A multi-part series in which we look at the remaining Dancing with the Stars finalists as the season finale approaches.
Week 3’s “fastest Quickstep ever”:
Week 5’s emotional Foxtrot honoring his sister:
Week 9’s redemption Waltz:
Lowlight: Week 7’s hot mess of a Cha-Cha, which featured more gyrating than dancing
Corbin started the season as one of the frontrunners, always in first or second place for the night. Karina finally had a partner she could work with, so she threw her most ambitious routines at Corbin, and Corbin found himself up to the task. She even allowed him to have some fun, with a jive paying homage to High School Musical (that went over really well) and a Viennese Waltz paying homage to Game of Thrones (that did not go over well). He seemed unstoppable for the first half of the season.
Everything was fine and dandy for Corbin until Week 9, when he had a jazz routine to do. Corbin knew more about jazz and tap than Karina, so he was the one who choreographed the routine and helped Karina out. Audiences can generally forgive celebrities prior dance experience. But when there is a role reversal and the celebrity effortlessly performs a dance style he’s trained in, only to get a perfect 30 and raves about it being the “best routine ever” (according to Carrie Ann), resentment builds. Sure enough, the last two weeks has seen a huge upswing in online comments about Corbin being a ringer and having an unfair advantage. This may cost him the vote needed to win next week (as it did for Mel B and Mya, both runners up).
And while it’s not Corbin’s fault, he just doesn’t have much going on to earn the audience’s sympathy. His backstory in Week 10 was about him having to choose between going to Stanford and starring in High School Musical – not something audiences will sympathize with, especially when all the other contestants came forth with sob stories about hardships. Corbin is also the only uninjured contestant left, meaning he’s held to a higher standard.
The pro: Karina is a shrewd strategist, and when given an awesome dancer like Corbin to work with, she will have some fantastic routines in the finals. And it should be noted that the last time she faced both Cheryl and Derek in the finals (Season 13), she walked away with the MIrrorball Trophy.
Biggest advantages: Corbin is the only classically attractive guy left in the competition (Carrie Ann referred to his body as a “wonderland”). He will get a lot of women voting for him. And if comparing his fanbase with Amber’s, HSM was seen by many more people than Glee (though it’s unclear how much overlap there is between those two fanbases and DwtS viewers). Corbin is also undisputedly the best dancer left, though whether that’s an advantage or disadvantage is debatable.
Notable precedents: Obviously HSM co-star Monqiue Coleman in Season 4, who got eliminated in the semifinals. Other fellow Disney stars to make the finals are Zendaya (runner up last season), Chelsea Kane (third place in Season 12), and Kyle Massey (runner up in Season 11). No Disney Channel star has won yet.
Odds of winning: Not too high because he doesn’t have the audience’s sympathy. But if Karina choreographs routines that are stunning enough, he might still pull through. I give him a 20% chance at victory, but expect him to land in second place.