Dancing with the Stars premieres on April 30, and we are expecting a very competitive season. This spring season has been a bit unusual compared to other spring seasons in the past thanks to the reboot of American Idol.
The return of Idol reduced the DWTS season down to four jam-packed weeks of dancing. The spring season also has its first themed show since Season 15’s all-star season. Season 26 is an athletes-only edition.
Since an athlete’s goal is to perform to the best of their abilities and try to win with each outing, it’s natural to expect a competitive season. DWTS also delivers at least one big surprise elimination each season, so we expect the same thing to happen this season.
Here’s what we think will happen this season on DWTS.
It’s pretty much a given that figure skaters Mirai Nagasu and Adam Rippon are already in contention for that Mirrorball Trophy without even stepping out on the dance floor. Their sport requires a high level of performance quality, and they have to remember choreography with each program. Even though they have to adjust from figure skates to ballroom shoes, we are expecting one of them to walk away with the win this season.
The casting of Tonya Harding was a controversial move and even Harding knows it. She’s avoided social media until now. With her new Instagram account and the hopes of creating a new image, will America forgive her? It’s a tough call given the fact that Nancy Kerrigan starred on DWTS just one year ago.
.@Adaripp I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get ‘em!
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 8, 2018
Another brewing controversy is a political one. Rippon has talked openly about disagreeing with Vice President Mike Pence’s stance on LGBTQ rights when he was governor of Indiana. The VP offered to meet with him before the Olympics, but Rippon was focusing on his upcoming competition. Some DWTS fans have shared their displeasure with Rippon’s casting on the DWTS Facebook page.
Beloved cast member
Each season, there’s one contestant who might not be the best dancer, but they have the biggest heart. Their journey wins over the voting public and they stay in the competition far longer than anyone would have imagined. In the past, we have watched Tommy Chong, Bill Engvall and Robert Herjavec have incredible journeys on DWTS. Who will that contestant be in Season 26?
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) April 21, 2018
We are predicting Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be the beloved contestant. His height of 7 feet, 2 inches makes it difficult to compete with his pro partner, Lindsay Arnold, who is 5 feet, 6 inches. However, Arnold knows how to whip her contestants into dance shape and Abdul-Jabbar is a beloved figure in basketball. He’s also a cancer survivor, so his story is already a compelling one.
Another constant to keep your eye on is Olympic luger Chris Mazdzer. He checks off a lot of boxes that the DWTS audience enjoys — he’s charismatic, he’s excited about the dance show, and he’s handsome. It also doesn’t hurt that he and partner Witney Carson have some fun chemistry. Don’t count him out of the finale mix!
— The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) April 13, 2018
We are also expecting a tough road for Notre Dame basketball player Arike Ogunbowale. It’s not because she can’t dance, but because she’s not allowed to promote her participation on the show due to NCAA regulations.
NCAA regulations are incredibly strict and bylaw 12.4.1 states that athletes cannot profit from “the publicity, reputation, fame or personal following that he or she has obtained because of athletics ability.”
One of the big components of DWTS is getting to know the fans on social media, and she cannot use this aspect at all or she risks losing her NCAA scholarship and status on the team. Ogunbowale will not be able to do weekly press after the show like other contestants, nor will she be allowed to go on Good Morning America if she is eliminated according to Dance Network sources.
— Dancing with the Stars (@DancingABC) April 14, 2018
Every season has one shocking elimination that the average viewer wasn’t expecting. So we should expect at least one top talent to go quicker than expected. There are three figure skaters in the competition — and we hate to say it — but they will probably cannibalize each other when it comes to voting. Harding will probably go first. We think only one figure skater will be left standing in the top two contenders — will it be Rippon or Nagasu?
Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday night, April 30 on ABC at 8/7c.