‘Dancing with the Stars’ rankings: Jaleel White leads after first live show

Starting strong.

Last week in our pre-show ranking for “Dancing with the Stars,” we thought that Donald Driver was going to have the edge based largely on his NFL past and the past history of athletes on this show. While we still think he’s set to go far, we can’t at this point dismiss the insane success of Jaleel White in the final spot of the premiere.

12. Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani (last week: #12) – The reason why we put her in last place last week was that she seemed to be relatively unknown to many young voters, and she also has a pro that, while likable, does not always have a history of going far.

After watching the clumsy performance from the tennis star this week, we stand behind it. Martina has her work cut out for her this week.

11. Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff (last week: #10) – The biggest issue for Gavin during the premiere was that he seemed more than a little bit awkward on the floor, and since he already has a history performing, we’re not sure how much better he is going to get at something so far out of his element.

10. Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovkiy (last week: #7) – The presence of Maks keeps Melissa around for at least a few weeks. However, we didn’t see too much fun when it comes to the team as a whole, and the dancing was weak compared to some of the favorites.

9. Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya (last week: #11) РHats off to Jack for a pretty strong performance during the premiere. However, we are going to have to see more consistency for him to be a major competitor at the end of the season.

8. Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower (last week: #6) – We didn’t see enough out of Roshon during the season premiere to actually think that the Disney Channel star could really stand out and mobilize a fanbase a la Kyle Massey.

7. Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus (last week: #9) – Gladys had a pretty incredible start to this season, but we wonder whether or not her busy schedule (which includes shooting an acting gig) is going to catch up to her soon.

6. Maria Menounos and Derek Hough (last week: #2) – Derek’s a popular pro, and we do think that Maria is going to become one of the best dancers of the season thanks to her athletic ability.

5. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd (last week: #1) – Donald didn’t necessary get the best scores of the show’s opener, but you can’t discount both his crazy enthusiasm for this show as well as the devoted NFL voting block.

4. Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy (last week: #4) – Controversy about her “Dancing” past aside, Sherri can dance! It also helps that she’s one of the more well-known stars of the season, and she has a great sense of humor to go along with it.

3. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas (last week: #5) – In some ways, Katherine was the biggest surprise of the entire week. Her foxtrot was classy and elegant, and she also has a far more bubbly personality than any of us expected.

The biggest issue with Katherine is no one still has any idea who she is, and she will need to do more to pick up fans before the finale.

2. William Levy and Cheryl Burke (last week: #8) – We knew that William had the potential to be a great dancer, but what we didn’t anticipate was seeing just how insane the entire “Dancing” crowd was going to get for him.

We know that Katherine had a better overall score, but with a largely female audience tuning in to “Dancing” the hunky guys tend to have an advantage.

1. Jaleel White and Kym Johnson (last week: #3) – Not only was Jaleel thoroughly entertaining during his opening foxtrot, but he had more dancing skill than just about anyone else on the night. With a massive fanbase thanks to his Steve Urkell days, we could be seeing much more of the man for a long time.

Who do you think is primed to win the “Dancing” title at the moment? Be sure to share your thoughts with a comment and take the poll below — and also check back Monday for a full look at the performance show.

Photo: ABC

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