‘Dancing with the Stars’ double elimination: Why Nancy Kerrigan should watch her back

It has been announced that tonight on “Dancing with the Stars” two of the remaining seven stars will be sent home in a double elimination. After Heather Morris‘s shocking ouster last week it’s anyone’s guess who will be next on the chopping block. For those looking for some guidance as to who may go home, here is my breakdown of who I think will survive and who may be in danger.

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Most Likely Safe

Simone Biles & Sasha Farber – Biles is perhaps one of the best known and relevant stars of the season, and every gymnast who has appeared on the show has placed fourth or higher, with two of them winning: Shawn Johnson (season eight) and Laurie Hernandez (season 23). I think with her high scores, name recognition and the success rate of gymnasts on the show, she will no doubt survive the double elimination.

Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater – Jennings, like Biles, has either topped the leaderboard or placed near the top almost every week. And the majority of football players have made it to the semifinals or better. In addition to the scores, Jennings has been able to connect with the viewers by showing his vulnerable side week after week.

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Somewhat Safe

Normani Kordei & Val Chmerkovskiy – They have topped the leaderboard three times so far, more than any other couple this season. Based on that alone, I would consider them among the most likely to be safe. However, I’m a bit hesitant since she was announced as being in jeopardy twice this season, though that doesn’t necessarily mean she was really one of the contestants near the bottom after combining viewer votes with the judges’ scores. Also, with Morris being gone there could be a potential backlash against Kordei since she’s now the contestant with the most prior dance experience. And I’m not sure she’s been able to connect with viewers on a personal level like Biles and Jennings have.

David Ross & Lindsay Arnold – The last few weeks have been rough for Ross and Arnold. They landed at or near the bottom of the leaderboard in the last two episodes. Based on that alone he should be in jeopardy. I think what saves Ross from the double elimination is his fan base, which has already shown it will support him regardless of his scores, and his relatable personality. Ross represents the average guy who may not be the best dancer but looks like he’s having the time of his life. I honestly think he could surprise and end up as high as fourth place for the season based on his fan base and likability.

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In Jeopardy

Nancy Kerrigan & Artem Chigvintsev – They started off in the middle of the pack towards the beginning of the season but consistently improved week after week. However, last week was a bit of a stumble for the couple as they saw a dip in their scores, received an unflattering edit for their clip package that emphasized their frustrations, and were the last couple to be called safe. But despite those roadblocks, what works in Kerrigan’s favor is that she’s probably the same age as “DWTS’s” main audience. I feel that many mothers and women over 40 can relate to her insecurities and would be more likely to support her. It’s also worth noting that ice skaters, like gymnasts, usually last far into the competition. In fact, only two ice skaters have failed to make the finals: Dorothy Hamill (season 16) and Charlie White (season 18), and in Hamill’s case she had to withdraw from the show for medical reasons as opposed to being voted off.

Bonner Bolton & Sharna Burgess – Bolton and Burgess have been the little engine that could. They have yet to place in the top half of the leaderboard, so by all accounts he should be one of the stars eliminated tonight. However, what works in Bolton’s favor is his backstory: he broke his neck and nearly died in a rodeo accident. One thing “DWTS” audiences love is a great comeback narrative. In the last few seasons there have been multiple stars who made it all the way to the finals due in part to the obstacles or tragedies they overcame rather than executing perfect routines every week, like military heroes Noah Galloway (season 20) and Alek Skarlatos (season 21), both of whom made the finals. So if Bolton survives the double elimination, then he could potentially join those other contestants and go much further than you’d think his scores would justify.

Nick Viall & Peta Murgatroyd – They have been in jeopardy more times this season than any of the remaining couples. That stat alone definitely makes him a prime candidate for elimination. Another thing working against him is the “Bachelor” curse. Every “Bachelor” contestant with the exception of season 15 champ Melissa Rycroft has placed either sixth or seventh in the competition. So it seems like there should be no doubt about him going home tonight. However, there are exceptions to the rule, so maybe he could defeat the odds and stick around a while longer.

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