Who Will Win Season 32 of Dancing With the Stars?

(Disney/Eric McCandless)
(Disney/Eric McCandless)
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Five celebrities competed in the Dancing with the Stars Season 32 semi-finals. Vanderpump Rules star Ariana Madix, singer Jason Mraz, The Bachelorette star Charity Lawson, and actresses Alyson Hannigan and Xochitl Gomez gave it their all in the ballroom.

One competitor was scheduled to be cut before the finals on December 5th. The final two couples, Xochitl and Val Chmerkovskiy, and Ariana and her partner, Pasha Pashkov, were left onstage. Both ladies started to become emotional, waiting to see who would be sent home.

I was a wreck. Then the show pulled a shocker. No one was going home! For the first time, DWTS will have five competitors dancing for the Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy. Judges’ scores and fan votes from the semi-finals will carry over into the finale.

This is a tight race, with each contestant bringing different strengths to the ballroom. Let’s take a look at each of the couples preparing to quickstep to the finish line. Who has the best chance of winning Season 32?

Jason Mraz and Daniella Karagach

(Disney/Eric McCandless)
(Disney/Eric McCandless)

Jason thought that he couldn’t dance, but his partner Daniella Karagach certainly realized his potential. In his first couple of weeks on DWTS, Jason did well.

He grabbed the first 9’s of the season for his entertaining jive during Motown Week. While the judges ribbed him about his facial expressions, I found them endearing.

Over the next few weeks, Jason and Daniella’s scores dropped a bit. So, Jason decided that the following week would be his comeback. And he meant it. Jason earned his first perfect score with his brooding Argentine Tango.

During the semi-finals, Jason’s Viennese Waltz earned him 27 out of 30 points. But his passionate Paso Doble, complete with knee walks, a move that contestants never attempt, nabbed him a perfect score.

Jason’s scores started strong but then slumped as the season progressed. In the finale, each couple will perform a redemption dance and a freestyle. He scored better in the Latin dances, so the choice of a redemption dance could make or break his shot at winning. And if Jason’s freestyle impresses the judges, he could top the leaderboard again.

Xochitl Gomez and Val Chmerkovskiy

(Disney/Eric McCandless)
(Disney/Eric McCandless)

Xochitl, who is 17 years old, has been a star since the first week of the competition. She performs with such joy and enthusiasm it is impossible not to be pulled into her performance.

She had a mishap while dancing a tribute to Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl. Her band hat fell off, which temporarily distracted her. Xochitl was disappointed with her performance.

But during Whitney Houston Week, Xochitl and Val’s tango earned her the first perfect score of the season. And that was with a sprained ankle.

And Xochitl impressed again during the semi-finals. She received perfect scores for both her samba and waltz. Xochitl is dedicated and has an undeniable stage presence. She rarely makes mistakes in her routines. That is a combo that is tough to beat.

Charity Lawson and Artem Chigvintsev

(Disney/Eric McCandless)
(Disney/Eric McCandless)

Charity and her partner, Artem Chigvintsev, have had some stand-out moments this season. During her contemporary routine for Most Memorable Year Week, Charity did a trust fall backward into Artem’s arms from a set of metal bars. Breathtaking!

She earned the first 10’s of the season and 28 out of 30 points from the judges. And she tied Xochitl at the top of the leaderboard with that routine.

But, there have also been several weeks when the judges’ comments didn’t seem to match their scores. US Weekly reported that Artem and Charity became frustrated that they weren’t being given constructive feedback. Charity is very competitive and wants to top the leaderboard every week.

One repeated note from the judges, particularly Carrie Ann Inaba and Derek Hough, was that Charity wasn’t emotionally connecting to the dance and Artem. They also wanted her to be more energetic in her body movements. But precision is Charity’s superpower.

Everything came together in the semi-finals for Charity. Her rumba earned 29 out of 30 points. Afterward, Charity earned her first perfect score with her quickstep. If Charity could relax enough to convey emotion through her dancing, she could win Season 32 of DWTS.

Alyson Hannigan and Sasha Farber

(Disney/Eric McCandless)
(Disney/Eric McCandless)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Alyson Hannigan had no previous dance experience. And she had a rough start in the competition. Her first dance with partner Sasha Farber, a salsa, received just 18 out of 30 points.

But, week after week, Alyson improved. She mostly hovered near the bottom of the leaderboard, but her fans voted her through. It is hard not to admire someone who puts in the work, just trying to learn and get better. According to People, Alyson decided to put on her dancing shoes to inspire her daughters to be fearless.

During the semi-finals, Alyson’s jive received 25 out of 30 points. Her lovely waltz earned 26 out of 30 points. I don’t think that Alyson will be able to beat out her competitors, who are dancing at a higher level. But I am excited that she will be competing in the DWTS finale.

Ariana Madix and Pasha Pashkov

(Disney/Eric McCandless)
(Disney/Eric McCandless)

Ariana came into the show as kind of a dark horse. Expectations weren’t extremely high. She was fresh from Scandoval and dealing with the world knowing that her ex-boyfriend cheated on her with her friend. I love that she performed during week 1 in a red dress similar to her Pump Rules reunion “revenge dress.”

For Motown Week, Ariana performed a light and charming quickstep. She dedicated the dance to her father, who passed away. She received positive comments from the judges and tied for the top of the leaderboard with Jason and Daniella.

From that point on, she continued to improve. She suffered a foot injury and a back injury, but she continued training. Ariana tied for the top spot on the leaderboard in week 7 and week 8. This reality star works hard and has a competitive spirit. Her personality is another asset in her toolbox. And when she dances, she lights up the ballroom.

During the semi-finals, Ariana danced a jive that earned her 28 out of 30 points from the judges. But her graceful foxtrot nabbed Ariana her first perfect score of the season.

Ariana’s scores have been consistent after Motown week, and she has worked hard to implement any feedback from the judges. Her rib and back injury do affect how far her arms stretch. If she can keep going despite her injury, she has a good chance of bringing home the Mirrorball.

Of course, viewer votes count for half of the couple’s score. So, here’s my prediction. I think that the Mirrorball trophy is Xochitl’s to lose. With her high scores, fan base, and performance quality, she has a slight advantage. But in a competition this tight, one tiny misstep could change everything. And leave the door open for Ariana or Charity to win.


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