7. Margaret Cho Her dancing is the most improved among the lower-tier dancers, and the judges love self-improvement, as does Americans. And there’s nothing like watching the Ugly Duckling redemption arc — including a few tears — to endear oneself to an audience. Margaret seems likely to continue improving and, let’s be honest, with her significant fan base among some core viewers, she’s likely to stay on for a bit longer.
6. Bristol Palin She hasn’t brought out the kid, yet — but she did earn the first field trip from the producers. Her dancing and performance doesn’t seem polished enough to compete with professional performers, even as Mark seems to be doing a great job as a teacher — but we suspect her mom’s fan base will keep her in the competition for longer than her dance skills will indicate.
5. Brandy Brandy looked great in Week 1, but whatever is going on off-camera with her an Maks definitely took a toll on their performance this week. While her dancing looked decently, whatever connection there was the first week was completely gone — and without dance chemistry, she’ll lose the audience faster than Maks.
1. Jennifer Grey Rick Fox can say whatever he wants about there being no clear winner this year. Grey is obviously the woman to beat this season, between last week’s waltz and this week’s jive. She might not be Nicole Scherzinger, but if she’s not an audience fave, y’all need to stop trying to put Baby in a corner. No one puts Baby in a corner.
For two weeks running, Americans have chosen (surprisingly) wisely, eliminating the two absolute worst dancers (David Hasselhoff and Michael Bolton) despite their fan bases. Can we keep it up? Only The Situation’s fade — and fate — will tell. But in terms of who is in, who is moving up and who should be on the way out, well, we have some thoughts.
10. The Situation He doesn’t seem like such a bad guy apart from the rest of the cast, the booze, and the girls looking to smoosh for a little camera time — but he does seem like a terrible dancer. And no matter how humble he acts, if he can’t find a little rhythm and a lot more brain cells to remember his steps, it’ll be back to the Jersey Shore for him when it’s too cold to enjoy it. 9. Florence Henderson Love her grit, love her attitude, love her determination, and love her willingness to throw herself into it. But in a three-way race for the bottom versus cutie Kurt and a vulnerable Cho, we think Florence will probably be boogieing her way into competition history quite soon. Cloris Leachman stayed on as long as she did because she tried to make staying a joke, and Florence has definitely not done that — but it might well work against her.
8. Kurt Warner He’s a cutie and a crowd-pleaser but, after a while, there’s really only room for one professional athlete type and we kinda think Rick Fox will be that guy. Plus, honestly, Latin dancing is coming up and we’re worried.
4. Audrina Patridge Will her relationship survive the competition? Can she do a Latin dance in which her face reflects what her hips are doing? Audrina looked surprisingly competent this week — and obviously she and Tony have good student-teacher chemistry — but it remains to be seen if she can develop some actual charisma.
3. Rick Fox The man can Jive? Who knew! And while his backstage-camera tush-shaking could use a little work, we feel like girlfriend Eliza Dushku could probably help him with that homework. If the Jive couldn’t trip him up, we can definitely seem him going far. 2. Kyle Massey If anyone had asked us two weeks ago who would be in the bottom third (and they did), Kyle would have been down on that list. But between two über-cute performances and a sincere willingness, evidenced last night in their encore dance, to take the judges’ comments into account, Kyle’s only stumbling block might be the samba or the waltz — either of which requires a certain attitude that is seemingly out of character for him.