‘Dancing with the Stars’ shocker: Nastia Liukin is frontrunner before season even begins

There’s already a decisive frontrunner for “Dancing With the Stars” this season: Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin, who leads our predictions with 9/10 odds. That may be surprising since the season doesn’t start until next Monday, March 16. How can our users be so sure when no one has even set foot on the dance floor?

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Well, not all “DWTS” contestants are created equal. Though we haven’t seen anyone dance yet, we have a good idea who might have a competitive edge based on the contestants’ backgrounds.

For instance, Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis was the season-18 frontrunner from the very beginning; no one was surprised that a gold medal-winning athlete who essentially performs ballroom dance routines on figure skates turned out to be a pretty good dancer off the ice too.

And season-19 champ Alfonso Ribeiro had past Broadway experience, so his “DWTS” success hardly came out of left field.

Like Davis, Liukin is an Olympic champion: she won gold in the women’s all-around gymnastics event during the 2008 games in Beijing. She won four other medals that year, including silver in the team competition and bronze for floor exercise.

That shows she’s athletic, flexible, and experienced with difficult choreography. And there’s precedent for the success of a gymnast like Liukin: her 2008 Olympic teammate Shawn Johnson won “DWTS” in 2009, then finished second during the all-star season in 2012.

Liukin also lucked out by being paired with arguably the show’s most popular pro dancer, Derek Hough, who has won the mirror ball trophy a record five times and has three other top-three finishes – including with Johnson, whom he partnered with during the all-star season.

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In fact, in the last 13 seasons, Hough has missed the top-three only five times, including last season, when he finished just short of that, placing fourth with YouTube personality Bethany Mota.

According to our predictions, Liukin’s closest competitor is football player Michael Sam (5/1 odds). Actress Willow Shields is close behind him with 13/2 odds. Actress Rumer Willis is fourth with 14/1 odds.

Actor and singer Riker Lynch and LMFAO band member RedFoo both trail with 25/1 odds, while recently announced addition Chris Soules from “The Bachelor” follows with 33/1 odds, tied with model Charlotte McKinney.

Shark Tank” panelist Robert Herjavec has the lowest expectations. Our users expect him to be the first sent home.

Do you think YOU know who’ll win the coveted mirror ball trophy? If so, why are you not taking part in our “DWTS” prediction contest? The user who scores the most game points at season’s end will win a $100 Amazon gift certificate. It’s fun and easy, so start predicting now!

To make your weekly predictions, just log in to your account (or create a free one), click on the “Dancing with the Stars” button and start answering questions like:

Who will win ‘Dancing with the Stars’?

Who will be eliminated next?

Who will receive the HIGHEST score from the judges?

Who will receive the LOWEST score from the judges?

Answer our questions before every episode and you will earn points based on correct predictions. Top user gets $100. The deadline for each episode is Monday at 4 p.m. PT.

To get started, click here or scroll down and make your first prediction using our easy drag-and-drop menu.

We are forecasting everything from the results on reality TV shows like “Survivor,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Amazing Race” to the body count on “The Walking Dead” to the winners of the Emmys. Click on any box to bring up that event and get started.

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To vote for who you think will win “DWTS,” drag contestants over from the left to the right and arrange them in your predicted order. For example, if you think Liukin will win, make sure you put her in first place. You can continue to update and change your predictions throughout the week, just click “Save Predictions” when you’ve settled on your choice.

Get started by making your prediction as to which dancer will win using our easy drag-and-drop menu below. And be sure to sound off on the current season of “DWTS” in Gold Derby’s reality TV forum.

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