April 30, 2013 at 10:01 AM ET
There are seven remaining pairs on "Dancing With the Stars" and only three more elimination nights before the finals. So, barring any surprise double eliminations, there will be four couples -- not the traditional three -- competing in the finale on May 20.
“It’s good for that fourth couple who’ll get paid an extra couple of bucks,” pro Val Chmerkovskiy shrugged to reporters in Monday night’s post-show press line.
Derek Hough thinks it’s a good idea too.
"Honestly, it means more dances for the finals," the three-time mirror-ball champion said. “It’s more entertainment for the viewers at home, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Hough has said in the past that it’s best to come in either fourth or first, since exiting right after the semifinals means a dancer doesn’t have to come up with two more routines for a finale that he or she may or may not win.
“I think differently about that now,” he said. “When I said that, I might have been thinking I didn’t want to do all that hard work. But I’m of the frame of mind that it’s an absolute pleasure and joy to be able to do any dance number on the show -- every time, even for results shows.”
While anything can happen between now and the finals, it seems likely that three of the four finalists will be the competition's consistently high-scoring duos: Kellie Pickler and Hough, Zendaya and Chmerkovskiy, and Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff. The fourth slot is up for grabs.
But the only sure thing right now is that Hough and Pickler won’t be going home on Tuesday night. They scored enough points on Monday to earn immunity.
But while Hough and Pickler are safe for now, the pro feels that writing off low-scorer Andy Dick before the end just might be a mistake, given the show’s passionate fan base.
“I hope the judges did Andy a favor with their (strong) comments,” Hough offered. “If you feel that (your favorite) is being picked on, then you’re going to say to yourself, ‘I’m going to vote for him!’”