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Ralph Macchio: Cat with nine lives

Actor Ralph Macchio and TV personality Karina Smirnoff

Actor Ralph Macchio and TV personality Karina Smirnoff attend Nintendo 3DS exclusive launch event at Siren Studios in Hollywood, California. (March 26, 2011) Credit: GETTY IMAGES

ABC picked -- and in fact long sought -- Ralph Macchio for "Dancing with the Stars" because it knew he'd be a keeper -- someone with a natural fanbase from the old movie series that would keep casting votes over and over and over, no matter how wooden or clunky his routines.

How right ABC was: Macchio overcame a six point judges' deficit to land in the top four next week; that is, I believe, the largest point total deficit that has ever been overcome by a "DWTS" contestant, including Bristol  Palin, this late in the game. In plain English, so many people voted for Macchio that they completely nullifed the judges' 46 on Monday. If you glanced over at Len Goodman last night, by the way, he did not look pleased. 

Now, to this question -- because I honestly did think he would be gone last night:  Can Ralph still win the whole thing? 

I would have said "impossible," but the audience votes are apparently so hugely in his favor that Macchio needs merely to get close to the board leaders, Chelsea Kane and Hines Ward, and he could win. He's a better dancer than Palin, which is why that's still possible.  

Both Kane and Ward now have to be nervous. They are absolutely the better dancers, but they know the audience is pulling for Ralph. 

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