On Monday, November 21, “Dancing with the Stars” held night one of its two-night season finale, narrowing down its final four contestants to the three who will compete for the Mirror Ball Trophy on Tuesday night. Unfortunately for country singer Jana Kramer and her pro partner Gleb Savchenko, they just missed the cut and exited the series in fourth place.
It was a tough week for Kramer and Savchenko. During their seven days training since last week’s semi-finals Savchenko fell ill, limiting the amount of time they were able to practice together. They began Monday night’s show with a redemption dance, the tango, but judge Julianne Hough “didn’t feel the same spark I was hoping for,” attributing that in part to the couple’s limited training time.
Then, during an ambitious freestyle routine in which Kramer and Savchenko were tethered together by a long, winding cloth, Savchenko tripped, costing them points and landing them at the bottom of the leaderboard.
So that leaves three: Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, who has been the frontrunner since the very beginning of the season; race car driver James Hinchcliffe, who nearly died in a 2015 accident and has risen to become Hernandez’s biggest threat; and football player Calvin Johnson, who could upset to become the fourth NFL star to win the Mirror Ball Trophy.
Of those, Hernandez got the top score during the finals (her sixth high score of the season) thanks to an excellent paso doble in the redemption round, followed by an utterly infectious playground freestyle routine that had “so much energy you could send a rocket to the moon,” according to judge Bruno Tonioli.
Hinchcliffe wasn’t far behind. He had a slight stumble during his redemption dance, but came back with an emotionally charged freestyle routine inspired by his recovery from his near-fatal accident; head judge Len Goodman told him it “showcased you as a dancer, but also as a person.”
Johnson also had a slight misstep during his redemption dance — judge Carrie Ann Inaba penalized him for an unauthorized lift — but he too came roaring back with an acrobatic freestyle that allowed him all the lifts he wanted and made a believer out of Inaba, who said, “It was amazing — what a joy!”
What do you think will happen tomorrow night when “Dancing with the Stars” concludes its 23rd season? Our predictions center is back open so you can bet on who will win the Mirror Ball Trophy, who will finish second and who will finish third. Refer to the judges’ scores below before making your picks:
Laurie Hernandez – 38 = 40 = 78
James Hinchcliffe – 37 + 40 = 77
Calvin Johnson – 35 40 = 75
Jana Kramer – 35 + 36 = 71 (ELIMINATED)
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.