Tuesday, September 10, 2013

'Dancing With the Stars' - Breaking Down the Cast

It's been nearly a week since we found out who would be gracing our TV screens with their presence on that most delightful and sparkly celebrity dance-off, "Dancing With the Stars."

The show, which airs on Mondays on ABC, will have a few format changes, too, the most notable of which is the elimination of the results show. I am perfectly fine with that - in fact, I'm glad, because the results show was an exercise in tedium, and the results show is fleeing the scheduled to make room for "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," which will be much, much, much more entertaining than waiting to find out which D-list celebrity gets booted from a silly dance show. I am interested to see how they handle the once-a-week format, though - when will we find out who gets eliminated? Will we have to wait a whole week?

Anyway, those are just housekeeping changes, though, because the main thing that people are interested in when discussing "Dancing With the Stars" is the celebrities who will take the stage to ballroom dance for our entertainment and/or mockery.

The most buzzed-about celeb-testant this season has to be Valerie Harper, the 74-year-old comedic actress who made a name for herself as Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spinoff, "Rhoda." Harper is battling a rare, terminal form of brain cancer, but she has recently gotten good news from her doctors - her cancer is "nearly in remission," they say - and she is reportedly very excited to strap on her dancing shoes and get going. I'm thrilled that she's doing the show, because it's nice to see her positive attitude on display. She will be inspiring to many people, and I'm sure she'll go far in the competition. Harper is paired with Tristan McManus.

I'm probably most excited, though, about Bill Nye the Science Guy, who will partner up with new pro Tyne Stecklein this season. I grew up watching Bill Nye's show, and I still admire him today. He made a whole generation of kids really excited about science, and he's also charismatic and funny in addition to being incredibly smart. I will definitely be rooting for him!

Other contestants are:

  • Brant Daugherty, of "Pretty Little Liars" fame (?), paired with Peta Murgatroyd. I know next to nothing about him, so I will reserve judgment until I see if he can dance or be interesting on camera. He smells faintly of cannon fodder, though.
  • Jack Osbourne, son of rocker Ozzy Osbourne and former reality TV star, paired with Cheryl Burke. I have a soft spot in my heart for the whole crazy Osbourne clan. I think they're incredibly smart and savvy with the way that they portray themselves on TV and keep themselves in the spotlight, and I'm excited to see how it continues on the show. I also have to give Jack props for getting sober after a tough childhood, and I'm impressed that he will be putting himself out there after being diagnosed recently with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, which may make his work on the show more difficult.
  • Bill Engvall, stand-up comic and actor, paired with former troupe member Emma Slater. Engvall is a pretty funny comedian - his "Here's your sign" routine is still well-quoted in our family - and I'm glad to see a guy with a "normal" persona on the show. I think he'll do incredibly well with the audience, because he's expertly cultivated that "Aww, shucks, I'm just a country boy" demeanor. I am wondering if he can actually, ya know, dance, though.
  • Keyshawn Johnson, former NFL player, paired with Sharna Burgess. I don't know much about Johnson, being not much of a football fan, but athletes often do very, very well on "Dancing With the Stars." I'll be watching with interest to see if he's one of them.
  • Corbin Bleu, former star of the "High School Musical" franchise and other Disney Channel shows and movies, paired with Karina Smirnoff. The other class of celebrities, besides professional athletes, who have done very well on "Dancing With the Stars" is Disney Channel kids. Bleu has the added bonus that people who haven't watched the Disney Channel in a while might actually know who he is, because he was in "High School Musical." I liked him in those movies, and I'm sure he'll do great. 
  • Snooki, from "Jersey Shore," paired with former troupe member Sasha Farber. I hate to admit that I'm really excited to see Snooki on here. For some reason, I just love her fame-seeking ways, and there's just something about her that keeps her interesting. Also, for the entire time that they're both on the show, I will be imagining the backstage conversations between her and Bill Nye the Science Guy. 
  • Christina Milian, singer/actress, paired with Mark Ballas. I don't have a strong opinion about her one way or the other, to be honest. I'm guessing she'll be one of those people in the middle - not horrible, but ultimately overshadowed by her more charismatic co-stars. But you never know ... people have surprised me in the past!
  • Elizabeth Berkley, "Saved by the Bell" and "Showgirls" actress, paired with Val Chmerkovskiy. Who isn't excited to see a former "Saved by the Bell" actress on "Dancing With the Stars." I never watched that show much, but it will be fun ... plus, there's another "Saved by the Bell" actress on the show. Also, Berkley has trained as a dancer, so she might end up being really, really good.
  • Amber Riley, from "Glee," paired with Derek Hough. I like Riley, even though I haven't watched "Glee," in a while, and I'm excited to see what she can do. It will also be nice to, once again, have a woman with a fuller figure on the show. I'm always glad when they show that women like her can dance just as well as their skinnier sisters.
  • Leah Remini, former "Saved by the Bell" and "The King of Queens" star, paired with Tony Dovlani. Again with the "Saved By the Bell" connection! That should excited fans of the show. It will be fun to see if any other "Saved By the Bell" actors show up to watch their former costars ... we could have a reunion! 
Who will you be rooting for on "Dancing With the Stars" this season?

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