With its new voting system and elimination rules, “Dancing with the Stars” has revealed the actual bottom two couples every week this season, as opposed to its old ploy of announcing two couples “in jeopardy.” Heading into Monday’s semifinal with the top five, only two pairs have yet to hit the bottom two, Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten, and James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater. Will they avoid it the entire season?
Since it’s a one-night finale on Nov. 25, the semifinal will be the final elimination episode (it could potentially be a double elimination, but all released intel points to a single elimination, yielding a final four). The other three couples have hit the bottom two at least once: Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson in Week 3; Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber in Weeks 6 and 8; and Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko last week in the quarterfinals. Brooke and Farber are the only couple to survive after two appearances in the bottom two; all of the other two-time bottom-dwellers were eliminated in their second appearance, most recently Kate Flannery and Pasha Pashkov.
While we’ll never know the voting figures, it’s probably safe to assume that Brown and Van Der Beek haven’t come close to hitting the bottom. Both are great dancers and favorites to win the whole shebang since the beginning — they’ve been 1-2 in some order in our predictions the whole season — and clearly have fan support since, you know, they haven’t been in the bottom versus someone like Brooke, who couldn’t even evade it with a perfect 30 in Week 8. That’s very telling in and of itself, along with the fact that the judges awarded her two more perfect scores in the quarterfinals — perhaps to give her some protection to ensure that Sean Spicer wouldn’t be able to catch and pass her in votes. Meanwhile, Brown received a 32 for her first dance, the second lowest one in the first round after Spicer’s 26.
SEE ‘Dancing with the Stars’ recap: Sean Spicer is finally eliminated on Boy Band and Girl Group Night
We knew Bachelor Nation would be there for Brown since past “Bachelor/ette” alums have gone pretty far, save for Trista Sutter in the first season. Plus, Brown is one of the most beloved Bachelorettes, and then she got the redemption/sympathy arc on “Dancing” after getting some harsh critiques from the judges in the middle of the season during what she dubbed a “slump.”
Van Der Beek, on the other hand, feels like he’s just been in cruise control since the first week when he wowed with his cha-cha. The “Dawson’s Creek” star has the nostalgia factor and his charming, easygoing family man persona — including announcing his wife’s pregnancy with their sixth child — appeals squarely to the show’s Midwestern mom demographic. Frankly, the only drama with him this season is that he’s been underscored, but again, maybe that’s a symptom of TPTB knowing that he’s good with votes, so the show could afford to not paint him as the runaway favorite.
The semifinalists have all topped the leaderboard at one point in the season and three of them have received perfect scores — Brown and Alaina are still awaiting theirs — so we could have a very tight scoreboard on Monday, meaning it would come down to votes. And we’ve had some shocking semifinal exits before. But if Brown and Van Der Beek were to find themselves in the bottom two against someone else besides each other, the judges would probably save them over the others.
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