‘DWTS’: Who’s The Frontrunner Now?

Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin of 'DWTS' (Photo: ABC)

Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin of 'DWTS' (Photo: ABC)

It’s been a topsy-turvy season of “Dancing with the Stars” as those in the number one position on the leaderboard keep changing.

Some contestants who were picked as frontrunners before they even hit the dance floor have not quite lived up to the hype, while others who fared well at first have dipped a bit, and others who were dancing under the radar are now in the lead. Yes, we’re talking Kendra Wilkinson, Ralph Macchio, and Petra Nemcova, in that order.

As for first place position, Ralph and Karina Smirnoff took Week 1 with 24 points. Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke, Hines Ward and Kym Johnson, and Romeo and Chelsie Hightower tied for first place in Week 2 with 23 points. And, Petra and Dimitry Chaplin shocked everyone by rising from near the bottom of the pack to score the highest score of the season, a 25, which Hines and Kym also scored in Week 3.

One thing is for sure, this certainly isn’t like the past two seasons, when Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough showed us during the first week that they were in it to win it (and did) or the season prior in which Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger’s first dance solidified her win. This twelfth season might not have had the excitement from the get-go because the lineup wasn’t exactly thrilling, but this rollercoaster ride of a season thus far is making it an exhilarating one.

So who are the frontrunners now? Or is it anyone’s game?

“It’s anyone’s competition to win given,” says Mark Ballas. “It’s so early, we’re only in Week 3. The scores are fluctuating. It’s like radical scoring this season.” Anna Trebunsakaya agrees: “The season, so far, is great because we have some really strong dancers and they have ups and downs, so it’s still everybody’s game.” Dmitry says, “I actually like it because everybody has a better chance of getting it. [It’s all about] who’s going to improve more, who’s going to work more.”

“I think everybody thinks they have a chance and that’s more motivation to keep working hard and come back each week and be stronger. Everybody feels they have that chance and that’s inspiring,” adds Chelsie.

This takes the pressure off a few early frontrunners. Oddsmakers picked Kendra and Louis Van Amstel before the season premiere. “We were picked to win before we even danced and I hate it,” Kendra said a few weeks back. And then after Week 1, all bets were on Ralph and Karina. “Yes, I am excited that we are not the frontrunners anymore,” laughed Karina sarcastically. “No, it’s a little bit more nerve-wracking for us than exciting to not know where we stand.” Ralph adds, “All we can do is put our best out there and hope everybody keeps wrapping their arms around it.”

Romeo tied for first in Week 2, but when Len Goodman said he took a few steps back last week, Romeo told us, “I’m very nervous. It’s so close this year…This is only going to make me better.”

But now the pressure is on others. “I just so can’t believe it. I was like really? Really?” said Petra after her score of 25 last week. When asked if she feels more pressure being on top, the supermodel said, “Yeah, definitely pressure. People have their flavors of the week and we don’t want to be just a flavor, right? We want to be keepers, so we have to work extra hard.”

Hines, who tied for third in Week 1 and tied for first in Weeks 2 and 3, is keeping it cool, though going by scores alone, he could technically be deemed the frontrunner. But, the clear frontrunner? “For me, it’s about being consistent week in and week out. It keeps me humble. I don’t think I’m a dancer or I’m a favorite or whatever. I’m so excited I just did the samba.”

Here are the leaderboard totals for the season so far:

Hines & Kym: 69

Ralph & Karina: 66

Kirstie & Maks: 64

Chris & Cheryl: 63

Chelsea & Mark: 62

Romeo & Chelsie: 62

Petra & Dimitry: 61

Kendra & Louis: 60

Sugar Ray & Anna: 54

Here are the latest Bodog Vegas odds for April 11:

Chelsea & Mark: 9/2
Chris & Cheryl: 17/2
Hines & Kym: 3/1
Kendra & Louis: 10/1
Kirstie & Maks: 11/2
Romeo & Chelsie: 15/2
Petra & Dmitry: 7/1
Ralph & Karina: 3/1
Sugar Ray & Anna: 30/1

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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