America put some pressure on Pretty Little Liars star Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy, saying they could be the couple to beat. Well, Val is certainly hoping to follow his brother Maksim Chmerkovskiy as Mirror Ball champion. Will 2014 belong to the Chmerkovskiy bros?
They have plenty of competition. Never rule out five-time champ Derek Hough and whoever he is paired with, especially if he is paired with an 18-year-old blogger with more than 7 million YouTube subscribers and close to 2 million Twitter followers. Youth, energy, social media popularity, Derek? It would be a surprise if Bethany Mota didn’t make the finals.
But don’t lock them in yet — Alfonso Ribeiro definitely has some moves, and not just The Carlton. As Kristyn Burtt noted in her 15-second dance scoop, Alfonso was a dance prodigy on Broadway and with Michael Jackson. Watch him tap dance at the 1984 Tonys, and see him with MJ. That was a long time ago, but when you have the moves, you have the moves. Plus, he has Witney Carson. They should be a fun couple.
But he’s not the only one with some dance in his background. What about ballet dancer Lea Thompson, with new competing pro Artem Chigvintsev?
We also have an Olympian in Lolo Jones and we know athletes tend to do very well on DWTS; she’s paired with new pro Keo Motsepe, and if they win over the audience, they could win over the season. At least one race car driver has won before too, and Michael Waltrip already seems to have a great Bill Engvall-ish relationship with pro Emma Slater.
Forever young Betsey Johnson will hopefully do some cartwheels on the dance floor, and Tommy Chong has swag for days, but we can’t ignore that they are both in their 70s — they’re going to have to be considered major underdogs. But DWTS fans do love underdogs! They also love positive attitudes, and Jonathan Bennett (aka Aaron Samuels of Mean Girls) was so adorably excited on DWTS. We’ll have to keep an eye on him and new pro Allison Holker.
Cheryl Burke does tend to get the hunks and she has another one in Antonio Sabato Jr. Could he be her next Gilles Marini? We’ll have to wait and see them in action. Tavis Smiley and Sharna Burgess and Randy Couture and Karina Smirnoff are also question marks. They could go in either direction.
But we’re pretty sure Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas will be sticking around. She has a big, conservative fan base from Duck Dynasty, plus she’s cute and sweet. She’s like a cross between Mark’s past partners (both Finalists) Bristol Palin and Candace Cameron-Bure. But hopefully Sadie has more dance talent than both (and more enthusiasm than Bristol the Pistol).
Do you have an early winner prediction? Last season it seemed pretty obvious that Meryl Davis & Maks were the couple to beat, and that turned out to be true. This season feels like it will be less obvious, which is probably a good thing. But it will all become more clear when we see them dance for the first time on Monday, September 15.
For now, here's a bold, out-of-nowhere prediction:
1. Sadie Robertson (Duck Dynasty star, 17) and Mark Ballas
2. Janel Parrish (Pretty Little Liars actress, 25) and Val Chmerkovskiy
3. Bethany Mota (YouTube blogger, 18) and Derek Hough
4. Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor, 42) and Witney Carson
5. Michael Waltrip (Race car driver, 51) and Emma Slater
6. Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls actor, 33) and Allison Holker
That’s obviously a wild guess, but we’re giving this season to another lady celeb and male pro. Do you agree or will a male celeb win DWTS for the first time since Donald Driver in Season 14? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments!