Have you been predicting "Dancing With the Stars" for a chance to win $100 every week? To prevail in our contest, you just have to have the best score when forecasting who will get the high score, who will get the low score, and who will be eliminated each week.
When it comes to the high score, your best bet may be to predict one of the three most dominant dancers still in contention: gymnast Nastia Liukin, musician Riker Lynch or actress Rumer Willis. One of them has been at the top of the judges' scores every week this season but one: on "Most Memorable Year" night, "Hunger Games" star Willow Shields was the best dancer, but she was shockingly eliminated two weeks ago.
But now that we've reached the semifinals, it's also time to start seriously considering who will win the mirror ball trophy when the season wraps up on Tuesday, May 19. We asked two of our savviest users what they think of the competition as the season approaches the finish line. Since they're among the best predictors of the season so far, it may be wise to consider their picks before making your own.
User Eeric has been watching "DWTS" since the very first season and tells us he's been "mostly predicting based on my gut feeling, so I don't really have a strategy. The only thing I can think of that might be strategical is putting Rumer, Nastia or Riker to get the high score since they've been the most consistent this season."
His gut has served him well this year. He's currently in second place on our overall predictions leaderboard with 42% accuracy after eight weeks. But he's definitely not playing it safe when picking this year's winner. "As of right now, I'm predicting Riker to win. He currently has the highest average score (but that could change after the semi-finals), and the winner of the past five seasons has had the highest average. However, I'm starting to lean towards Rumer winning, but I won't decide until after semis."
That puts Eeric in the minority. Only 18% of users say Lynch will win the mirror ball trophy, giving him 9/2 odds. (Click here to see the rest of our odds for Monday night.)
Ryan Lapierre ranks fourth on our predictions leaderboard, but he's actually tied with Eeric with 42% accuracy for the season. He disagrees with Eeric's assessment. "I am predicting Rumer to win this season," says Lapierre.
He believes Willis has an edge with older viewers in part because of her famous parentage. "Rumer is the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. Those middle-aged women are gonna say, 'Oh I know who those people are, I didn't know Rumer was [their] daughter' … Rumer also has been consistent and at the end of the day she has more people voting for her than Nastia."
Lapierre isn't alone; Willis has been steadily rising in our predictions this season and is now the strong favorite to win with 5/6 odds and support from 54% of users. Liukin ranks second with 7/2 odds and support from 22% of users.
As for Lynch, Lapierre actually thought the young musician would be eliminated during last week's double elimination. That prediction didn't pan out, and Lapierre blames the previous week's surprise ouster for leading him astray: "Willow's elimination screwed me over. The moment she got eliminated I said, okay, that's it, I have to change my strategy. So the following week I said, you know Riker doesn't have a fan base at all and he doesn't really have a charming personality. So at 7:00 PM on Monday I said, screw it, I'm switching to Riker. Of course now I'm fourth place on the leaderboard."
Frequent low-scorers Robert Herjavec and Chris Soules were sent home instead, and Eeric has a simple explanation for why Lynch was spared: "I was surprised to see Willow eliminated, but then I thought that would just make the audience want to vote more for the high scorers to keep them safe."
Neither Eeric nor Lapierre expect military veteran Noah Galloway to win the season. The double-amputee may be inspiring as he performs unique routines that must compensate for his physical limitations, but he may finally find himself unable to keep up at this advanced stage of the competition. Only 2% of users think he'll win the season, giving him 50/1 odds, while none of our users think he'll get the highest judges' score of the night (100/1) and a whopping 88% think he'll get the lowest score (2/13 odds).
But if you think Galloway actually will win the night, you can predict him now at 100/1 odds and win big points, and that's often the key to winning our weekly contests.
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 answers, don't take them for granted.
So if you bet 500 points on Galloway at 100/1 odds, that will pay out with a whopping 50,000 points if you're right. That could be the difference between winning our contest and losing. But it's a calculated risk because you don't score points for a wrong answer, which could knock you out of contention entirely.
When making your predictions, sometimes it pays to be bold, but sometimes it pays to play it safe. Choose wisely.
Make or update your predictions below by dragging contestants from left to right in your forecasted order of finishing. For example, if you think Willis will win the season, make sure to have her in first place. You can continue to update and change your predictions throughout the week until 5 p.m. PT each Monday. Just click "Save Predictions" when you've settled on your choices.
After logging in, click on the "Predictions" button found at the top-right of every page. That will bring you to a list of every event currently being predicted at Gold Derby.
We are forecasting everything from the results on reality TV shows like "The Amazing Race" and "Survivor" to the winners of the Academy of Country Music Awards and both Daytime and Primetime Emmys.
Click on any box to bring up that event, then scroll down to start making your predictions.
For each TV show, cast your votes on several different questions relating to the upcoming episode. And remember to place your 500 and 200-point bets wisely.