DwtS 4: Pre-Finals Power Rankings

The Season 4 finale features probably the most evenly matched trio of competitors in the history of Dancing with the Stars. Any of the couples could win — provided that certain conditions are met. I’ve attempted to break down some reasons why each of the couples could win or lose.

I should admit that I’m rooting for a Laila & Maks win. Not only do I think they deserve it, but I think a victory by a woman bodes well for the show’s future. Plus, I just think Laila’s neat.

But just because I want her to win doesn’t mean I think she will. Here’s why:

3. Laila Ali & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Laila & Maks are in the most difficult position going into the finals. The fact that Laila is nearly the same size as Maks puts limitations on the kind of tricks they can do in their freestyle, as do her injured knees. They’ll have to get very creative about crafting a routine that can stand up to the flashy tricks that Apolo and Joey will be able to do with their partners.

But Maks is certainly capable of developing an entertaining program that doesn’t sacrifice skills for stunts. And Laila’s love of hip-hop and campy moves like the butterfly can only help. I wouldn’t be surprised if they revisit some popular dance music from Laila’s (and my) preteen years and bust out some C + C Music Factory or Technotronic for their freestyle.

Also, Laila & Maks were assigned the Paso Doble by the judges — a perfect routine to showcase Laila’s stregth and her femininity. If they nail their Paso and create a fun freestyle, they’ve got an excellent shot.

2. Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson
Joey is so skilled that he’ll be able to execute any moves that Kym asks him to. I won’t be at all surprised if they have the best freestyle of the night (and I’ll be even more impressed if they have the audacity to dance to an ‘N Sync song).

Joey & Kym are the only couple in the finale who’ve ever been in the Bottom Two, which means they may have the weakest fan support. But there’s no reason that a couple of clever and well-executed routines can’t overcome that.

1. Apolo Anton Ohno & Julianne Hough
These two are in the best position — they’re cute, popular, and they have a knack for crafting routines that the audience likes. But I have this feeling that their cuteness may be wearing a little thin. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that people have realized that Julianne is the cute one, and that there’s just not all that much to Apolo.

While I have no doubt that their freestyle will be entertaining and memorable, they could run into trouble with their judge-assigned dance: the Rumba. Apolo’s had problems with the more romantic dances, and if the judges aren’t opposed to awarding scores other than 10s, that could mean trouble.