Ok, so I had time on my hands and I haven’t written anything for awhile. So why not find something meaningless to overthink? Like Bindi Irwin’s recent DTWS win. It’s not so much about Bindi, but her partner, Derek Hough, who is now a 6-time mirrorball trophy winner. No one else on the show comes close to that tally. He’s talented, for sure, but how has he managed that kind of success while other cast mates are lucky to make it to week two?
After doing some math, there’s no question that the powers that be at DTWS has their favorites and to the favorites go the spoils (with the spoils being the younger, more agile celebs). Over the course of the past ten seasons, there have been twenty-five professional dancers, only thirteen have participated in at least five of the last ten seasons (which was my only requirement to be included in the list below). Everyone is placed in order from the youngest partner age average to the highest:
Mark Ballas: 25 Derek Hough: 28 Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 33 Karina Smirnoff & Peta Murgatroyd: 36 Sharna Burgess: 39 Cheryl Burke: 40 Kym Johnson: 41 Maxim Chmerkovskiy: 45 Emma Slater: 48 Tony Dovolani: 49 Anna Trebunskaya: 51 Tristan MacManus: 59
Fun facts: I was sure Derek Hough would be at the top of this list, but instead, it’s his good friend, Mark. While Derek has danced with older competitors (he won with 50 year old, Jennifer Grey and partnered with 43 year old, Ricki Lake), Mark hasn’t danced with anyone outside of their thirties. Other interesting tidbits: Tristan MacManus’ youngest partner was in their forties. Tony Dovolani is the longest running cast member (appearing in every season except the first). His average is what I would expect everyone to be around, but with a more than two decade difference between him and Ballas and Hough, it’s clear that producers, despite claims to match based on physical traits and compatibility, shield certain dancers from possible early exit by pairing them with likely frontrunners.