The juggernaut that is Dancing with the Stars is coming back for its 16th Season, and 11 competitors are hoping to Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, and Tango their way into your hearts this spring. We’ve already learned that it will be a Maks-free Zone this go-round, but the big question still remains: What “stars” will be donning the sequins?
Away we go…
Wynonna Judd (Tony Dovolani) – Sure, she can belt out a country tune with the best of them, but I can’t see her floating across the hardwood like, say, DWTS: All-Stars winner Melissa Rycroft; I’m picturing something more like Kirstie Alley. Yes, the similarly-aged Jennifer Grey (Wynonna is 48) won it all in Season 11, but we all knew she could dance beforehand. Anyone ever seen Wynonna do the Cha-Cha? Anyone? Of course having the defending pro winner by your side can’t hurt, so she’s at least got that going for her.
D.L. Hughley (Cheryl Burke) – The 49-year-old stand-up comedian has been relegated to the game show circuit in recent years… but maybe he’s also been secretly taking ballroom dance lessons in his free time. Yeah, probably not. I think we may have another Adam Corolla/David Alan Grier on our hands, but if anyone can whip him into shape, it’s 2-time winner Cheryl.
Jacoby Jones (Karina Smirnoff) – The Super Bowl hero wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens hopes to follow in the footsteps of other NFL DWTSers (Emmitt Smith, Hines Ward) who have brought home the Mirrorball. It remains to be seen how graceful he’ll be, but you gotta imagine the 28-year-old will have the motivational chirpings of Ray Lewis in his ear all season. That might be a good thing.
Lisa Vanderpump (Gleb Savchenko) – And so we come to our first “Really? She’s a ‘star‘?” moment of the cast announcement. Yes, the 52-year-old is certainly well known (at least in the People magazine/E! Network/”Watch What Happens!” circles), but come on. And she’s dancing with former troupe member Gleb. (“Really? He’s a ‘pro’?”) This could be interesting. Like train wrecks or NASCAR crashes.
Andy Dick (Sharna Burgess) – Oh, dear lord. Anyone whose Wikipedia bio has 10 paragraphs under the heading “Legal Troubles”, well… that can’t be good. I can’t imagine the 47-year-old comedian will be around for more than a week or so (if he even makes it that far without exposing his buttocks and getting kicked off the show). I pity poor Sharna; she finally gets promoted from the troupe to full-time pro, and this is her reward?
Victor Ortiz (Lindsay Arnold) – Professional boxers have generally done pretty poorly in the ol’ DWTS arena (Laila Ali’s 3rd place in Season 4 is the lone exception), but Victor might be able to turn that around. He’s only 26, light on his feet, and he’s in amazing shape. He could be a dark horse this season, but having a newbie pro (former SYTYCD contestant Lindsay) might hurt. Might.
Zendaya Coleman (Val Chmerkovskiy) – The latest Disney Channel star DWTSer could go waaaay deep into the competition this season, if for no other reason than the fact that she’s the star of a show (Shake It Up) about kids dancing on a dance show. At age 16, she’s among the youngest to ever don the sequins, and she’s gotta be one of the early favorites. And fortunately we won’t have to worry about seeing any of those ‘get a room!’ moments shared between Val and his last partner, Kelli.
Aly Raisman (Mark Ballas) – Apparently McKayla Maroney was not impressed (ha!) with the idea of DWTSing, so her 18-year-old Fierce Five buddy is stepping up to represent Team USA. Shawn Johnson is the only other gymnast to give DWTS a try, and we all know how well she did. I’d think Aly’s another odds-on favorite to take home the Mirrorball, especially with 2-time winner Mark as her partner.
Ingo Rademacher (Kym Johnson) – Every season there’s a “Who?” moment, and this year’s is Ingo. Of course, if I watched General Hospital, I’d know he’s Jasper “Jax” Jacks, but I don’t, so there it is. Yes, the 41-year-old is devilishly handsome (eye candy for the ladies!), but how well does he dance? He could be a soap star with two left feet (think Aiden Turner) or an honest-to-goodness contender (think J.R. Martinez).
Kellie Pickler (Derek Hough) – The former American Idol contestant-turned-country star would have done quite nicely for herself all on her own this season– being kind of a cute, fun, and bubbly Chelsea Kane-ish type. But then we find out that she’s dancing with Derek, and all of a sudden she’s given a free pass to the finals. It’s just that simple.
Dorothy Hamill (Tristan McManus) – At age 56, the woman who launched a million haircuts is the grand dame of the ball this go-round. We know she’s graceful (or used to be… back in, oh, 1976), so I imagine she’ll do alright for herself on the dance floor. And nothing quite says ‘winner’ like being a breast cancer survivor.
So, there you have it. Tune in Monday, March 18 at 8pm for the premiere of Season 16. We’ll see you then.
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