DwtS 4, Week 3: Power Rankings

Instead of clairvoyants and numerologists, I used YouTube video views and some semi-accurate stereotyping of teenagers to predict which couples are in the most danger on Dancing with the Stars.

9. Leeza Gibbons & Tony Dovolani
Despite tying for first place in the judges’ scores (not that it really meant anything, since the scores were so close), Leeza & Tony still wound up in the Bottom Two alongside Shandi & Brian. Leeza just doesn’t have the fan support to last any longer — even though I don’t think she’s the worst of the celebrity dancers.

8. Clyde Drexler & Elena Grinenko
The judges’ keep asking Clyde to open up and let his personality out, and I just don’t think it’s going to happen. People really want to like him, so he’ll be able to outlast Leeza; after she’s gone, he’ll be next.

7. John Ratzenberger & Edyta Sliwinska
Like the two celebrities that precede him on this list, only one of John & Edyta’s dances has been posted at YouTube. That means that there aren’t enough hardcore Ratzenberger fans (or Drexler or Gibbons fans) out there willing to take the time to create and post videos of their dances.

John is the most recognizable of the worst dancers, but his biggest fans probably skew older — at least they do among my family and friends. I could be wrong, but I suspect his supporters are less likely to vote multiple times via multiple media (see Billy Ray’s entry for further clarification). And, as the pool of eligible candidates shrinks a little further, I doubt Ratzenberger will pick up too many new fans, meaning his percentage of votes could decrease rapidly.

6. Billy Ray Cyrus & Karina Smirnoff
Billy Ray and Clyde are probably the two dancers with the least amount of potential. But thanks to his role on Hannah Montana, Billy Ray is recognizable to the Disney channel demographic — and darn it if those kids don’t love their cell phones and their Internet (and their tiny bottles of colorful booze, and their not-wearing-jackets-in-cold-weather, and…ow, my hip!). They’re much more likely to use all of their available votes; fans of Cliff Clavin may call once and leave it at that.

Still, Billy Ray will probably only be able to outlast the celebrities at the bottom of the heap. The top four or five couples will keep turning out show-stopping performances, and voters will forget about BRC, just like we all did for a decade or so, previously.

5. Heather Mills & Jonathan Roberts
Right now, there is more curiosity surrounding Heather than any other competitor. In the past three weeks, the YouTube video of her first dance has been viewed nearly 100,000 times; the next most popular video is Apolo’s first routine, which has been viewed 21,000 times.

So far, Heather’s been able to deliver performances that boggle the mind, but it’s been based on the difficulty of her gymnastic tricks. Eventually, the effectiveness of those tricks is going to wear off, and she’s going to be judged on the quality of her technique. Right now, her technique isn’t as polished as any of the celebrities ranked ahead of her.

4. Ian Ziering & Cheryl Burke
Ian is full of potential, and he’s got a great work ethic, but he hasn’t given a breakout performance yet. Until he does, he stays ranked at number four.

3. Laila Ali & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Their rule-breaking routine hurt them in the eyes of the judges, and it may have shaken Laila’s trust in Maks. They need to stick with the gimmick-free, quality routines that put them at the front of the pack in the first couple weeks.

2. Apolo Anton Ohno & Julianne Hough
Hopefully, Apolo & Julianne learned the same lessons that Laila & Maks did last week: don’t break the rules or do anything schticky — just dance well. If they do that, they can become the couple to beat.

1. Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson
I know it seems incongruous that Apolo & Julianne were chastised for doing the twist, while Joey & Kym were praised after dancing with a lightsaber, but there’s a reason for it. Joey & Kym needed to acknowledge the fact that they were dancing to music from Star Wars, but also create a Tango that could stand on its own merits — as Cheryl & Drew Lachey did when crafting their "Thriller" Paso Doble in Season 2.

Joey & Kym succeeded, making a routine more memorable than something like Joey Lawrence & Edyta’s Addams Family Tango last season. What would serve Joey & Kym the best this week — and keep them in the top spot — is to perform a straight, solid routine and avoid being seen as a couple that is, as Len Goodman would put it, all sizzle and no steak.