Laney’s Look: Halfway Through Season 22 And The Search Is On For A Front Runner

Jodie Sweetin and Keo Motsepe - "Dancing With The Stars" Season 22 Partners
Jodie Sweetin and Keo Motsepe - "Dancing With The Stars" Season 22 Partners

We’ve made it through week five of the 22nd season of “Dancing With The Stars”. Three celebrities have made exited the competition (Geraldo Rivera: Week 2, Mischa Barton: Week 3, Marla Maples: Week 4), but we still have not seen a consistent front runner in the competition.

The lack of a consistent front runner in some ways makes this season interesting. Each week you don’t know who is going to surprise you with an impressive performance. If you miss one performance, you could be missing the best one of the night. At the same time, it leaves a lot up in the air as to who will get eliminated each week. Fan votes are certainly essential to all contestants this season.

The stiff competition also made it hard for me to predict which celebrities I believe will make it to the final three. I have finally made my decision, but it’s shaky – I’ve got plenty of doubts.

After five weeks of competition, here are my thoughts of each of the remaining celebrities as well as their average scores.

Antonio Brown: One of three football players this season, Antonio’s track record is far from consistent. One week he is up, the next week he is down. In Week 4 he saw some of his highest scores of the competition, yet this week he saw some of his lowest. A large fan base is definitely beneficial for Antonio, but I don’t think they will be able to carry him to the finals. Average Score: 23

Nyle DiMarco: Nyle has been one of the biggest surprises of the season for me. Week after week he shows that anything is possible by showing remarkable musicality, not to mention skill, despite being completely deaf. Learning how he works, how his partner (Peta Murgatroyd) directs him, has left me in awe. Not only has he surprised America, he’s actually one of the most consistent contestants, earning the highest score three out of five weeks. Average Score: 27.8

Kim Fields: Spunk and grace… Week after week, Kim is giving us exactly what I expected. Her vibrant personality shows through, even though there have been a few mishaps along the way. Kim has never fallen to the bottom of the leader board, but she’s also never topped it. Her spot seems to be in the middle of the pack, which leads me to believe in a few more weeks we’ll be bidding her farewell. Average Score: 24.2

Doug Flutie: Out of the remaining celebrities, Doug has the lowest average score, however, he’s only been at the bottom of the leader board once. That was during Disney Week in week 4. I don’t doubt that Doug has a lot of fan support, as well as support from the football community in general. (I knew anytime I mention him being eliminated, my mom gives me a dirty look.) Despite his determination and drive, I don’t believe we’re going to see him improve much. Average Score: 21.4

Von Miller: You could say that Von is more consistent than his counterpart, Antonio. Each week he tends to fall in the middle of the pack, never coming out on top, but also never falling to the bottom.   His highest scores came in the form of a waltz as Prince Charming, something most of us probably didn’t expect. Given his track record, I don’t see Von surviving to the finals unless it is simply from fan votes. Average Score: 24.4

Wanya Morris: In weeks 1 and 2, Wanya topped the leaderboard (with a little company). Since then he has scored well but has yet to retain the lead. Personally, I’m a fan of Wanya. I wasn’t sure I would be, but his passion has surprised me. He’s turned in some really solid performances so far, and I’m sure we’re going to see him back at the top of the leaderboard in the coming weeks. Average Score: 27.2

Jodie Sweetin: Jodie, like Von, has found herself in the middle of the pack most weeks – never topping or trailing on the leader board. I like Jodie, and I think she has a lot of talent. One of the biggest problems I’m seeing is that she gets into her head too much. Monday night the judges asked her what she did differently coming into this week. Her response? “I had fun! It’s just a dance!” If she carries that mentality forward, I think she could move out of the middle. Average Score: 25.7

Paige VanZant: I think Paige is the contestant that has surprised me the most, aside from Nyle. I truthfully didn’t expect much from her and counted on her being one of the early eliminations. My logic was that she would be stiff and uncomfortable. While she has voiced that she’s uncomfortable and learning to trust in this process, she hasn’t shown it on the dance floor. I actually find myself looking forward to her performances each week. Average Score: 27

Ginger Zee: Let me just start by saying that I adore Ginger. She’s just like a ray of sunshine, and you can see exactly how much she loves this competition. She gives each performance her all. You can see with each performance that she’s having fun. That fact, along with solid scores, will help her stay in the competition. I also believe that she has a strong fan base from Good Morning America. That doesn’t hurt either. Average Score: 26.6

It took a few weeks to come up with my final three prediction, but I’ve finally decided on Nyle, Wanya, and Ginger. I’ll admit, though, that Paige is a dark horse that could take us by surprise and swoop in.

As to who will be the next celebrity to depart the ballroom, that is a hard call as well. I’m currently bouncing between Doug and Jodie.

Jodie Sweetin - "Dancing With The Stars" Season 22 Celebrity Dancer
Jodie Sweetin – “Dancing With The Stars” Season 22 Celebrity Dancer

Both have seen themselves in jeopardy already. Personally, I don’t want to see Jodie leave. I think she has a lot more to give in this competition, but if I’m going to be honest, I think there is a good chance that it will be her that leaves Monday night. I think Doug’s fan base might be a little stronger than hers is and will prevail.

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