Although “High School Musical” alum Corbin Bleu was favored to win the “Dancing with the Stars” fall 2013 edition prior to the Sept. 16 season premiere, a brand new celeb leads the pack entering week two, according to Vegas odds posted by Bovada Sportsbook on Sept. 20.
Usurping Bleu’s spot as the season 17 mirror ball favorite is “Glee” star Amber Riley, whose debut cha cha cha with pro partner Derek Hough earned a near-unheard of trio of nines from judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman. The only other “DWTS” contestant to earn a 27 on opening night was eventual season six winner Kristi Yamaguchi. Riley enters the Sept. 23 show with 2/1 odds of victory.
Bleu and partner Karina Smirnoff, who took the season 13 title with war hero and soap actor J.R. Martinez, are ranked second with 3/1 odds. They too impressed with a debut contemporary routine, snagging a very respectable 24 points for Smirnoff’s first-ever dance in the genre.
The other two pairs who opened the season with contemporary routines, “Saved by the Bell” actress Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and “The Voice” social media correspondent and singer Christina Milian, are rated third and fourth, with respective odds of 11/2 and 7/1. Berkley is paired up with season 16 runner-up Val Chmerkovskiy, while Milian works with two-time pro winner Mark Ballas.
A pair of reality stars sit in the fifth and sixth spots. “Snooki & JWoww” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and partner Sasha Farber, who closed out the premiere with a well-received cha cha cha, hold 15/2 odds of victory, while “The Osbournes” alum Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke, whose freshman effort came in the form of a foxtrot, have 10/1 odds of their own.
Ranked seventh are a pair of actors in “Pretty Little Liars” star Brant Daugherty, and “King of Queens” alum Leah Remini. Both Daugherty and partner Peta Murgatroyd, who opened the show with a cha cha cha, and Remini and all-star season champ Tony Dovolani, whose first dance was a sassy foxtrot, finished week one in the middle of the pack. Both couples have a 14/1 shot at taking the “DWTS” fall 2013 title.
Actress Valerie Harper and Tristan MacManus, who reduced much of the Sept. 16 live audience to tears with a foxtrot, are ranked ninth with 20/1 odds. On their heels with a 33/1 shot of winning the title are NFL star Keyshawn Johnson and Sharna Burgess, who cha cha’d to a disappointing opening mark of 17 points.
The final two contestants are the statistical long shots to win the title with 100/1 odds, but the extensive fan base of one celeb may well allow him to stay beyond his natural show expiration date. Science guy Bill Nye and Tyne Stecklein earned just 14 points for their painfully awkward week one cha cha cha, but Nye is extraordinarily popular so it’s unlikely that they’ll be shown the door for a few more weeks.
Perhaps destined to meet with an early exit is the final contestant, comedian Bill Engvall. Although his freshman foxtrot with partner Emma Slater bested the efforts of both Nye and Johnson, he may not have the fan base to carry him far into the “DWTS” competition.
The “Dancing with the Stars” fall 2013 season continues Sept. 23 with a second week of performances and the first elimination of season 17.