We thought we knew who had the edge going into season 24 of “Dancing with the Stars,” and … we were partly right. Undoubtedly realizing that Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles was the most hotly anticipated performer of the night, the show saved her for the very end, and it turned out they were saving the best for last. Just as we had forecast, she got the highest score of the night.
Biles performed a tango with her professional partner Sasha Farber, and she got straight 8s from judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Julianne Hough and Bruno Tonioli, for a total of 32 out of 40, better than anyone else on the dance floor. She had leading odds of 10/9, which translated to a 48% chance of topping the judges’ leaderboard, so our collective predictions were right.
But we weren’t expecting NFL player Rashad Jennings to come as close as he did. He and pro partner Emma Slater finished just one point shy of Biles’s marks with 31 for their cha cha — stingy Len Goodman gave them a 7 instead of an 8. Only two of our users predicted he would get the high score, which gave him 33/1 odds (3% chance of getting the high score), so he very nearly pulled off a big upset to start off the season.
Three contestants tied for third place with straight-7s, for a total of 28: figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, who performed an elegant Viennese waltz with partner Artem Chigvintsev; “Glee” actress Heather Morris, doing the same style of waltz with her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy; and arguably the biggest surprise of the night, baseball player David Ross, doing a strong quickstep with his partner Lindsay Arnold. Fifth Harmony singer Normani Kordei was right behind them with 27 for her show-opening quickstep with partner Val Chmerkovskiy.
Our predictions were slightly off about who would get the lowest score of the night. We thought actor and former wrestler Mr. T would land at the bottom (5/4 odds), and he came close with an underachieving score of 20 for his cha cha with partner Kym Herjavek. But that was actually three points better than “Saturday Night Live” comedian Chris Kattan, who struggled through his own cha cha with Witney Carson. Kattan had 4/1 odds of getting the lowest score.
Kattan was upfront about an old neck injury that affected his range of motion, but even with that in mind it was hard to overlook his missteps. Tonioli called it “the perfect interpretation of a cha cha with a hangover.” Inaba called it “goofy bad dancing,” which she meant as a compliment … sort of. Goodman didn’t pull any punches and just said it plainly: “The best thing about that cha cha was I haven’t got to watch it again.” Kattan scored 17.
In our weekly predictions contest, only four users scored 100% by correctly answering all four of our prediction questions: who would get the high score (Biles), who would get the low score (Kattan), who would be eliminated (No One), and how many 10s the judges would give out (Zero). Those users were Caroline Schneider, arisamb, Blah Blahblah and Nate. Of those four, Schneider is at the top of our leaderboard because she got the most favorable odds when she locked in those predictions and therefore got the highest point total.
Check out the top 10 users in our predictions chart below. Click on the chart to see the complete predictions leaderboard so you can find out how well you did.
You can already make your predictions for next week. 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”?
Who will be eliminated?
Who will get the HIGHEST judges’ score?
Who will get the LOWEST judges’ score?
How many 10s will the judges give out?
To make your predictions, make sure to consult the judges’ scores from tonight’s episode, which along with viewer votes will determine who is sent home next week:
Simone Biles — 32
Rashad Jennings — 31
Nancy Kerrigan — 28
Heather Morris — 28
David Ross — 28
Normani Kordei — 27
Erika Jayne — 24
Nick Viall — 24
Bonner Bolton — 22
Charo – 21
Mr. T – 20
Chris Kattan — 17
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” when you’ve settled on your choices. You’ll compete to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate, bragging rights and a place of honor on our leaderboard. Our racetrack odds change as you make your predictions, just as they do when you bet on the Emmys, Oscars, Golden Globes and more. Be sure to read our contest rules and sound off on the season of “Dancing with the Stars” in our reality TV forum.