As I mentioned in last week's Power Rankings, Romeo held on in Week 7 only due to Kendra's presence and subsequent elimination. With her out of the way, Romeo was the next weakest link in the DWTS competitive chain.
Something told me, even as I watched the drama of the "in jeopardy" showdown between Romeo and Ralph Macchio, that Romeo's time had come. Ralph's fan base, I'm beginning to think, is much larger than we might have first imagined it to be when the season first began. His combination of personal charm and dancing prowess has obviously won over hundreds of thousands of admirers as the competition has gone on.
That being said, could next week bring an end to Ralph's challenge for the much-prized Mirror Ball trophy?
DWTS POWER RANKING - WEEK EIGHT
#1 - Chelsea Kane
Chelsea Kane finally steals 1st Place from Hines Ward after several weeks of having to look at his back. She would have (should have) been here sooner if not for Hines's huge and imposing fan base. This week the couples again had to dance two dances - one a rehearsed dance and the other an "Instant Dance" where the couples learned of the song they were to perform to only 30 minutes before having to do it. Both of Chelsea's Week 8 dances were again exceptional (though the first, rehearsed dance much more so). Her pro partner, Mark Ballas, must be beside himself at having been paired with such a terrific talent this season. The only possible spoiler in this fairy tale coupling could be Chelsea's fan base, which is probably much smaller at this point than either Hines Ward's or Kirstie Alley's.
#2 - Hines Ward
Hines Ward's smile is his biggest asset in this competition. DWTS judge Bruno Tonioli gave him a "10" for his rehearsed Foxtrot this week, which I thought was a bit of a reach. Regardless, Hines continues with his charmed life in front of the judging panel - all of whom, in my opinion, have consistently over-graded him throughout the course of the season. He is destined for the Final Three - his fan base alone will get him there at this point in the competition.
#3 - Kirstie Alley
Kirstie did a really good job with her Argentine Tango in Week 8. Her follow-up "Instant Dance" (a Salsa) was less inspiring, but still garnered her 25 points. I see next week as a contest between her and Ralph Macchio possibly getting the boot. That being said, though, her loyal fan base could very throw everything completely out of whack.
#4 - Ralph Macchio
Courage, Ralph. Courage. That's just what he showed this week after battling a ruptured cyst behind his knee that made even the simplest of movements very painful for him. Back in Week 6, the dashing Ralph came to his pro partner, Karina Smirnoff's, rescue. In Week 8, Karina returned the favor by quick-coaching Ralph (the couple only had about 9 hours of practice time due to Ralph's injury) to a 25-point Vienna Waltz and a survivable 21 points for their "Instant Dance" Cha-Cha. Both dances brought grimaces of pain from Ralph, but he finished them anyway. He noticeably limped, though, as he stepped over to the judges panel. Ralph's fan base made his last-place finish on Monday night irrelevant as he was able to beat out Romeo on Tuesday's Results show. But with his injury a lingering factor, could next week be Ralph's final curtain call on DWTS?
Well, it's the last spot on the DWTS Power Rankings, and that means it's Romeo's turn to say farewell. In what is looking to be somewhat of a trend on this season's DWTS, Romeo had one of his finest performances on Monday night before being ousted by the voters on Tuesday. The young rapper-movie star looked sharp and really focused in his Tango with pro partner Cheslie Hightower. It was a routine worthy of the triple 9s he received from the judges. (I actually thought he danced better than Hines Ward, who received a 10 to go along with a pair of 9s.)
Romeo was a perfect gentleman in defeat. He thanked everyone, from his fans and his pro partner, Cheslie, to the DWTS judges. He said DWTS helped him overcome his life-long fear of dancing and that he had the best time of his life on the show.
"This show has changed my life forever," the upbeat Romeo said to host Tom Bergeron. "I think I showed kids anything is possible if you try."
Well said, Romeo. And well done!
So now it's down to four couples competing to take home the Mirror Ball trophy. Last week I figured Kirstie would be one the final three "in jeopardy" celebrities, but instead Chelsea once again found herself there - although this time it was only by default: because there were only five couples to begin with, after Kirstie and Hines were declared safe earlier in the show, that left only three couples remaining.
Next week, look for Hines to once again be declared safe (ugh). If the judges scores happen to somewhat even out the fan scoring, then, we should see either Ralph or Kirstie going home. It would be a shame, though, to see Chelsea walk before it comes down to the Final Three.