We’ve got a new season of Dancing with the Stars to look forward to, and this season we’ve got everybody from Olympic legends to a self-destructive dope. There are also a bunch of new pros, which means some of our favorites are sitting out this season. We might be a little bitter about that, but we’ll save that for another day. The point is, our DWTS recappers have analyzed the new couples and have their snap judgments – Myndi took the female stars and EJ’s got the men. Ready for judgments of the snappy variety?
Aly Raisman / Mark Ballas-Aly become beloved as a member of the Fierce Five after last summer’s London Olympics, and we have already seen her dance with Shawn Johnson briefly in Shawn’s freestyle with Derek last fall. She’s an athlete who won a gold for floor exercise, which is as close to actual dance as gymnastics gets, and she’s precious. There’s no doubt she’ll do quite well. Unfortunately, she has been paired with Mark Ballas, one of our least favorite pro males. How come Tristan couldn’t score the hot young contestant for once?!
Andy Dick / Sharna Burgess – I think it’s safe to say Andy Dick is this year’s trainwreck. Now, I love NewsRadio as much as the next person, provided the next person loves NewsRadio a whole lot. But Dick is a disaster. He’s been in and out of rehab, he’s been escorted out of a Comedy Central Roast for licking other roaster’s faces, and Jimmy Kimmel had to drag him off the set of his show after Andy wouldn’t stop touching Ivanka Trump. Look, addiction is one thing, but Andy Dick has been self-destructive for so long. He’s had more than one racist public outburst. Oh, also Jon Lovitz blames him for Phil Hartman’s death because he got Hartman’s wife back into drug use. This guy can’t leave the show soon enough for me. Partner Sharna Burgess is a newly-promoted member of the troupe – combine a new pro without an existing fanbase and an unlikable star, and we’re looking at an early elimination.
D.L. Hughley / Cheryl Burke – D.L. has a couple of things working against him right off the bat. At 50, he’s one of the oldest competitors this year. Also, he’s a comedian and not an athlete. Older athletes have done very well. But comedians? His predecessors on the show include Jeffrey Ross and Penn Jillette, both of whom were terrible. And Cheryl is one of the more intense pros – D.L. is going to have to hit the ground running or else it’s going to be a disaster. I think he’ll make it at least a few weeks, if only because he’s super likeable and Cheryl has a substantial fanbase of her own.
Dorothy Hamill / Tristan MacManus–Back during the ‘76 Olympics and throughout the rest of that decade, she was America’s sweetheart. Little girls everywhere styled their hair to look just like hers, which is to say like mushrooms. Adorable mushrooms! The thing is, Dorothy is not so young anymore, and we don’t know her fitness level yet. But, she’s not exactly coming into this just a few years after retirement, like Kristy Yamaguchi. It’d be great if she’s in amazing shape and can pull a Jennifer Grey, as much for herself as for her beloved yet always shafted partner Tristan, who totally deserves a ringer sooner than later.
Ingo Rademacher / Kym Johnson – Aside from my admiration of his awesome name, I don’t know much about Ingo. But he looks like a superhero and he’s on General Hospital. With two previous winners coming from ABC soaps (Kelly Monaco and J.R. Martinez, as well as strong contender Cameron Mathison and the stuck-around-for-longer-than-her-scores-warranted Susan Lucci), it seems like he’s got a bit of an advantage going in. Let’s face it, if there’s one thing that we learned early on, it’s that soap fans watch this show and they vote. Pair him up with a popular pro like Kym, and unless he’s made of left feet he should be considered a contender.
Jacoby Jones / Karina Smirnoff - Hey, it’s a football player I actually know! Jones is the guy who returned a kickoff for 108 yards in this year’s Super Bowl. Football players are right up there with soap stars in terms of their success on this show, and Jones is young, active, and crazy fast. He seems pretty likeable, too. I’d say he’s a lock for at least the final four and he’s probably the one to beat. Karina can work wonders with a halfway decent partner, so barring any injuries or complete lack of rhythm, Jacoby had better keep his schedule cleared up through the finals.
Kellie Pickler / Derek Hough-In the looks department, Kellie is another typical Derek Hough partner; petite, blonde and pretty. But, as we learned way back when she first showed up on American Idol, her quirky charm and naivete is a whole other thing. Pickler was known for saying some idiotic things, but she’s a good, kind soul who can grow on you when you least expect it. She’s obviously become more worldly over time, and her music career should give her a boost in the performance aspect of things. She also got some nice press for the selfless act of shaving her head in solidarity with a close friend undergoing cancer treatment. I think we have our theme for any potential “personal” dances!
Lisa Vanderpump / Gleb Savchenko–When it comes to The Real Housewives, I prefer to live in blissful ignorance unless my hand is forced and they show up on other shows. I only know Theresa and Nene from Celebrity Apprentice and the Richards’ sisters from their 1970s film careers. At this point, all I know about Lisa is that she’s a fan favorite and her last name is sort of fun. And, at 53, she’s only only about 4 years younger than Dorothy Hamill. Given that she’s partnered with a newbie with zippo fan following, she better be the most adored housewife ever and a halfway decent dancer to move forward.
Victor Ortiz / Lindsay Arnold – I know so little about boxing, and Ortiz’ wikipedia entry is frustratingly incomplete as to whether or not he actually broke his jaw in a fight last year or just claimed that he did. He’s got an impressive record, but the Venn Diagram of people who’d recognize him and people who watch celebrity ballroom dancing probably doesn’t show much of an intersection. And boxers haven’t done especially well on this show – Evander Holyfield, Floyd Mayweather, and Sugar Ray Leonard all went out early in their seasons. Despite the importance of footwork, it seems like the boxing skill set doesn’t translate to the ballroom. Unless he’s got a secret passion for the paso or he’s a total charmer, he probably won’t be around long. He’s paired with newbie Lindsay Arnold, who comes to us from So You Think You Can Dance and is not Anna Trebunskaya. Don’t think I’m not holding that against her.
Wynonna Judd / Tony Dovolani-Well, at least Tony got that one win, huh? It might sound mean of me to say so, but I just don’t see how this couple works logistically speaking (Tony’s not a very big guy and Wynonna, regardless of her weight, is sort of tall) and it doesn’t seem like Wynonna would be light on her feet. Then again, some contestants can surprise you with their agility. But most of them tend to be football players.
Zendaya / Val Chmerkovskiy-Ah, the obligatory Disney star! Zendaya plays the sister of DWTS alum Roshon Fagan’s Shake It Up! character, and she has even more dance cred than he did. She’s also quite tall, which could be either an asset or a detriment, depending on how she adjusts. Val, who emerged as a frontrunner last season with Kelly, won’t be able to fall back on shirtlessness and sexy routines, given the fact that Zendaya is all of 16 years old. Let’s see if he’s got any other tricks up his sleeve, now that might have to wear sleeves most of the time.
Who do you think is going to take home the legendary Mirrorball? Let us know in the comments!