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 men 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. Wanya Morris
Facebook rank: 6th out of 6 – 6k Fans
Twitter rank: 6th out of 6 – 16k Followers
While Wanya Morris is a music legend in his own right as a member of the best-selling R&B group of all time, Boyz II Men, many fans may not recognize him on his own. The 42-year old singer, whose career peaked in the early 1990s, may have a tough time competing against younger, more current stars. And while we know the man can sing, his dancing skills remain to be seen. His social media following is by far the lowest of any contestant this season. The upside for Wanya? He is paired with season 21 finalist Lindsay Arnold, who has proven she can take a contestant all the way to the end.
5. Doug Flutie
Facebook rank: 5th out of 6 – 36k Fans
Twitter rank: 5th out of 6 – 43k fans
NBC sports analyst Doug Flutie comes into this season as a total wild card. There is no way of knowing exactly what he will bring to the dance floor, but sports fans have adored Flutie since he won the Heisman Trophy in 1984. After a successful career as a NFL quarterback, his charismatic personality has made him a popular sports analyst for years. At 52, he may be at a disadvantage, especially considering there are two current NFL stars are in the mix. Flutie is paired with season 13 champ Karina Smirnoff.
4. Geraldo Rivera
Facebook rank: 4th out of 6 – 52k Fans
Twitter rank: 4th out of 6 – 84k Followers
FOX News correspondent and former talk show host Geraldo Rivera comes into the season with plenty of experience in reality competition. He was the season 14 runner-up on “Celebrity Apprentice” behind fellow talk show host Leeza Gibbons. That being said, “DWTS” is a totally different ball game. While he may score fan support for being the oldest competitor at 72-years-old, I have a hard time believing he will hold up for long against younger, more charismatic contestants. It seems every season has an older gentleman who lingers for longer than expected, though — and Rivera probably has the personality to fill that role in season 22. Rivera is paired with Edyta Sliwinska, who is making her first appearance as a pro since season 10.
3. Von Miller
Facebook rank: 3rd out of 6 – 91k Fans
Twitter rank: 2nd out of 6 – 160k Followers
Reigning Super Bowl MVP Von Miller is certainly coming into this season at the peak of his career. With a solid social media following and charismatic personality, the Denver Broncos linebacker could have what it takes to go deep into the competition. Athletes have traditionally fared well on “Dancing with the Stars,” but he weighs 254 pounds, so we will have to wait and see just how light on his feet this 26-year-old is. Miller is paired up with season 19 champ, Witney Carson, who hopes to win her second mirror ball.
2. Nyle DiMarco
Facebook rank: 2nd out of 6 – 373k Fans
Twitter rank: 3rd out of 6 – 100k Followers
Twenty-two could be the lucky number for Nyle DiMarco, who coincidentally won season 22 of “America’s Next Top Model” just last year. Inspirational stories consistently lead to successful runs on “DWTS,” and his is easily the most inspiring of the season. DiMarco was born unable to hear, and his parents, grandparents and two brothers are also deaf. That story is sure to strike a chord with viewers, so expect this 26-year old to go far, especially on the arm of Peta Murgatroyd, one of the series’s most popular dancers and the season 14 champ.
1. Antonio Brown
Facebook rank: 1st out of 6 – 407k Fans
Twitter rank: 1st out of 6 – 532k Followers
As one of three football players this season, 27-year old Antonio Brown may have the best chance at becoming the fourth NFL star to take home a mirror ball trophy (Emmitt Smith, Hines Ward, and Donald Driver won previously). The Pittsburg Steelers’ wide receiver has the largest social media following of any contestant this season. At a lean 180 pounds and full of athletic capability, it’s hard to bet against someone who has all of the characteristics it takes to win it all. Nobody is hoping this is true more than his dancing partner, Sharna Burgess, who after six seasons still hasn’t won a mirror ball.
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