Last season, I wrote about how I thought ABC’s Dancing With the Stars might have jumped the shark as it were with the inclusion of Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak. Then, just when it seemed that things could not have possibly gotten any worse – they did.
Season Nine, which kicks off September 21 in a 3-night extravaganza, has the largest cast thus far – 16 celebrities who obviously didn’t have anything better to do between now and Thanksgiving. This is twice the number of contestants as the show had when it began and this season, host Tom Bergeron has promised that there will be a “ballroom bloodbath” as the producers have chosen add double-elimination to the mix – where two couples will get “whacked” every week during a three-week period in the middle of the season.
Great – ballroom dancing as a contact sport. Why not just dress them in those outlandish costumes, give them paintball guns and have them fight it out on Hollywood Boulevard?
Okay, so now that you know the rest of the story, let’s get to why you’re reading this. You want to know who’s going to be playing this season, right? Okay so here goes, and in no particular order (dramatic music as lights dim):
Singers Mya, Macy Gray and Aaron Carter will attempt to see if they can dance better than they can sing. This is a proposition that won’t require a lot of effort. I can dance better than they can sing so it will be interesting to see how well they do.
Season Nine features the first off-spring of a former DWTS contestant. Actor Ashley Hamilton, son of Season One contestant George Hamilton will attempt to fill his father’s shoes on the parquet floor. This time the Hamilton family will not be facing off against a former Playboy playmate so there won’t be any reason to believe he lost because he didn’t take off his clothes.
Next we have Melissa Joan Hart, formerly known as Sabrina: The Teenage Witch. Her six degrees of freedom connection to this show up to now has always been via Caroline Rhea, who played Melissa’s aunt on Sabrina and then later turned up in the bottom left corner of Hollywood Squares when it was hosted by Bergeron. Now she will be forever linked to the mirror-ball trophy even if she doesn’t win.
Bringing attitude to the ballroom will be Debi Mazar. Best known for her Jersey-girl characters, Mazar is the only contestant about whom I can’t find anything bad or good to say.
Representing the super-model faction will be Joanna Krupa and model-turned-entrepreneur Kathy Ireland. Krupa is fresh off her stint on ABC’s The Superstars where she was paired with Buffalo Bills’ Terrell Owens. Ireland is obviously looking to boost sales of her name brand, which is pathetically marketed by K-Mart, which is now owned by Sears. Ireland could have saved Sears by just going directly to them, skipping the middle-man and let K-Mart sink under its own weight.
Of course if DWTS isn’t reality TV enough for you, this season is bringing in two established reality TV names: Mark Dacascos – of Iron Chef America and Kelly Osbourne – of whatever that show was she was on. With Dacascos’ past experience as a martial arts expert, I expect him to do quite well this season. Osbourne, on the other hand, couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag. It will be interesting to see her dressed in something other than WOB/gothic.
If you liked Marie Osmond on Season Six, you’ll love getting to see her brother Donnie this season. If you have no use for the Osmonds, I can’t help you. I wonder if Marie will be Access Hollywood’s exclusive on-scene correspondent like Donnie was. At least Donnie has rhythm and might actually make it to the finals. Of course Marie made it because she’s much better looking that Donnie – okay, I admit it, she’s hot! Still hot.
That’s it for the professional entertainers on the roster. Now for the requisite sports figures we have former Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin, mixed martial arts star Chuck Liddell, professional skateboarder Louie Vito – when the hell did skateboarding become a “professional” sport? Skateboarding is an annoyance to most people because of the tendency of its participants to run over, plow through and in other ways assail pedestrians. Not to mention that the mental capacity of skateboarders is barely above that of the tsetse fly as exemplified by their inability to read signs specifically spelling out where skateboarding is prohibited by law and their blatant disregard for private property. It’s as if they think they can skate wherever they find concrete. Stick to the skateboard parks you hooligans!
Swimmer and multi Olympic Gold Medal winner Natalie Coughlin is not only among the obligatory sports figures, but she is also DWTS’s resident Olympian – can’t have a season without at least one of those in the mix. I’m looking forward to seeing how well she carries herself out of the pool.
If you’ve kept count, you know that there are only 15 contestants listed. That’s because I have been saving this last one. I can’t really say I saved the best for last, but in a way, I have. This last contestant is the best only because he is the best “what-the-F-were-they-thinking?” contestant in nine seasons. Talk about jumping the shark – DWTS is jumping the shark with a shark! Our last contestant was indicted in 2005 by a Texas grand jury on charges of money laundering. Please help me welcome to the parquet dance floor former Republican House majority leader and Congressman Tom DeLay. DeLay is taking time off to dance away his legal troubles much the same way Nero fiddled as Rome burned.
DeLay’s political career collapsed faster than the housing market and now he’s exploring other aspects of the entertainment industry. If the show is being opened up to politicians, Obama should have pulled a few strings to get Biden on this season. It would have given Biden something to do with his feet besides gnaw on them and given Obama one less thing to worry about, at least, for a while.
Sadly, however, it has also been reported that Samantha Harris will be returning to co-host the program. I guess that is what places DWTS so high in the ratings, it couples (sorry for the pun) both elements of the theatre – comedy and tragedy – into one package.
Dancing with the Stars Season Nine premieres in Los Angeles Monday, September 21 at 8:00 on ABC7.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company.