‘Dancing With The Stars’ Finale: Laurie Hernandez No Longer Frontrunner, James Hinchcliffe Headed For A Mirrorball Trophy Win?

The two-night Dancing with the Stars finale begins Monday at 8 p.m. on ABC, and fans are anxious to find out who will win the Season 23 Mirrorball trophy. Laurie Hernandez has been the one to beat all season but fans may be in for a big surprise when host Tom Bergeron announces the winner on Tuesday night.

While viewers wait for the DWTS finale to get underway on Monday night, here’s the scoop as to why Laurie and Val may not pull off a win this season.

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During last week’s semi-finals, Terra Jole and Sasha Farber were eliminated, leaving four couples who will be dancing in this week’s finals — James Hinchcliffe and Sharna, Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko, and Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold. Although all four couples have consistently impressed the judges this season, it appears that the competition is between Laurie and James.

Las Vegas oddsmaker Sports Bovada predicted early in the season that Laurie Hernandez would be crowned the winner, but race car driver James Hinchcliffe has really stepped up his game this season and now there’s a buzz among fans that he may cross the finish line with the Mirrorball trophy.

TV Guide predicts that there’s a “possible upset in the making” and James Hinchliffe is the “one with a realistic chance to defeat Laurie.”

“He has that lethal combination of unteachable skills: star power and innate grace,” TV Guide‘s Tim Surette writes.

“He’s the only one with a realistic chance to defeat Laurie, but it’s going to take a perfect final to do that. In an ideal world, there’s a tie and he and Laurie share the victory.”

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The Baltimore Sun reports that judge Julianne Hough told James that he was the “best male celebrity to ever dance on the show” after a recent performance. That’s a big deal considering there have been some very talented dancers on previous seasons, but James proved her words right week after week.

Even during the two weeks that his partner, Sharna Burgess, was out due to a knee injury, James showed the judges that he is a skilled dancer no matter who he performs with.

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The competition is so close this season that it may come down to the all-important votes from fans to determine this season’s winner. (Cast your vote in our Dancing with the Stars poll below!)

According to ABC, one couple will be eliminated on Monday night, leaving three couples who will compete on Tuesday night’s season finale. If the chatter about Laurie and James being the top two contenders comes true, will Jana or Calvin head to the finale?

Last week, Calvin and Lindsay’s scores put them at the bottom of the leaderboard, just two points below Jana and Gleb. Monday night’s elimination will be based on a combination of judges scores from last week’s semi-finals and votes from viewers.

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Both couples are banking on fans’ votes to save them from elimination, and it won’t be long before we find out if #TeamLindsatron or #TeamGlamer they will compete on Tuesday night’s finale.

Of course, that’s assuming that both Laurie Hernandez and James Hinchcliffe are safe on Monday night — it would certainly be a shocker if one of the two top ranking couples is eliminated on Monday night.

Although the buzz certainly points to Laurie or James taking home the Mirrorball trophy on Tuesday night, perhaps Jana Kramer said it best in her People blog — “it’s anyone’s game.”

“In the very beginning, everyone was saying that Laurie Hernandez was the one to beat,” Jana writes.

“And she’s an amazing gymnast and athlete and dancer — and we’ve become really close friends — but the leaderboard has changed every week and I really feel like any of us who are left could take home the mirrorball trophy. It’s anyone’s game.”

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Watch the Dancing with the Stars Season 23 two-night finale on Monday, November 21 at 8 p.m. ET and Tuesday, November 22 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

[Featured Image by Craig Sjodin/ ABC Television Network]