Ahead of Dancing With the Stars‘ Season 28 premiere on Sept. 16 (ABC, 8/7c), we’ve set the odds for each of the 12 contestants. Who might win? Who could be eliminated first? Scroll through the gallery below to see our predictions, then tell us your own!
Even if Spicer’s casting weren’t mired in controversy, the ex-White House press secretary would still be a long shot to win: Anyone in the political world, or adjacent to it, has historically bombed on DWTS. (Care for a rewatch of Rick Perry’s paso doble?) But Spicer is already likely to get a chilly reception from the voting audience, after the announcement of his casting prompted swift backlash on social media — and disappointment from Dancing‘s own host, Tom Bergeron. Odds: 50-1
NBA players might be light on their feet on the court… but in the ballroom, pro basketball players have typically struggled. It doesn’t help that Odom, who’s 6’10”, will inevitably be paired with a pint-sized female pro, which poses an extra obstacle. Pitted against this crop of spry contestants, Odom could struggle to find his footing (heh!). Odds: 40-1
Here’s an unfortunate truth of Dancing With the Stars: Celebrities of a certain age tend to go out early in the season, and it’s possible Wilson will meet the same fate. Of course, Wilson was a founding member of the Supremes, so there’s no doubt she’ll have plenty of musicality and rhythm. But amid so many young competitors (who can often handle intricate, stunt-filled choreography), it remains to be seen if Wilson will wow voters enough to stick around. Odds: 35-1
Dancing With the Stars has been kind to pro football players, several of whom have either won or reached the finale in previous seasons. (It’s also rumored that Lewis is paired with Cheryl Burke, who previously won with NFLer Emmitt Smith.) But dancing well is only half the battle. Lewis will also need to connect with viewers at home — and given his complicated personal past, voters may not warm to him as quickly as other contestants. Odds: 30-1
There are whispers that Brinkley is paired with Val Chmerkovskiy, who has quite a few wins and finale appearances under his belt. It helps, too, that Brinkley is a household name, which could help her stay in the competition longer than an unknown might. But Brinkley is facing stiff competition, and she’ll have to be a technically proficient, self-assured dancer from Week 1 if she wants to get near the Mirrorball. Odds: 25-1
UPDATE: Brinkley was forced to drop out of Season 28 after an injury, and daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook will take her place. It’s hard to predict how Brinkley-Cook will fare, considering she’s had less time to rehearse — but I suspect sympathetic voters will keep her in the competition for at least a week or two, regardless of performance.
Though Flannery is on the older side of this season’s age spectrum (which has often resulted in an early finish for contestants in that demographic), let’s not underestimate the power of The Office. If the woman behind Meredith Palmer gets enough votes from Office fans to last a few weeks, she’ll have a real opportunity to take more risks and hone her skills. (Plus, if Flannery’s comedy credits are any indication, she’s not afraid to look a little goofy on the dance floor, which is a huge plus.) Odds: 20-1
The jury’s still out on whether Mitchell will be a formidable dancer. But ’90s nostalgia is very, very real, and the Kenan & Kel/All That alum is sure to get enough votes to linger for a few weeks. Odds: 18-1
JAMES VAN DER BEEK
James Van Der Beek
Ditto what we said for Kel Mitchell… with the added bonus that Van Der Beek (well, a fictional version of him, at least) already has a little Dancing With the Stars experience under his belt. (We miss you, Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23!) Odds: 14-1
Alaina doesn’t have any previous dance experience — but she does have the country vote, which should worry all of her competitors. (Country radio DJ Bobby Bones is the reigning champ, after all.) But even though she hasn’t danced before, Alaina’s career as a singer should bring an innate musicality, and her time on American Idol has prepared her well for the rigor of reality competitions. Odds: 10-1
As a member of Netflix’s Fab Five, Brown is likely to get a whole lotta love from Queer Eye fans (even though he got plenty of flack for defending Sean Spicer’s casting back in August, which could pose a setback). Fanbase aside, it’s anybody’s guess whether Brown will have the coordination and grace to pull off a win — but if his rumored partnership with Jenna Johnson is true, then he’s in excellent hands. Odds: 8-1
It never hurts to have a little experience in an all-girl pop group, which bodes well for former Fifth Harmony member Brooke. (Normani Kordei, who was also in Fifth Harmony, finished in third place when she competed on Season 24, so at least there’s a solid track record!) But Brooke shouldn’t rest on her laurels, either. Ballroom choreography can trip up even the most coordinated performers, and she’ll need to be consistently excellent to take votes away from more widely recognized names. Odds: 4-1
At the very least, recent Bachelorette Brown has a substantial built-in fanbase — and if you don’t think Bachelor Nation can rally around an alum, allow me to remind you that Grocery Store Joe snagged sixth place last year, despite some pitiful showings in the ballroom. But I suspect Brown won’t just get by on being well-liked; she’s also got previous dance experience, having taken lessons in her childhood and teenage years. Assuming she’s got a capable partner who challenges her, Brown could very well be hoisting that Mirrorball at season’s end. (Way better than a rose.) Odds: 2-1
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