Chad Handicaps the New “Dancing With The Stars” Cast
I’m so happy, I’ve got the Fox Trots! Monday marks the start of the 14th season of Dancing With The Stars and twelve new hopefuls are ready to suit up and Tango it out for a shot at the show’s mirror ball trophy. As usual, the list of “stars” is debatable and all over the place, so I decided to sort through it and give you a handy-dandy viewer’s guide to the new season. Who will be this year’s Michael Bolton (bless his heart) and who will be ready to “burn the floor”?
Naturally, we must begin with the ladies. So, here goes.
MELISSA GILBERT: Was there a Little Rhumba on the Prairie? I seriously doubt it. But I think Gilbert has a shot to go a long way in this year’s season. And here’s why? If you’re anywhere near my age, you remember Melissa as Laura Ingalls. If you haven’t seen her since, you are going to be amazed. Laura Ingalls is HOT! Little “half-pint” is all grown up and has done pretty well for herself. Yep! Instead of spending her adult life whining about the fact that she was a child star (take that “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” Maureen McCormick), Melissa kept working and actually led the Screen Actors Guild. Melissa Gilbert is already proof that hard work pays off and, IF she works hard on the dance floor and actually has a little rhythm to boot, she could make the finals!
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Ya’ll know I am a HUGE tennis fan. And, if you ask me, Martina is the GREATEST female player of all-time. 167 singles titles. 177 doubles titles. 59 Grand Slam titles in all, the last of which came in 2006, when she teamed with Bob Bryan to win the U.S. Open Mixed Doubles title when she was just a month shy of her 50th birthday! But “grace” was never Martina’s calling card. That adjective belonged to her rival Chris Evert. Martina was cut and athletic and those two assets COULD hold her back on the dance floor, where “grace” usually wins the day.
SHERRI SHEPHERD: Is an idiot. I watch The View sometimes and cannot believe some of the stuff that flies out of her lips. This is the gal who said, on national television, that she doesn’t know whether the Earth is round or flat because she’s never really thought about it. She also said that Jesus predates EVERYTHING in history. Bless her heart! The good news for Sherri is she’s on DWTS and not Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? At least here, she has a chance. And I think she really does. Sherri LOVES to dance and has been campaigning for years to get a slot on this show. This is her Super Bowl and she’s going to be gunning for the mirror ball trophy, which, by the way, is ROUND!
GLADYS KNIGHT: Ooh! Someone is leaving on the midnight train to the cha cha cha. I love me some Gladys Knight, who will be “Pip”less as she battles to stay alive on DWTS. It’s hard to believe that the “Empress of Soul” is 67-years-old, but you’d never know it by looking. Gladys Knight is in GREAT shape, thanks to a recent run at the Tropicana in Las Vegas. If you’ve ever watched Gladys perform, you know she’s got a few moves to go along with those golden, smoky pipes. But does she have enough of them to bring home the silver? I’m not feeling it.
KATHERINE JENKINS: I know. I know. Some of you just said, “I’m sorry. Who?” While Gladys Knight sports one of the world’s most well-known alto voices, opera star Katherine Jenkins sports one of the world’s best mezzo-sopranos. And, in case you don’t follow opera, there is an interesting trend in the business. Gone are the days of the “big berthas” and the bull horns. Opera stars now (like Renee Fleming and, yes, Katherine Jenkins) are SMOKIN’! But, I’m not sure that’s going to help. Opera has always been a tough sell. While you may enjoy the sound of it, you likely don’t know what the hell anyone is singing when they sing it. Pretty voices can truly get lost in the translation. And, I’m afraid that’s what is going to happen to Katherine. She won’t have the fan base to last more than a couple of weeks.
MARIA MENOUNOS: I love watching the expression of a “man’s man” when you ask him if he watches Dancing With The Stars. He’ll shake his head and make that same face he does when you ask him if HE’S the one that farted at the dinner table. But, guys, there are parts of this show that you WILL enjoy, I promise. And Maria Menounos is this year’s reason for you to watch. Think Greek Goddess meets sultry Latin dances. Female talk show hosts have done incredibly well on DWTS. Ricki Lake was a huge contender last season. And don’t forget about Brooke Burke, who lilfted the mirror ball trophy in Season 7 and took over as co-hostess in Season 10. Maria is a contender for THIS season’s crown and will, at the very least, make the finals.
And now, for this year’s crop of guys . . .
WILLIAM LEVY: While the guys have Maria Menounos, the ladies have this guy. In fact, I have some female friends who have already been through menopause who have started ovulating again because of Mr. Levy. Yes. This Cuban-American heartthrob has some acting credits to his name, but no one cares. What they care about is this. People magazine has a Spanish edition and guess who was featured on the cover of its “Sexiest Men of the Year” issue? Yep! This guy. And, this guy is going to be around a long time. I can see Carrie Ann Inaba fanning herself with her judge’s paddle as we speak. Come to think of it. I can see Bruno doing the same thing.
DONALD DRIVER: Athletes ALWAYS do well on this show and football players do EXCEEDINGLY well. Emmitt Smith and Hines Ward both won their seasons and Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver is going to be aiming for the same feat. And here’s something you may not know about him. Driver is also a world class track and field athlete . . . specifically, an Olympic-class high jumper. High jumpers are light on their feet, quick, flexible, agile and literally fly through the air. If Donald can translate that skill set into dance, we have identified another finalist, ladies and gents!
GAVIN DEGRAW: A couple of months ago, he was being beaten down in a New York City alley . . . today he is competing on DWTS. That’s why I love this guy. He is completely unpredictable. Gavin DeGraw is one of my favorite musicians outside of country music. He’s got a great voice, plays a mean keyboard and writes some amazing songs (“I Don’t Want To Be,” “Not Over You,” “In Love With A Girl”). And he’s NOT afraid to take chances. In fact, I saw him in concert once and he did NOT sing “I Don’t Want To Be,” which is his absolute biggest hit. Some people in the crowd got totally pissed, but he didn’t care. I thought it was hilarious. That kind of risk-taking is exactly what DeGraw is going to have to do on the dance floor to last. I’m pulling for him.
JACK WAGNER: What? Really? “Frisco Jones” on DWTS????? I think this is awesome. Did you know Jack Wagner is 52-years-old? But tell that to the legion of women who have followed him from General Hospital to The Bold and the Beautiful to Melrose Place. They don’t care how old the man is! Jack Wagner has been a hearthrob for decades and will still be one when he’s in a nursing home playing checkers and eating blended foods. He goes into the show with a strong female fan base and that fan base is the pick-up-the-phone-and-vote kind. But let’s not forget another big plus for Jack. Remember the 80’s?? He had a huge pop hit called “All I Need.” Jack Wagner can sing. And that means he’s musically-inclined. Oh, but wait! They said that about Michael Bolton too.
ROSHON FEGAN: Okay, you got me. I’ve never heard of this kid. But, then again, I’m not sitting at home watching the Disney Channel. If I was, someone should call Chris Hansen at To Catch a Predator. Just sayin’! But here’s what I do know about the folks from Disney who compete on this show. They ROCK! Kyle Massey and Chelsea Kane both made the finals and this Shake It Up star could do the same. Working in his favor is the fact that he’s got dancing in his blood. His television show is about a group of friends who work as professional dancers. Uh oh! I smell a ringer!
JALEEL WHITE: I love THIS!!! Steve Urkel is back in primetime! And he’s ditching the “high-waters” and suspenders for pleather and gold lame! Like it or not, Steve Urkel is one of television’s most iconic characters. People either loved him or hated him. I’m not going to lie. He drove me bats#@t! (Maybe because my grandmother always said that Urkel reminded her of me!) But that type of partisanship is what Jaleel White will have to overcome to do well on this season of DWTS. He faces what Melissa Gilbert faces. Both were child stars who created very specific characters that became part of our pop- cultural vernacular. Like Melissa, Jaleel is going to have to prove to the DWTS voters that he is more than a one trick pony with a squeaky high-pitched voice.
The 14th season of Dancing With The Stars airs at 7pm CST, Monday, March 19th on ABC!