With James Van Der Beek‘s shocking elimination in the semifinal, is “Dancing with the Stars” Hannah Brown‘s to lose? The “Bachelorette” star is the odds-on favorite in our predictions, but after last season, and to borrow a phrase from another reality show, we can expect the unexpected.
The final four will perform two routines on Monday’s finale, a redo of their favorite dance and the all-important freestyle. After getting the final say in the eliminations all season, the judges will not be picking the winner; that will be determined through combined scores and votes like always.
Let’s break down the final four.
Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko
For her: Um, the country vote and Bobby Bones fans. In terms of the entire cast, Alaina is one of the better dancers this season, but of the final four, she’s arguably the weakest one. But she’s definitely got the fan support as she’s only hit the bottom two once, in Week 9, and that was when she had the second lowest score after Sean Spicer, which was still 20 points higher than his.
Needs to work on: This is less to do with Alaina and more with Savchenko, who needs to give her better choreography. Alaina also feels like she’s improved the least of the top contenders, but there’s only so much you could cram in before Monday’s finale.
Why she might win: She’s got Bones shilling for her. If his following can come through for him, they could come through for her. But also, will his fans be as invested in her as they were in him?
SEE Yes, the ‘Dancing with the Stars’ judges screwed up axing James Van Der Beek — and this is probably why they did it
Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber
For her: The judges. Brooke is a great dancer who’s put in some great routines — and with Van Der Beek gone, she’s the best all-around dancer left — but the judges have been overscoring her and have gone easier on her than they have on others (to be clear, this is no fault of Brooke’s). And you know, they just saved her over Van Der Beek. If there’s not one of those classic finale leaderboard ties, you can almost guarantee she’ll have the highest score one way or another.
Needs to work on: As far as her routines, they can still use more polish — her Charleston was sloppy in spots despite that perfect 30 — and in terms of votes, well, she needs them bad. For whatever reason, she’s not connecting with viewers, hence her three stints in the bottom two while boasting some high scores. The judges sending her to the finale could hurt more than help her if fans feel the judges are disregarding them by saving someone, to put it bluntly, they don’t want there.
Why she might win: Brooke’s lovely gesture to offer her spot to Van Der Beek might win over more hearts, but will that translate into enough votes? She’ll definitely have the scores.
SEE ‘Dancing with the Stars’ recap: James Van Der Beek eliminated in semifinal
Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten
For her: Bachelor Nation, redemption narrative, oh, and she can dance too. The former Bachelorette is the only contestant this season who has not landed in the bottom two. Her “journey” is also on the upswing after her midseason self-described “slump,” getting more praise from the judges the past few weeks and coming to an understanding with Carrie Ann Inaba last week after that rehearsal drama.
Needs to work on: Losing herself in the dance and just having fun. Though she’s received better remarks recently, Inaba’s critique that Brown feels disconnected from her routines still ring somewhat true. Her characterizations and performance factor still aren’t completely there, making some of her dances feel inhibited, and her beauty pageant smile remains a distraction at times (she’s lucky her semifinal rumba was to a faster-paced song that the smile was tolerable). The good news for her is their freestyle is probably going to be energetic, so the smile won’t be an issue.
Why she might win: She checks all the boxes: fan support — again, she’s never been in the bottom two — great dancer, has a sympathetic arc and is a well-liked personality. From the beginning, it felt like it would come down to her and Van Der Beek, so his absence is a win for her.
SEE Witney Carson is one step closer to joining the Multiple Wins Club on ‘Dancing with the Stars’
Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson
For him: Even if he doesn’t win the whole thing, the “All That” alum is a shoo-in for Most Improved Dancer. Mitchell was never horrible to begin with — all the parts, including the lovable personality, were there in the beginning — but like so many underdogs before him, he put in the work and has just gotten better every week, peaking at the absolute best time right now.
Needs to work on: Refinement. Mitchell is not the best technical dancer remaining, but cleaning up some loose ends can go a long way.
Why he might win: His growth arc is the epitome of the show at its purest form. After last year’s result, die-hard fans might gravitate toward someone who actually improved throughout the season to become one of the best dancers left. Mitchell hasn’t dropped back into the bottom two since his lone appearance in Week 3, after which he took it up a notch, so you can infer that fans are responding to him. Plus, Carson is the most experienced pro in the finale, with a Season 19 win and two other finale appearances, while the other pros are all in their second finales and haven’t won.
PREDICT Who will win ‘Dancing with the Stars’?
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