‘Dancing with the Stars’: The 1 Athlete Who Has the Best Chance At Winning Season 26

Season 26 of Dancing with the Stars kicked off on Monday, April 30, 2018, with a cast of 10 athletes all competing for the Mirrorball trophy. This season is quite different from past seasons though as this time the athletes only have four weeks to impress the judges and win over the viewers at home.

Following the first two nights of competition, some stars emerged as the favorites to win it all but that hasn’t been without controversy. Here’s more on the athlete causing a social media firestorm and who has been sent home so far in the double eliminations.

Baseball star sent packing in a double elimination

Johnny Damon and Emma Slater

He had fun, but didn’t succeed in the end. | Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Double eliminations are a regular thing this season since the competition only spans four weeks. One of the couples who didn’t survive Week 1 were former MLB centerfielder Johnny Damon and his pro partner, Emma Slater.

The pair danced the foxtrot. Unfortunately, Damon didn’t have the best hold, footwork, and overall moves to wow the judges. Therefore, he only scored an 18 out of a possible 30 points, but he did look like he had a lot of fun with the routine.

Next: This Olympic snowboarder was sent home too. 

Jamie Anderson was also eliminated in Week 1

Jamie Anderson

She struggled a bit during the competition. | Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Like Damon, snowboarder Jamie Anderson was also sent packing after just one dance. Anderson admitted that her nerves were becoming a factor during rehearsals to learn the Viennese Waltz. It showed when she took the ballroom floor with her pro partner, Artem Chigvinstev.

At one point, the Olympic medalist lost her footing. She then looked to be rushing through the dance, which was the reason the judges only gave her a score of 19 out of a possible 30.

Next: This college basketball star and this NBA legend were sent home in Week 2. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Arike Ogunbowale eliminated

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is standing on stage smiling.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Notre Dame women’s basketball star Arike Ogunbowale were each sent home in Week 2 of the competition.

Abdul-Jabbar and his partner Lindsay Arnold danced a salsa, however, the 71-year-old only received a score of 26 out of a possible 40 from the judges. As for Ogunbowale, she and pro partner Gleb Savchenko suffered the same fate of being eliminated after the judges gave them 33 points out of a possible 40 for their foxtrot.

Next: The athlete pegged as the early favorite didn’t top the leaderboard. 

What happened to the early favorite?

Jennie Finch Daigle and Keo Motsepe

She’s a strong contender, but not at the top just yet. | Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Before the season even started, former softball player Jennie Finch was called the “the one to beat.”

She and her pro partner, Keo Motsepe, performed a foxtrot in Week 1 but because Finch-Daigle looked like a deer in headlights she didn’t score higher than 21 out of 30. In Week 2, the pair performed a cha-cha and only received a 26 out of a possible 40. However, she could still be a strong contender this season and if she learns to trust her partner more.

Next: These couples were atop the leaderboard after Week 1, but fell in Week 2.

How did these couples fair in Week 2?

Josh Norman and Sharna Burgess

They pulled off an excellent routine. | Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

NFL cornerback Josh Norman and Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon tied for the highest scores of the first night of competition with a 24 out of 30.

Norman and his pro partner, Sharna Burgess, kicked off Week 1 with a sexy and crowd-pleasing cha cha. Their chemistry, plus Norman’s natural rhythm, had everyone so excited to see more dances from them this season. In Week 2, however, they danced the paso doble but didn’t score as high as most of their fellow contestants.

Rippon and pro dancer Jenna Johnson also did a Cha Cha in Week 1 and did not disappoint. After Rippon  pulled off the routine without a hitch and the judges rewarded him with a deserving score. Carrie Ann Inaba even said that he was “born to do this show” and she may be onto something since in Week 2 he scored 10s for his quickstep.

Next: But who will win the Mirrorball trophy?

Who’s the favorite to win the season?

Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson

They have a strong chance of winning due to their similar sports. | Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Norman and Rippon were standouts after Week 1 as were figure skaters Mirai Nagasu and Tonya Harding and in Week 2, Rippon and Nagasu really shined earning the first 10s of the season. So, who’s the favorite to win it all?

Well, even though Norman should shine like many past football players, Olympians seem to have a slight edge over other athletes who compete on the show. When it comes to figure skaters in particular, their profession is pretty close to ballroom dancing as they are used to competing against others, learning different choreography, and comfortable sporting fancy outfits. Therefore, Nagasu and Rippon will likely be there until the end.

As for Harding, no matter how well she does, there may be some people at home who won’t vote for her because of who she is and the role they believe she may played in the 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan.

Next: Not everyone has a positive opinion about this athlete. 

The controversy

Tonya Harding (R) and Sasha Farber

She’s trying to fix her reputation. | Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

While Harding has been on sort of a redemption tour since the release of her biopic I, Tonya in 2017, not everyone is willing to accept her. Some fans are even boycotting the show because she’s on it.

Twitter lit up during the premiere with everyone voicing their opinions about if they like or hate her being on this season. But DWTS has a history of casting controversial stars poised to make a comeback for ratings — think Ryan Lochte after his Rio robbery lie and Paula Dean after her racist comments made headlines.

Next: What’s next?

What can we expect in the coming weeks?

Dancing With the Stars season finale

It’s going to be an exciting competition for sure. | Angela Weiss/Getty Images for Caruso Affiliated

After the first two weeks, it’s clear that we can expect some pretty stiff competition all around this season.

Plus, given how well athletes usually do on the show and how well some of them have already done, Season 26 is shaping up to be one of those seasons where the viewers and judges have more than one favorite. It’s a shame there’s only one Mirrorball trophy to give away.

Follow Michelle Kapusta on Twitter @philamichelle.

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