“Dancing With the Stars” contestant Nyle DiMarco defied the odds by taking the top spot on the judges’ leaderboard during Monday night’s season premiere (tied with singer Wanya Morris and meteorologist Ginger Zee), and as a result he has skyrocketed to the top of our predictions for who will win the Mirror Ball Trophy.
DiMarco arrived on the dance floor with previous reality competition experience — he won the final season of “America’s Next Top Model” just last fall — but he also has a significant disadvantage: he’s deaf. Despite that, he managed to keep perfect rhythm with pro partner Peta Murgatroyd, even better than most dancers who could hear the music.
Before the season premiere, our users ranked DiMarco fourth in our predictions with 17/2 odds (11% chance of winning the Mirror Ball), but as the result of his inspiring performance he now leads the contest with 5/6 odds (a whopping 54% chance of winning). Click on the chart below for more prediction stats:
DiMarco isn’t the first contestant to overcome a physical disadvantage to succeed on the show. Amy Purdy finished second in season 18 despite having had two legs amputated as the result of bacterial meningitis. Noah Galloway finished third in season 20 despite losing an arm and a leg while serving in the Iraq War.
Another deaf contestant competed on the show before: Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who finished seventh, but she never topped the leaderboard like DiMarco just did.
His partner Murgatroyd is no stranger to the Mirror Ball Trophy: she won season 14 with football player Donald Driver. But she hasn’t even made it to the finals since then. Is DiMarco the key to a repeat victory for the New Zealand-born pro?
So who do you think will win and lose? 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 win the Mirror Ball? 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