Checking in with Dancing with the Stars Season 19

Bethany Mota

What I said: She has a huge following on YouTube and will be partnered with Derek Hough, so the deck is stacked in Mota’s favor. Also, as an 18-or-19-year-old, she may have more fearlessness than many of the other competitors.

Here’s my thing with Bethany: I have almost no recollection of anything she’s done on the show, and that includes last night’s episode. She is not a bad dancer, and she has been game for everything that Derek has thrown her way. However, all of the praise and commentary about her routines are about Derek. That Singin’ in the Rain number? That had zero to do with Bethany, but she gets to reap the benefits. I almost wish she were partnered with someone else and that Derek took the season off.

Janel Parrish

What I said: This coupling is the one most likely to generate “are they dating?” rumors, which may give a contestant a slight voting boost in terms of perpetuating story. The network synergy doesn’t hurt either. Expect Janel to stick around for a while.

I haven’t heard any rumor mill stuff about Janel and Val (JaVal?), but that wouldn’t be why people are voting for her. Janel has been fantastic and may be the dark horse of this competition. If she doesn’t make the final three, I would be genuinely surprised.

Alfonso Ribeiro

What I said: Ribeiro will also be paired with So You Think You Can Dance alumna Witney Carson, so their shared dance vocabulary should be vast. As long as he can connect with the audience, I expect Ribeiro to make it to the finals.

Yup. If there were a Survivor-like strategy to DWTS, this pairing is implementing it perfectly. Using the Carlton at just the right time? Check. Dual injuries to create a “rising from the ashes” moment? Check. Announcing a wife’s pregnancy after a clip showing him getting kneed in the jibblies? Check. Fortunately, the surprise talents of Janel and Sadie are keeping a fire under Alfonso, so he won’t be coasting to the finale.

Sadie Robertson

What I said: Robertson will be partnered with Mark Ballas, which means we could be in a redux of the Bristol Palin voting patterns. Also, with this being an election year, politics may play a larger role in how her narrative plays out. I’m guessing her aptitude will be a secondary consideration, which means she may be sticking even if she can’t dance.

I suspect there are some Palin voting patterns in play, but fortunately there is talent backing up those votes. My politics do not line up with Sadie’s or her family’s, and Mark Ballas is not my favorite person, but this pairing works well together. I have a feeling she and Bethany may be battling for third place. Also, whatever accent Mark has developed as a result of working closely with the drawl is nothing short of fascinating.

Antonio Sabato, Jr.

What I said: Body-ody-ody is enough to get past the cannon fodder phase, so Sabato should be able to get to the halfway point if his skills are average. If it turns out he has skillz, Sabato could be a dark horse on the way to the Mirrorball Trophy.

Called it! Frankly, I’m surprised that body-ody-ody got Antonio as far as it did. For a soap actor, I found he had a dearth of charisma and did not seem all that invested in being on the show. Thankfully he was booted last night, but I would have preferred others to have stayed longer in his place.

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About Mike McComb 1072 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: