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Spoilers ahead for the Season 28 premiere of Dancing with the Stars.
Dancing with the Stars has returned for Season 28 on ABC, and the premiere arrived with all the glitz, glamor, and varying degrees of actual dance ability that fans have come to expect. The cast is stacked with some who are bound to go far, some whose enthusiasm should carry them through at least a few rounds, and one who I'm guessing will be gone as soon as viewers get to vote. Bachelorette Hannah Brown is competing as well, and I'm already wondering: does she have an unfair advantage?
Hannah was the first celeb to take the floor with her partner in the Season 28 premiere. With professional dance partner Alan Bersten, Hannah got the show off to an exciting start, all sparkles and splits and smiles throughout their cha-cha. They also scored nearly the highest numbers of the night from the judges, with a 7 from Carrie Ann Inaba, a 7 from Len Goodman, and a 6 from Bruno Tonioli for a total of 20.
Now, I'm not arguing that Hannah and Alan didn't earn their great scores, which landed them second on the night behind only James Van Der Beek and pro partner Emma Slater. Hannah went from Miss Alabama to trying to win Colton Underwood's heart on The Bachelor to trying to find the right man for her heart on The Bachelorette, so she's at home in the limelight. While she wasn't on par with any of the pro dancers, she definitely struck me as one of the best celebs of the night. So why am I wondering if she has an unfair advantage?
It's precisely because Hannah went from Miss Alabama to The Bachelor to The Bachelorette. Hannah was only off the air for a couple of months between The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, turned up on Bachelor in Paradise, and then was announced as part of the cast of Dancing with the Stars, all on ABC. She's been in the nationally-televised spotlight a lot more recently than the likes of Kate Flannery, Lamar Odom, and Mary Wilson.
Of course, Sean Spicer also spent a lot of time in the national spotlight, and he's probably not going to win record numbers of votes to stay in the game once viewers get to have their say from home. One of the many differences between Hannah and Spicer -- and most of the rest of the contestants -- is that viewers have very specific reasons to be sympathetic to Hannah.
Poor Hannah was jilted by Colton, who later revealed that he was skewing the process by lying to producers, and then had to deal with all kinds of drama courtesy of some of her Bachelorette favorites. Luke Parker was awful to her, even if she certainly took her time in giving him the boot and dropping the windmill sex bombshell to get rid of him.
Jed Wyatt seemed like a dream come true to Hannah during Bachelorette filming, but his misdeeds (and pre-Bachelorette girlfriend) came to light while Hannah's season aired, and her happily-ever-after ended with Hannah returning the engagement ring to Jed. Although she asked runner-up Tyler Cameron out on a date in a total rom com moment at the end of her finale, that relationship doesn't seem to be shaping up.
For ABC viewers -- and surely there has to be some overlap between the Bachelor franchise and Dancing with the Stars -- Hannah is a very familiar face, there are a lot of reasons to be sympathetic, and she's a great dancer. Do the first two advantages mean that audiences will be inclined to lean in her favor, if it comes down to Hannah vs. anybody else? And is that really unfair?
I've been immersed in the Bachelor franchise for a while, and I'd love to see Hannah win some happiness. I'm just not sure if that's because she should win Dancing with the Stars or if I came in with a bias. For now, I'm confident that Hannah will still be around while some of the other celebs are eliminated, and the top competition may be between Hannah and James Van Der Beek. Who would have guessed?
Find out what happens next (and get your chance to vote) with the next new episode of Dancing with the Stars on Monday, September 23 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.