Come on, ABC — give us a challenge! After looking at the list of contestants for the 22nd season of Dancing With the Stars, which premieres March 21, the eventual winner seems obvious.
First, a list of the competitors: actresses Jodie Sweetin, Kim Fields and Mischa Barton; Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver; Paige VanZant, UFC fighter; Wanya Morris, Boyz II Men singer; Von Miller, Denver Broncos linebacker; Geraldo Rivera, Fox News contributor; Marla Maples, Donald Trump’s ex; Ginger Zee, Good Morning America weather anchor; Nyle DiMarco, America's Next Top Model winner; and Doug Flutie, former NFL quarterback.
The most significant fact is, for the first time on the show, there are three NFL players. Athletes usually go far on DWTS because they’re used to grueling physical training. So it’s fair to say that Brown, Miller or Flutie are very likely to take the mirrorball trophy. However, Flutie is 53, while Brown and Miller are 27 and 26, respectively. Older contestants typically get voted off early — the nostalgia is exciting until it isn’t anymore.
Miller is coming off a Super Bowl win (specifically as MVP), so he has momentum. Yet that can take you only so far, like Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones after he signed on in spring 2013 just after the Ravens won the Super Bowl. He placed third, losing to country singer Kellie Pickler.
That brings us to the next point: viewers, whose votes are combined with judges’ scores. The Steelers have fans all across the country. That could easily help Brown edge out Miller, which is why he’s our pick.
The final element: the ability to, well, dance. Sometimes that doesn’t play as critical a role as some might think (personality counts for a lot). And when it comes to dancing skills, Brown and Miller are fairly matched on the field, so this may shape up to be one of the closest competitions in years.