The finale of Dancing with the Stars season 22 is just one week away, and two couples won’t get to perform a Freestyle routine. That’s right, it’s ANOTHER double elimination, which means anything can happen.

So far, the leaderboard has controlled the results. Six out of the seven eliminated couples were in last place, and the only exception was second-to-last, one point above the bottom. If that pattern holds, then one of the early frontrunners could easily make a surprise exit.

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59: Ginger Zee
58: Nyle DiMarco
57: Paige VanZant
56: Antonio Brown
54: Wanya Morris

With a close leaderboard, no one is really safe this week. So let’s look at each of the five couples remaining.

Ginger Zee: She’s at the top of the leaderboard, something that hasn’t happened since week 4. But her Argentine Tango didn’t quite have enough passion for me and her team-up dance was silly. There seem to be some fans who don’t like her, but I’m not sure that’s enough to overcome all of her assets.

Nyle DiMarco: If I had to bet all of my money on one star making the finale, it would be Nyle. He now has the highest overall average score from the judges (though Paige and Wanya are virtually tied with him) and the silent portion of his individual dance was a great way to highlight how impressive it is that he’s so good even though he’s deaf. Out of all the stars who are left, I think he has the largest amount of support because he’s inspirational.

Paige VanZant: I’m starting to think that Paige is destined to finish the season in second place. She’s consistently good, but she hasn’t been at the top of the leaderboard in the past four weeks. I get the sense that people like her, but they’re not passionate about her. She hasn’t really had a stunning, game-changing, landmark moment, but she’s probably done enough for Mark Ballas to make his ninth finale (second only to Derek Hough, who’s been in 11 finales).

Antonio Brown: He’s definitely the dark horse of the season, an unlikely semifinalist who isn’t even at the bottom of the leaderboard. Antonio has the lowest overall scores out of the five remaining stars, but he has a strong work ethic and NFL players tend to do very well. If he reaches the finale, a lot of credit should go to his pro partner Sharna Burgess. This would be her third consecutive appearance in the finale (she also did it with Nick Carter and Noah Galloway). Derek Hough is the only other pro to ever appear in three straight finales (in fact, he just did it seven seasons in a row, from Shawn Johnson on All-Stars to Bindi Irwin last season).

Wanya Morris: For most of the season, Wanya had the best scores from the judges. But he’s struggled in the last two weeks and if DWTS is all about the story arc, he’s going in the wrong direction. The fact that he’s last on the leaderboard means he should be going home, but will people overlook his success in early weeks?


With two out of five couples going home anything is possible, but I’m sticking with the leaderboard and predicting that Wanya and Lindsay and Antonio and Sharna will be eliminated. I find it weird that the show is switching things up with another double elimination. I think it’s doubtful Antonio will sneak int the Top 3 and I don’t see Wanya overcoming being at the bottom. If Ginger somehow tumbled from first to eliminated, I’d be fine with that. But I think Nyle and Paige have definitely earned their spots in the Final 3.

The real mystery now is what happens with finale week. Will one couple from the Final 3 be eliminated on the Monday show, leaving us with just two couples going into Tuesday’s finale? Or will the Semifinal scores and votes be added to those from the Finale to determine the winner?

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)
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