Warning! The following contains spoilers for Dancing with the Stars’ “Week 9 Semi-Finals.” Read at your own risk!
Dancing with the Stars Season 30 solidified its lineup for the finals, and I think it’s fair to say no one could’ve predicted ahead of the episode who would continue on to next week. Fan voting has been surprising the entire season, and that trend continued when the final couples moving on were announced. In short, I think voters just helped set themselves up for a disappointing finale, mainly because of who they picked to be there.
As expected, JoJo Siwa and Jenna Johnson advanced, but so did Cody Rigsby and Cheryl Burke, as well as Iman Shumpert and Daniella Karagach. Amanda Kloots and Alan Bersten will join them, but only after narrowly staving off elimination. Once again, one of Dancing with the Stars’ highest-scoring couples nearly went home, which is bonkers to me considering Kloots and Bersten are right behind Siwa and Johnson in their average score this season. Of course, barely surviving was a better fate than Melora Hardin and Suni Lee, both of whom outperformed Iman Shumpert and Rigsby all season long and were sent home.
So, what we have is a Season 30 finale that has two of the season’s biggest competitors and also two of the competitors with consistently low scores, all competing for the same prize. Some call that democracy at work. I call it the makings of a finale that can end disappointingly in a number of ways.
I think the most predictable scenario here is that JoJo Siwa and Jenna Johnson continue their dominant run and waltz their way to that trophy without much opposition on finale night. Amanda Kloots and Alan Bersten are good, but even they’ve fallen short to the slew of perfect performances Siwa and Johnson have given week in and out. As for the other two, they’ve had their moments, but realistically, neither team really stands a chance at outperforming Siwa and Johnson unless something goes catastrophically wrong.
And, this is where Dancing with the Stars’ Season 30 finale can be really disappointing. In the event that something catastrophic happens, it’s not like the remaining options are the couples that were right behind JoJo Siwa and Jenna Johnson every step of the way. In fact, Cody Rigsby and Cheryl Burke were out due to illness a solid chunk of the early competition and have since failed to impress with the lowest scores of any couple in Week 9. Yet, they stand just as good a chance of winning as everyone else remaining, which, to me, feels wrong.
I’m also absolutely thrilled to see Iman Shumpert and Daniella Karagach in the finale, but truthfully, even as my fan favorites, I’d made my peace that it was their time to say goodbye because Melora Hardin and Suni Lee really brought their best stuff tonight. Unfortunately, the fans had their chance to vote and evidently went for fandom over fantastic performances, from how I see it. It’s a freedom I’ll celebrate, but for those upset next week if the finale plays out in a disappointing way, the blame is with the fans here.
Dancing with the Stars’ Season 30 finale airs over at ABC on Monday, November 22 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Tune in to see who will win this season’s Mirror Ball trophy and for all the additional fun to be had.