Season 22 of the ABC hit “Dancing With the Stars” is set to premiere Monday, March 21, with a brand new class of celebrities competing to win the mirror ball trophy. Now that the contestants have been revealed we can start to predict which ones will be able to withstand the pressure. Are the contestants with the largest fan bases automatically the frontrunners to win it all? Or will a new star emerge from the series, like season 21 champ Bindi Irwin?
Let’s break down the six women competing, based on their dance potential as well as their social media fan bases, which could play a big role when it comes to getting the all-important viewer votes that are added to the judges’ scores to determine the results.
6. Mischa Barton
Facebook rank: 4th out of 6 – 41k Fans
Twitter rank: 4th out of 6 – 87k Followers
Former “The O.C.” actress Mischa Barton may be looking for career resuscitation by participating this season. The problem is that this former teen star just isn’t that likable. I have no idea how her dancing is, but I don’t imagine viewers feeling compelled to vote for Barton, who at 30-years-old doesn’t offer the personality teenage fans of hers enjoyed watching 13 years ago. She may prove me wrong, but I expect Barton, along with her pro dance partner Artem Chigvinstsev, to be heading home early.
5. Marla Maples
Facebook rank: 6th out of 6 – 9k Fans
Twitter rank: 6th out of 6 – 25k Followers
A clear grasp by producers to get some of the Donald Drumpf ratings surge, Marla Maples, former wife of “The Donald” doesn’t have a fan base, since she isn’t really a public figure in her own right. That being said, at 52 years old, Maples still looks great, has been described by her dance partner as a hard worker, and has a good personality. I think she has a real chance to surprise people, but she will have to survive the early rounds against bigger names to establish herself with the viewers – and that means she has to dance well. Maples is paired with season 15 champ Tony Dovolani.
4. Kim Fields
Facebook rank: 5th out of 6 – 33k Fans
Twitter rank: 5th out of 6 – 77k Followers
Many fans will remember Kim Fields from her hit TV series “The Facts of Life” and “Living Single,” but currently the 46-year-old actress can be seen on the reality show “Real Housewives of Atlanta.” It remains to be seen what kind of moves Fields can bring to the dance floor, but the “Housewives” haven’t fared particularly well on this series to date. The fact that she has real acting credits to her name should help her somewhat, but based on her limited social media following, she could have a difficult time pulling in votes. Not helping her is the fact that her dance partner is Sasha Farber, who has only appeared in one season as a pro and lacks much of a fan base of his own.
3. Ginger Zee
Facebook rank: 1st out of 6 – 420k Fans
Twitter rank: 2nd out of 6 – 174k Followers
“Good Morning America’s” chief meteorologist, Ginger Zee, could be the biggest surprise of the season. The 35-year old has a spunky personality that has gained her legions of fans and a very strong social media following. As part of a very popular morning show, Zee and her co-hosts will be able to remind viewers to tune in and vote. In addition to having a personality likely to win over viewers at home, she will be paired with fan-favorite dancer and season 20 champ Val Chmerkovskiy. Watch out for her to stage an upset.
2. Jodie Sweetin
Facebook rank: 3rd out of 6 – 184k Fans
Twitter rank: 1st out of 6 – 243k Followers
Fresh off a successful return to her role as Stephanie Tanner in the new Netflix spin-off “Fuller House,” 34-year old Jodie Sweetin comes to “Dancing With the Stars” as a serious contender to win. Not only does she come from a show with a significant fan base (co-star Candace Cameron Bure danced all the way to third place in season 18), she has also taken dance lessons since childhood. My biggest concern for her is that she is partnered with Keo Motsepe, who has yet to make it past week three in any season.
1. Paige VanZant
Facebook rank: 2nd out of 6 – 338k Fans
Twitter rank: 3rd out of 6 – 134k Followers
People may wonder why a UFC fighter would be the top-ranked woman going into this season, but Paige VanZant is not your typical fighter. She also has 13 years of ballet, jazz and hip-hop training behind her. At just 21-years-old, she is the youngest competitor of the season, which could also be a benefit in getting votes from younger viewers. If all of this weren’t enough, she is partnered with one of the most popular dancers in the show’s history, two-time champ Mark Ballas. Expect this young mixed martial artist to come out guns blazing from week one.
Who do you think will take home the Mirror Ball trophy this season?
In our “Dancing with the Stars” predictions center, you get to answer the following questions before each episode airs on ABC every Monday at 5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET.:
Who will win ‘Dancing with the Stars’?
Which star will be eliminated?
Who will receive the judges’ HIGHEST score?
Who will receive the judges’ LOWEST score?
How many 10s will the judges give out?
At the end of each week, the eligible user with the highest prediction accuracy and most points will be the leaderboard champ for the week, so it’s beneficial to keep coming back often and making/updating your predictions.
Remember that coming out on top doesn’t just mean answering that week’s questions correctly. You also have to use your three big bets (500 points and two of 200 points) strategically to score the most game points. If you bet on a longshot who pulls off an upset, you can really rack up the points, so don’t take them for granted.
Who do you think is going to be eliminated? Making your “DWTS” predictions is fun and easy. Just log into your Gold Derby account (or you can register for a free account via Facebook) and then start casting your votes to the right or at the bottom of this post.
Gold Derby readers just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts throughout the week, just click “Save Predictions” when you’ve settled on your choice.
Photo Credit: ABC