The season premiere of Dancing with the Stars 3 is still weeks
away, but it’s never to early to predict a winner. Here’s a list of the
couples competing — and where I’d guess they are likely to finish. From
last place to first, they are…
11. Shanna Moakler and Jesse DeSoto
Strengths: Shanna has been in the press recently (for the breakup of her marriage to Blink 182’s Travis Barker).
Weaknesses: Shanna’s best known for an MTV reality show about her marriage and
the inevitable divorce that followed. Her partner, Jesse, is new to the
show and therefore isn’t bringing his own fan base with him.
How They Could Win: They can’t.
10. Tucker Carlson and Elena Grinenko
Strengths: People will tune in to see if Tucker wears one of his trademark bow ties. Hardcore DWTS fans already know Elena because she’s Tony Dovolani’s current professional partner and used to dance with Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
Weaknesses: Tucker’s conservative-bordering-on-caricature political views make
him a polarizing figure. That doesn’t doom him, since viewers
can’t vote against anyone, but it limits his pool of potential voters.
Plus, there may not be a huge crossover between the MSNBC and Reality TV fans.
How They Could Win: They can’t.
9. Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff
Strengths: It’s novel to put Slater from Saved By the Bell in a dance competition.
Weaknesses: Mario will split the teenage nostalgia vote with Joey Lawrence.
Karina is another newcomer to the show without a preexisting fan base.
How They Could Win: Kelly Kapowski and Mr. Belding start a nationwide grassroots campaign.
8. Jerry Springer and Kym Johnson
Strengths: It’s novel to put Jerry Springer in a dance competition. Kym is a previous winner of the Australian version of Dancing with the Stars.
Weaknesses: Jerry’s not as funny as previous DWTS older guys John O’Hurley and George Hamilton, so he won’t be able to joke his way around his aging joints.
How They Could Win: In a sane world, they can’t.
7. Joey Lawrence and Edyta Sliwinska
Strengths: Joey’s been in showbiz his entire life, so he’s surely had dance
training. Edyta spent last season working around George Hamilton’s
physical limitations, so this season she can go all out.
Weaknesses: The novelty of watching the guy who said, “Whoa!” on Blossom dance won’t keep Joey in the competition for long.
How They Could Win: Joey turns out to be a great dancer and a nice guy, and he takes the Drew Lachey road to the championship.
6. Monique Coleman and Louis van Amstel
Strengths: Monique is on High School Musical, so she can obviously dance. Everyone loves Louis, and he’s a fantastic choreographer.
Weaknesses: Monique has little name recognition with anyone who’s not a teenager.
How They Could Win: Monique dances perfectly and comes across as a real sweetheart in backstage interviews and practice clips.
5. Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke
Strengths: Emmitt’s one of the most well-known stars in the competition. Cheryl
is a star in her own right, and an Emmy-nominated choreographer to boot.
Weaknesses: Like previous DWTS
athletes Evander Holyfield and Jerry Rice, Emmitt may not be a natural
dancer. And he’s stockier than Jerry, so his moves may not look as
elegant or fluid.
How They Could Win: By dominating the popular vote.
4. Willa Ford and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Willa is young, blonde, and beautiful, which worked for Stacy Keibler
last season. Max knows how to create dances to best showcase his
partner, and he’ll really be able to ramp up the sex appeal, now that
he’s not partnered with someone who recently gave birth. Max’s rabid
fans will try to keep him around for longer than his sixth place finish
Weaknesses: Willa’s not one of the biggest stars on the show, and her appearances in Playboy and the Lingerie Bowl may not sit well with some viewers.
How They Could Win:
She dances beautifully and responds gracefully to negative criticism
(unlike Stacy), and Max continues to be the tough guy with a heart of
3. Sara Evans and Tony Dovolani
Sara’s a country music star, and there’s no shortage of rabid country music fans
in the U.S. Tony’s an international ballroom champion, and he’s got a
chip on his shoulder after finishing in third last season.
Weaknesses: Tony built up a lot of ill will by being snotty with the judges last season.
How They Could Win: Sara just may have enough fans to counter those viewers who refuse to vote for Tony.
2. Vivica A. Fox and Nick Kosovich
Vivica is the biggest mainstream star ever to appear on the show, and
she’s so excited to participate that she spilled the beans long before
the cast was officially announced. Nick is a super pro, and the two of
them will look fabulous together.
Weaknesses: Vivica’s extremely popular, but are her fans loyal enough to take her all the way to the top?
How They Could Win: Vivica’s popularity stays high and she dances her heart out.
1. Harry Hamlin and Ashly DelGrosso
Harry spent all last season on the sidelines as Lisa Rinna’s supportive
hubby, earning him plenty of goodwill with the show’s largely female
audience. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also really handsome. Ashly got a
raw deal when she got saddled with Master P as a partner, and there are
a lot of viewers eager to see her dance with a real contender.
We don’t know if Harry can actually dance. Fortunately for Harry,
viewers have the same question about every other contestant, as well.
Of course, these rankings are based on everything but
dancing ability, and then there’s the often unpredictable audience
vote. I’ll rerank the contestants following the first elimination show
— after we’ve actually seen them dance — and we’ll see just how off I
was. Joey Lawrence may dance off with the trophy after all. Whoa,