Last season, Jordan Fisher set a record with nine perfect scores en route to winning “Dancing with the Stars.” That was a regular season, giving him ample time to accrue those 10 paddles. With “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes” lasting just four weeks, the judges have yet to give anyone a perfect score. That will likely change on Monday’s final, but we could have the first “Dancing” winner with no perfect score on his or her resume.
All 25 of the show’s previous champs have earned at least one perfect score. Only Kelly Monaco received one. Lest we forget, Monaco won the first season, which lasted six weeks. She didn’t get her 30 until the finale for her freestyle. That scenario might play out again this season, with one person — probably heavy favorite Adam Rippon — getting a 30. The judges tend to be magnanimous when it comes to freestyles and surely they’d like to hand out a 30 somewhere to show that someone has, in fact, mastered dancing in this short period of time. Sometimes they’re really in a good mood and give 30s for everyone’s freestyle.
The finalists, Rippon, Josh Norman and Tonya Harding, will perform one other dance in addition to their freestyles in the one-hour finale, so each of them could earn two perfect scores. (Finalists usually have three dances over a two-night finale in a regular season.) Three people have won with two 30s, coincidentally all men: Donny Osmond (Season 9), Donald Driver (Season 14) and Rashad Jennings (Season 24). All of them received those marks for two finale dances, including their freestyles.
In a poll earlier this month, 52 percent of readers believed Rippon would get the first perfect score. Surprise, surprise. Norman got 19 percent of the vote, followed by Mirai Nagasu (18 percent) and Harding with 6 percent.
Look, it’s very unlikely “Dancing” will end the season without at least one perfect score. The question is, how many of them will there be? And will all three finalists get one?
“Dancing with the Stars: Athletes” airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.
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