‘Dancing with the Stars’ pre-show rankings: Donald Driver current favorite

He’s #1 for now.

While it’s true that this season of “Dancing with the Stars” has yet to even begin, that doesn’t mean that we can’t start looking already at how some of these celebrities are going to fare. With that in mind, we’re kicking off our weekly contestant rankings for the season!

As you’ll notice throughout the next couple of months, our rankings are not going to simply be based on scores — we are also going to take into effect popularity along with the past history of similar contestants.

12. Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani – Tony does not have the same sort of fan base as some of the other pros, and it doesn’t help that most of America doesn’t know who his celebrity is. Even when Tony has stars who sore well (see Audrina Patridge or Chynna Phillips), they still go home earlier than expected.

11. Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya – Despite the grandiosity of Anna’s last name, there really just isn’t anything exciting about this team. Wagner hasn’t been in the spotlight for years, and he’s also one of the older stars.

10. Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff – Gavin may be current when it comes to the music industry, but we’re not sure how many of his fans also will end up watching this show. In addition, he and Cheryl are going to be traveling due to his tour, and that means less rehearsal time.

9. Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus – Gladys is a legend, and that in itself (like with Wayne Newton) should get her a few weeks into the competition. The problem after that? Seeing if her performances live up to her name.

Gladys does have going for her a history in performing, but doing dance moves is different than belting out some high notes.

8. William Levy and Cheryl Burke – If William gets a few weeks into the competition, he could be incredibly dangerous and even a threat to win. The problem is that he’s a toss-up since no one really knows him, even if he is young and fit.

Melissa’s got a good partner.

7. Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy – The presence of Maks alone helps out these two, but there are some problems here in that Melissa is not as high-profile a star as Kirstie Alley and lacks the athleticism of Maks’ other recent success in Hope Solo.

6. Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower – Like William, Roshon is a toss-up since he’s not a big name. However, we do expect him to do fairly well in this competition thanks to his youth, and the fact that he stars on a show in “Shake It Up” that incorporates a good bit of dance into what they do.

5. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas – While Mark may hate that there are already romance rumors here, it really only helps these two. Opera singer Katherine isn’t well-known in America, and this gets her some attention.

Plus, last season with Kristin Cavallari seemed to be the exception rather than the rule with Mark.

4. Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy – We fully expect Sherri to bring the hilarity to the show, and she may bring out a funnier side to Val than what we saw last time with Elisabetta Canalis.

Even if Sherri turns out to be a bad dancer, her platform on “The View” should help her last for a good while.

3. Jaleel White and Kym Johnson – How can you root against Steve Urkel? Jaleel does have quite an opportunity to go pretty far in this competition, as he’s someone who America knows and loves already.

The other thing working for him? Jaleel is working with a partner in Kym Johnson, who has brought the most out of entertainers (see Joey Fatone and Donny Osmond) in the past.

She’s got a good chance.

2. Maria Menounos and Derek Hough – Maria is paired with a great celebrity in Derek, who always seems to get far in the competition no matter who he is paired with. It also helps that our star here is a familiar TV host who is young, and also can get pointers from her “Extra” partner-in-crime in Mario Lopez.

1. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd – With this season being full of some lesser “stars” than past versions, it’s hard to really rank anyone lower than Donald based on history alone. NFL players tend to do very well on this show, and two past wide receivers in Jerry Rice and Hines Ward ended up making it to the finale. Even Chad Ochocinco, who did not win, still made it pretty far in the competition.

Based on what we are hearing, Donald has been rehearsing as much as anyone, and he also is extremely competitive.

Who do you think is the favorite at the moment? Be sure and take our poll below and share your thoughts with a comment!

Photo: ABC

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