‘Dancing with the Stars’ mystery: Why is Michael Waltrip still on despite two left feet?

This season of “Dancing With the Stars” continues to defy expectations. With contestants trading the lead back and forth on the judges’ leaderboard and viewers at home voting in unexpected ways, our users are facing a tough battle to predict the results, leading to major changes in our own leaderboard. Among this season’s big surprises: Would you have expected race car driver Michael Waltrip to still be in the competition going into week seven?

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Our users sure didn’t. This week, he led our predictions as the likeliest contestant to be sent home with 3/1 odds.

That dire prediction came despite the fact that no last-place dancer has been eliminated so far this season. However, our predictors thought the rhythmically challenged Waltrip’s luck finally had run out after he finished with the lowest judges’ score when the last two weeks’ dances were combined.

But once again viewer voters saved him from his own awkward dance steps and actor Jonathan Bennett, who ranked second in our elimination predictions, was given the boot instead.

And Waltrip had another surprise for our predictors. We thought he would also be the week’s lowest scorer, a reasonable expectation given his struggles thus far, but he improved, leaving Tommy Chong and Antonio Sabato Jr. tied at the bottom. Now that he has a cushion in the judges’ scores, will Waltrip sail through for another week, or will his fans become complacent now and let him down?

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If you haven’t already been predicting “Dancing with the Stars,” get started below by using our drag-and-drop menu to forecast who will be eliminated next week, 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. You score even more points if you correctly predict a long shot, but be careful – you’ll score zero if you’re wrong.

If you have the highest score at the end of the season, you’ll earn a $100 Amazon gift certificate, and there’s still time to rise up in our predictions contest. Just look at user Ryan Lapierre. He was our top user this week by predicting that Alfonso Ribeiro would earn the highest judges’ score and that Chong would earn the lowest. That moved him up from fourth place to second place on our overall leaderboard.

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Another user, TopChefFan, also predicted that Ribeiro would get the top score. He foresaw Bennett’s elimination too, and as a result moved up from 13th place to seventh on our leaderboard.

Speaking of leaderboards, the “Dancing with the Stars” contestants scored as follows this week:

Alfonso Ribeiro – 39
Bethany Mota – 36
Sadie Robertson – 35
Janel Parrish – 33
Lea Thompson – 32
Michael Waltrip – 30
Tommy Chong – 28
Antonio Sabato Jr. – 28

What did you think of this week’s show? Is it finally time for Waltrip to go, or could his fans carry him all the way to the finals? Below, watch his better-than-usual tango, then make your predictions.

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