‘Dancing with the Stars’ preview: Who will rise and fall in controversial partner switch-up?

Tonight is the night of the controversial “Dancing With the Stars” switch-up. The celebrity contestants, who had been partnered with and trained by the same pro dancers for the last three weeks, will dance with someone new for one time only before going back to their usual pros.

How will the switch affect such a competitive season? Last week the performances were so strong it took a near perfect score to top the leaderboard: Olympic gold medalist Meryl Davis scored the first perfect 10s of the season – three of them – for a total of 39 out of 40.

Four other stars scored straight 9s to tie for second place: Davis’s Olympic ice dance partner Charlie White, James Maslow, Danica McKellar, and Amy Purdy. Heck, even the last-place dancer, Drew Carey, managed two 8s from the judging panel.

Will the switch-up cause the scores to plummet this week, or will the stars and pro dancers step up their game?

Also affecting the outcome will be Julianne Hough, a two-time winner of “Dancing with the Stars” (seasons four and five) who returns as a guest judge. That could be good news for her big brother Derek Hough, who had been dancing with Paralympic snowboarder Purdy. Will Derek and his new dance partner benefit from having a sibling on the panel?

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However the scores shake out this week, our users still expect Meryl Davis to win the season. She leads with 5/4 odds, followed by Charlie White (3/1), Amy Purdy (10/3), and a surging James Maslow (9/2). Davis is also predicted to have tonight’s top judges’ score.

Expected to be at the bottom of the standings again is Drew Carey (4/7 odds), who our users also believe will be the next star sent home.

Who do you think will win the season? Make your predictions below:

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