Short answer: Yes. Rob Kardashian could easily win Dancing With the Stars Season 13. Between his slowly improving scores and his powerhouse Kardashian fan base, Rob could definitely win over presumed front-runners J.R. Martinez and Ricki Lake. And considering the DWTS Powers That Be never dish on how many votes the contestants get each week, it’s possible he could win by a LOT. Let’s review...
His dancing improves each week: Right off the bat, the bar for Rob was low. Would he be better than his sister Kim, who danced with Mark Ballas on Season 7? The answer was yes. Rob was better than Kim by Week 1, and he also seemed to be enjoying himself on the dance floor, showing personality Kim never managed to project. But Rob kept going. His skills have improved, his attitude has improved (when he's not making tasteless jokes about affairs on the set) and his competitive drive has emerged.
He is catching up to the front-runners: If you look at the judges' leader board, Rob has moved up the ranks from middle of the pack to right behind Ricki & Derek Hough and J.R. & Karina Smirnoff. In fact, this week Rob & Cheryl Burke actually beat J.R. & Karina because J.R. ended up on the ill-fated Team Tango. Everyone pretty much assumes — rightly — that J.R. and Ricki will face off in the end, but Rob's scores make it clear that he is the front-runner to join them in the finale. It helps that judge Carrie Ann Inaba seems to have a thing for the Kardashians, gushing over Rob's manliness and often giving him higher scores than the other judges.
The Kardashians are hot right now: There's a lot of hate being directed at Kim for her 72 day marriage to Kris Humphries, but the Kardashians also have very loyal fans and it's probable they are going to use this moment to rally around Rob as their "something good" to come out of this whole situation. All publicity is good publicity and his name alone brings eyeballs to DWTS, even if it's just from people hoping for glimpses of Kim or other family members in the audience.
His Twitter base is HUGE: We like to speculate on a couple's popularity through Twitter followers partly because one quick blast of, "Hey everyone, call this number or click on this link to vote for such-and-such" is the easiest way to get votes nowadays. You get that tweet, you can vote for Rob & Cheryl a bunch of times online within a couple of minutes. Heck, you don't even have to see the show to vote. So it is a huge benefit to have lots of Twitter followers yourself. If not, at least your pro partner needs to have lots of followers.
Friends in high places: It helps even more if your friends and family have lots of followers too. Rob has all of that going for him. Right now Rob has more than 2,344,000 Twitter followers. The remaining Season 13 celeb with the closest number to that is Hope Solo with 332,000. (Cher — a living legend, as well as Chaz Bono’s mom — only has 410,000.) Rob’s sister Kim has almost 11 million followers. Their sister Kourtney has 4 million. Their other sister Khloe has almost 5 million. Her husband Lamar has almost 2 million. The momager of the fam, Kris Jenner, has more than 1,400,000. Rob’s half-sisters, Kendall, Kylie Jenner, have more than 1 million each. And that’s just the tip of the Kardashian iceberg. If even one-quarter of those followers actually click a link to vote or call for Rob, that’s still about 7 million people.
Cheryl has a huge fan base too: It’s almost unfair to have Cheryl and Rob together since Cheryl has more Twitter followers than any other competing pro. Granted it’s close, but Cheryl has more than 188,000 followers vs. Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s 177,000 and Derek’s 168,000.
J.R. doesn’t have that fan foundation: J.R. is unquestionably the breakout star of DWTS — he’s winning over everyone on and off the show, and longtime DWTS fans are sending him tons of voter support. However, he was arguably the least famous celeb going into this season. He’s gaining new fans fast — hello, People Magazine cover! — but he’s “only” up to about 27,000 Twitter followers at this point. His partner, Karina Smirnoff, has about 63,000. Are they motivating enough “non-followers” to overcome what Rob & Cheryl just have naturally, without even having to get high scores?
Some fans may not want Ricki & Derek to win: Derek has already won DWTS three times. He’s the only pro to win more than twice and several pros still haven’t won once (Maks! Karina! Anna! Louis! Chelsie! Lacey!). Cheryl has won twice herself, but that was back in 2006 when she won Seasons 2 and 3. Derek’s last two wins were on the last two seasons in which he competed — Seasons 10 and 11. His longtime fans adore him, but some people just don’t want to see him win again.
But is it fair to “punish” Ricki for Derek’s success? After all, this is is her one and only shot at a Mirror Ball trophy. But if it comes down to Ricki vs. Someone Else, chances are there will be whispers that “Derek always gets the best partners,” and “Derek shouldn’t win a fourth time." Even Cheryl told Ryan Seacrest, “If Derek wins again I swear I'm gonna chop his legs off.” Ricki does have some dancing background from Hairspray, many years ago, and even Hope Solo thinks she’s been on Broadway, even though she hasn’t. Will fans turn against her as too much of a “ringer” for DWTS?
Hope & Maks have turned off too many casual fans to win: We’re not ignoring Hope and Maks. It’s possible they could squeak into the finals. Maks’ fans have gotten him there four times in the past and some fans are still mad that he didn’t make the finals with Brandy. Between Hope and Maks, they have the next highest number of followers after Rob & Cheryl — and we KNOW how loyal Team MakSolo fans are. But, after all the negative drama between Hope and Maks and Maks and everyone else, if it comes down to Hope vs. Rob, or Hope vs. Anyone, chances are anyone not already singing in the MakSolo choir will just vote for the other couple.
Nancy & Tristan just don’t have the numbers: The real dark horses of Season 13 are Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus, who have overcome low scores for most of the season. Nancy has almost 200,000 Twitter followers and her own devoted fan base and Tristan is the shiny new pro who has attracted a wild fan base — all without tweeting himself. You don’t technically NEED to tweet your head off to get far. Kristin Cavallari has more than 650,000 Twitter followers and she was kicked out weeks ago.
It’s all a balance of scores/fan base/entertainment value. If Nancy & Tristan have the lowest scores of the week again it’s going to be hard to hide behind anyone and make it into the finals, especially now that we know they were in the actual bottom two this week. Carrie Ann is the only judge willing to give Nancy a “9” and she took heat from just about everyone for doing so last week. If somehow it ends up Nancy vs. Anyone Else in the finale, chances are Nancy will be the one with the lower score and that would probably prevent her from winning.
Want more from Wetpaint Entertainment? For the latest on DWTS, "like" us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/DWTSFansite, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/DWTSWetpaint.