Alexa PenaVega and her husband Carlos PenaVega have been hit-or-miss on "Dancing With the Stars" this season, at least according to the fickle judges. This week, however, they finally proved themselves with dominant performances, or maybe the judges finally woke up on the right side of the bed, or both. After finishing near the bottom of the leaderboard last week, Alexa received the first perfect score of the season Monday night (40 out of 40), and Carlos wasn't far behind (39 out of 40). Does this mean they'll threaten this season's frontrunner Bindi Irwin for the mirror ball trophy after all?
Irwin has gotten the top judges' score three times this season, and the participants in our predictions contest thought it would happen again. 29% were betting on that outcome, compared to only 15% who correctly anticipated Alexa's rise to the top.
The elimination result also took our players by surprise. 59% thought Paula Deen would be sent home after she got the lowest score last week, but it turned out to be a non-elimination round (22% of our contest players saw that coming). That's because Monday night was the dreaded "Switch-Up," in which the stars were paired with different pro partners. That worked out for Alexa, who switched from Mark Ballas to Derek Hough, and Carlos, who switched from Witney Carson to Lindsay Arnold, but it didn't work for everyone.
Deen received her highest praise yet from the judges for her jive with Ballas, but it wasn't enough to keep her from the bottom of the leaderboard; she scored 26; a whopping 86% of our predictors correctly bet on that outcome. Meanwhile, usual judges' darlings Tamar Braxton and Alek Skarlatos were also brought low, tied with 29 points.
Five contest entrants tied with 100% accuracy: LSKILDUM, Cordell Martin, Zachary Hardy, Dylan Randazzo and me. Of those, LSKILDUM scored the most game points (8,000), putting him at the top of our predictions leaderboard for the week. Click the chart below for this week's complete results:
How did he do it? He placed 500 points on the bet that no one would be sent home at 12/1 odds, resulting in a 6,000-point payout. He bet another 200 on Alexa's high score at 8/1 odds, winning him another 1,600 points.
Keep your point bets in mind making your predictions: coming out on top doesn't just mean answering the week's questions correctly. You also have to use your three big bets (one of 500 points and two of 200 points) strategically to score the most game points. If you bet on a long shot who pulls off an upset, you can really rack up the points. As we use those point totals to break ties when more than one user tops our leaderboard with the same number of correct predictions (as happened this week), don't take them for granted.
Perhaps surprisingly, this week's prediction results had no effect on our overall leaderboard for the season to date. Contest leaders Avaday, Denton Davidson and WiltedYouth all answered two out of three questions correctly, keeping them tied in the top spot with 60% accuracy (9 out of 15 right answers). Of the three, Avaday has the highest points total (15,998.85) and thus holds the top spot.
Test your mettle against our top readers by making your own predictions from week to week. Make sure you refer to Monday night's scores below when betting on next week's show.
But the scores from the last two weeks are combined to help determine the next elimination. The combined totals are as follows:
Bindi Irwin – 65
Carlos PenaVega – 64
Nick Carter – 62
Alexa PenaVega – 60
Andy Grammer – 59
Hayes Grier – 57
Tamar Braxton – 56
Alek Skarlatos – 53
Paula Deen – 44
In our "Dancing with the Stars" predictions center, you get to answer the following questions each week:
Which celebrity will be eliminated?
Who will receive the HIGHEST score from the judges?
Who will receive the LOWEST score from the judges?
Who will win 'Dancing with the Stars'?
At the end of each week, the eligible user with the highest prediction accuracy and most points will win a $100 Amazon gift certificate, so it's beneficial to keep coming back often and making/updating your predictions.
Which dancers do you like (and dislike) the most? Sound off in the comments section below, and join the discussion in Gold Derby's reality TV forum.
Photos: Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega, "Dancing with the Stars." Credit: ABC