‘DWTS’ controversy: Should Broadway vets Alfonso Riberio & Lea Thompson be bounced?

The appeal of “Dancing With the Stars” is watching celebs try their hand at a skill they’re unfamiliar with. Sometimes the stars surprise us with their natural rhythm, while other stars … don’t. Then there are contestants who have past training or experience that gives them an unfair advantage against their amateur rivals, like Broadway vet Alfonso Ribeiro. Sure, our users are predicting he will win the mirrorball trophy but should he even be allowed to compete?

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Do you think Riberio will waltz away a winner?

Use our drag-and-drop menu below to forecast who will be crowned champ. Or click here to predict that as well as who will be next week’s highest scorer, lowest scorer, and elimination.

Your predictions determine our racetrack odds, and you score points for every right answer (click here to see our leaderboard). Can you overtake the current leader in our “DWTS” predictions contest, alokin?

Ribeiro is primarily known for playing Carlton Banks in the sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” but before that he danced on Broadway in “The Tap Dance Kid,” for which he earned an Outer Critics Circle nomination, as well as in commercials. He even sold his own dance-instruction book called “Breakin’ and Poppin'” in the 1980s.

But Ribeiro isn’t the only ringer in the race. Actress Lea Thompson arguably has even more experience. She was a professional ballerina when she was a teenager and has discussed on “DWTS” how being called “stocky” by Mikhail Baryshnikov discouraged her from continuing. More recently, she kicked up her heels in the Broadway revival of “Cabaret,” and based on her consistent judges’ scores, her dance training is paying off. She has consistently ranked in the top three of our users predictions and, as of this writing, she’s in second place.

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This isn’t the first time “DWTS” has recruited borderline professionals for its amateur dance contest. Just last season, Meryl Davis and Charlie White appeared on the show shortly after winning Olympic gold medals in ice dance, a sport that is essentially ballroom dancing on figure skates. It was no surprise, then, that the pair performed well. Davis won, just like another figure skating gold medalist, Kristi Yamaguchi.

But experience isn’t everything. Consider that White finished fifth despite his extensive experience, while double amputee Amy Purdy and actress Candace Cameron Bure advanced to the top three despite little or no dance training.

Does Bethany Mota’s online fan base give her unfair advantage on ‘DWTS’?

This season has also proved highly competitive despite Ribeiro and Thompson’s advantage. While Ribeiro has finished on top of the judges’ scores three times and Thompson once, on “Movie Night” they were both out-performed by actress Janel Parrish and YouTube star Bethany Mota, who received the season’s first perfect scores despite their lack of dance experience. And teenage Sadie Robertson, who explained earlier this season that dance isn’t even allowed at her school, earned top marks on “Switch-Up” night.

Mota was back on top of the judges’ scores for her Halloween-themed performance this past week, so maybe experience isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Our best predictor, alokin, has been betting on Mota to win since nearly the beginning of the season, so maybe he’s on to something.

Watch Ribeiro’s latest dance below, then predict whether he’ll win.

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