UFC star Paige VanZant did all that could be asked of her on the first night of the Dancing With The Stars Final yesterday, with two performances that left her sitting at the top of the leaderboard in terms of the judges scoring.
PVZ scored 29/30 for her first dance of the evening, a re-run of her salsa dance from earlier in the season, and would go on to earn a perfect 30/30 for her freestyle dance, for a combined score of 59/60.
That was good enough for first place on the night, outdoing Ginger Zee who scored 58/60 and Nyle DiMarco who received 57/60.
VanZant now moves on to tonight’s finale with just one more performance to go, but it has to be stressed that even if she continues to win the judges approval, that on it’s own won’t be enough to win the competition.
In addition to the judges scores, viewer votes from both this week and last week will be combined to establish who will win the show, with co-host Tom Bergeron claiming that so far the voting has been the closest in the history of the show.
It would be a remarkable achievement if PVZ could win the show, particularly since just 18 months ago the 22 year-old was essentially completely unknown, before signing for the UFC and compiling a 3-1 record.
Appearing on DWTS has helped open her fanbase to a mainstream audience, which could be great for her UFC career, but like other MMA fighter turned celebrities, such as Gina Carano and Ronda Rousey, it could potentially also distract her attention from the sport that made her a star in the first place.
The first signs of that are already happening, with PVZ just having been announced as landing an acting role in the forthcoming, ‘Kickboxer: Retaliation’ movie which will be released next year.