Once a twice-a-season staple of ABC’s schedule, Dancing With The Stars returns for their 30th season premiere tonight. With a longer break in between seasons, the casts of recent memory have been filled with a more varied selection of celebs. Before the band starts to play, the paso dobles start to move, and the mirrorball begins to turn, let’s gauge the cast’s chances of grabbing that coveted mirrorball trophy.
Most Likely to Win:
- Suni Lee – I trust Olympians in the ballroom. They are the most reliable “genre” of contestants DWTS has ever seen. Multiple winners, numerous Top 3 finishers, and frequently loved competitors have all called themselves Olympians throughout the years. Suni Lee should follow suit, especially with her gymnastics background. Her gold medal victory in the Tokyo 2020 All-Around competition is a major feat, but I can definitely imagine a mirrorball sitting next to that medal on her awards shelf soon.
- Melanie C – Y’all, you can not bet against a Spice Girl. She’s Sporty Spice, for crying out loud! She’s not only a “Wannabe,” but she wants to make you “Holler!” While pop-star-dance-moves are quite different from ballroom, we know that she's coming into the competition with an understanding of rhythm and technique. On top of that, the Spice Girls fanbase is ravenous and could lead to ample votes, whether or not she’s the number one in judges votes. All I know is I’ll be dialing in for Mel C regardless.
- Cody Rigsby – Of all the men competing this year, Cody Rigsby is far and away the most likely to take the trophy. Peloton instructor extraordinaire, his “celebrity” might come from an interesting route, but his abilities on the dance floor are likely to be dominant. Prior to being a famous fitness instructor, he was a backup dancer for the likes of Katy Perry and other prominent pop icons. He has the moves, he has the fans, and I could definitely see him having the mirrorball by the end of the season.
Least Likely to Win:
- Matt James – This former Bachelor continues the long tradition of the franchise’s biggest names joining the DWTS cast. Here’s the distinct difference: Matt has no personality. Whilst former Bachelor/Bachelorette contestants have shined in the ballroom (Hannah Brown, Melissa Rycroft, etc.), they also had the benefit of being loved by the audience for their relatability and humility. Matt’s season ended with controversy and disdain for his general inability to connect with viewers. He was just…blah. “Blah” is not a good trait for the ballroom, or to wear sequin for that matter.
- Olivia Jade – The daughter of Lori Loughlin and the face of the college admissions scandal, Olivia is most definitely on the show for an apology tour. This is common, as many previous seasons have included celebrities trying to use DWTS as a way to get back in good graces with the public (i.e. Paula Deen). This “brand” of contestants never really succeeds, since they almost never come from a musical or dance background. Add in that Olivia and her parents are still not on the flip side of general animosity directed towards them and I can imagine Olivia receiving a fast exit from the show.
There are some other bright spots (Melora Hardin! Amanda Kloots!) and low spots (Martin Kove? Christine Chiu?) among the announced cast, however, their lack of a clear fanbase going into the season premiere could lead to a bucket of wildcard moments throughout the season. Even so, the clear amount of talent available among this Season 30 cast has me excited for what’s to come and I can’t wait to see who takes home the mirrorball in a few weeks. (I’ve missed Len’s screaming of “SEH-VEN!”)
Marshal Knight is a writer based in Orlando, FL. He is the co-owner of the pop culture blog UMSURE.com and the full owner of a Rosie O’Donnell Barbie. He’d like to thank Sandra Oh.