Get ready to lace up those dancing shoes, because Dancing with the Stars kicks off its tenth (yes, tenth) season on Monday, March 22! There’s already been some notable departures this season – dancers Julianne Hough, Jonathan Roberts, Kym Johnson, and Lacey Schwimmer are not returning, and co-host Samantha Harris is leaving. Samantha will be replaced by equally shiny-haired former winner Brooke Burke. Personally, I was hoping Melissa Rycroft would get the gig, but I’m sure Brooke will be a great addition to the show (again). Also new this season – tweeting! You can visit ABC’s page to check out what all the contestants are saying on Twitter.
Let’s take a look at this season’s contenders for the mirrorball trophy and speculate wildly, shall we?
Aiden Turner and Edyta Sliwinska: Aiden’s claim to fame is being a sexy soap star on All My Children. Edyta has had great success partnering a sexy soap star before, with Cameron Mathison. These two could be really great, especially during the Latin routines, and I expect Aiden’s strong female fan base will be more than willing to pick up the phone and vote.
Buzz Aldrin and Ashly Costa: Sigh. I’m not sure who I’m more disappointed in, ABC or Buzz Aldrin. It’s upsetting that ABC has dragged a true American hero into their sparkly circus as a blatant ploy for ratings. When Cloris Leachman did the show, it was sometimes amusing, but she’s a comedienne. Buzz Aldrin is an 80 year old former astronaut. If/when he slips up, it’s not going to be funny. And if/when he hurts himself, people are going to be horrified. And Buzz Aldrin – really? Really? YOU WALKED ON THE MOON. YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS. And as for Ashly, this is what happens when you leave the show for several seasons to get married – accept your punishment, enjoy the three weeks this partnership will likely last, and maybe next season they’ll let you partner the football player. Speaking of …
Chad Ochocinco and Cheryl Burke: Cheryl must be thanking her lucky stars right now, because this partnership is already destined for the finals. Football players have a great track record on this show, and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver (and soon-to-be reality star) Chad Ochocinco has an electric personality that will translate well on the dance floor. Add in a three-time DWTS finalist as a partner/choreographer, and you’ve got a combination of athleticism and energy that will be tough to beat.
Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Erin is a former member of the University of Florida’s basketball dance team, and if I was a betting woman, I would say those skills will come back pretty quick. And as a sports reporter, she’s used to dealing with big, imposing personalities, so putting up with Maksim’s tantrums should be a breeze. She and Maks will make a gorgeous couple, and I expect them to scorch up the dance floor. I’m really looking forward to seeing these two perform.
Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya: Okay, confession – I am openly rooting for Evan. And personal feelings aside, I think he’s best positioned to win. First, he’s used to wearing glittery clothes. Second, he’s a professional athlete, which we all know is a huge advantage. Third, he’s riding on a high after bringing home the men’s figure skating gold in Vancouver. Fourth, as a figure skater, he’s a natural at picking up choreography, conveying emotion, and precise technique – all key things you need to master if you want to win. Just ask Kristi Yamaguchi.
Jake Pavelka and Chelsie Hightower: I have no idea who Jake is, but I also don’t watch The Bachelor. Apparently he is a pilot? Taking a cue from Melissa Rycroft, ABC is allowing him to extend his 15 minutes of fame a little longer. He has the fabulous Chelsie as a partner, so this partnership could go either way. For Chelsie’s sake, I hope they do well.
Kate Gosselin and Tony Dovolani: Personally, I don’t believe that people who exploit their children should be rewarded with more reality shows, but then again, I don’t work in showbiz. Kate has a reputation for being a cutthroat personality who will stop at nothing to get ahead, but that doesn’t play well on Dancing with the Stars (remember Vivica A. Fox?). According to reports, her bad attitude is causing some tensions on set, which isn’t surprising. Will she be a great dancer? Probably not, but it’ll be very interesting to see whether her reputation and tabloid presence ends up influencing the voting.
Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough: Derek loves to swivel his hips and Nicole used to be a member of the Pussycat Dolls. Expect lots of sexy, sultry numbers from these two and inappropriate comments from Bruno. Derek is no stranger to the finals, and he could do with her what he did so well with Lil Kim and bring out Nicole’s classier side. If Nicole can find that classy/sexy balance, she could do really well.
Niecy Nash and Louis Van Amstel: Niecy is the host and producer of Style Network’s show, Clean House. I can already hear the puns about these two “cleaning out the competition” (Tom Bergeron, get out of my head!). With such a strong field of competitors this season, I don’t expect Niecy to last that long, but then again – Louis did amazing work with Kelly Osbourne last season.
Pamela Anderson and Damian Whitewood: I hope ABC is ready with the censor button and prepared for angry emails, because I can only imagine what Bruno is going to say to poor Pam during judging. I don’t know that Pam is going to be the best dancer here, but I have a feeling she’s going to be this season’s fan favorite. She’s paired with newcomer Damian, who appeared on the Australian version of Dancing with the Stars, and I hope he’s ready for a partner like Pam – because everyone is going to be watching these guys.
Shannen Doherty and Mark Ballas: This one surprised me – Shannen never struck me as ever being the ballroom dancing type, but look how well it worked out for fellow 90210 castmate Jennie Garth! Mark is, in my opinion, the best male professional dancer on the show, so if he can get Shannen to loosen up and have some fun, I think they’ll do reasonably well. Will they win? No. But they could make it halfway.
What do you think about this season’s lineup? Anyone dare to call the winner this early?