SAN DIEGO, March 16, 2013 – Fans of “Dancing With the Stars” are glad to get back to the surprises of a brand new lineup of competitors for Season 16 after the All-Stars experiment. Nothing beats the fun of guessing who will surpass expectations, and who will be a hot mess on the dance floor.
All-Stars was a fine experiment, but it’s the element of surprise that has made “Dancing With The Stars” one of the the highest rated shows on TV. It has launched and re-launched careers: Kelly Osborne, Kirstie Alley, and Rikki Lake credit the show for their current success. Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves is often introduced as “Dancing With The Stars” champion before his racing is mentioned. Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins, sportscaster Erin Andrews, and former Bachelorette Melissa Rycroft all found new fans thanks to the show.
Communities predicted just one of the three finalists from last season, runner-up Shawn Johnson. We had third place Kelly Monaco out of the mix (and she should have been). But we did say eventual winner Melissa Rycroft and pro partner Tony Dovoloni would have to turn up the heat in the Latin dances to have a shot, and that’s exactly what they did.
Once again we will fearlessly make our predictions in our three categories: The Also-Rans, The Jury Is Out, The Contenders. Tell us your predictions in the Comments section.
The Season 16 competitors are Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff; Victor Ortiz and Lindsay Arnold; Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough; Wynonna Judd and Tony Dovoloni; Dorothy Hammill and Tristan McManus, Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas, Lisa Vanderpump and Gleb Savchenko, D.L. Hughley and Cheryl Burke; Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess; Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson; Zendaya Coleman and Val Chmerkovskiy; and the recently added Sean Lowe and Peta Murgatroyd.
The DWTS Also-Rans: Wynonna Judd, Andy Dick, Lisa Vanderpump
Wynonna Judd, 48: Judd says she’s been asked repeatedly to come on the show, and finally agreed this year. Whether it’s to face her fears, jump start a weight-loss program, or get it out of the way, let’s hope Judd enjoys her rehearsals with current champion Tony Dovoloni, because she’s not going to last very long. If Wynonna’s participation puts her on the road to improving her health, it’s still a big win for her.
Andy Dick, 47: This comedian and actor is better known for his run-ins with the law and multiple arrests fueled by drug and alcohol addiction. He’s got a therapist and a case manager, and apparently a task master in pro partner Sharna Burgess. Burgess said she’s going to push him hard, but Dick could be a train wreck and loose cannon in the same vein of Cloris Leachman, except less entertaining and a worse dancer. If this guy isn’t gone the first week, I’ll be shocked. Vegas oddsmakers agree. They’ve put Andy Dick at the very bottom of the list for his chances of winning the mirror ball trophy, with 35 to 1 odds.
Lisa Vanderpump, 52: One of the more popular “Real Housewives,” this British restauranteur and socialite has a few handicaps. She’s among the older competitors, with no athletic experience; and she’s paired with a brand new pro, Australian Latin ballroom champion Gleb Savchenko. She will probably survive a week or two based on her Real Housewives following, but not much beyond.
The DWTS Jury Is Out: Victor Ortiz, D.L. Hughley, Dorothy Hamill, Ingo Rademacher, Sean Lowe
Victor Ortiz, 26: The former welterweight boxing champion has the advantages all athletes do coming to the ballroom. They are used to working hard, are physically capable, and can be coached. Boxers haven’t done too well in the past, but Ortiz should last more than a few weeks. He’s good-looking and has a winning personality. Ortiz is working with brand new pro Lindsay Arnold, who competed on “So You Think You Can Dance” last season. If the two develop good chemistry, it will help them. Arnold’s ability to coach a new dancer could be a key to whether this couple survives into the second half of the season.
D.L. Hughley, 50: It’s a kindness to put Hughley in this category. He has zero experience dancing, he’s no athlete and no spring chicken. But partner and former champ Cheryl Burke is among the best teachers on the show. She should bring out the best he’s got to offer both in his personality and dance moves, and if he takes the training seriously he may escape bottom of the barrel status.
Dorothy Hamill, 56: She’s still America’s sweetheart 37 years (wow!) after winning her Olympic Gold Medal in Innsbruck, Austria. Hamill has the athlete’s competitive instinct and ability to be coached, but she’s also the oldest competitor in the competition. Her parnter Tristan McManus seems to be the mature partner specialist having worked with Nancy Grace and Gladys Knight. Hamill’s popularity with the show’s fans (many of whom are in her age group) and drive will keep her around longer, but probably not for the finals.
Ingo Rademacher, 41: The German-born Australian actor says he agreed to join the DWTS cast because he wasn’t doing anything else when asked. He’ll dance with two-time winner and fellow Aussie Kym Johnson. Rademacher’s fans from his days on “General Hospital” and Johnson’s many admirers should keep them in the competition. If this pair has chemistry and any talent, they should last a while and could be the surprise entry in this year’s competition.
Sean Lowe, 28: It was a poorly kept secret, but the star of the ABC reality show “The Bachelor” was officially added just a week before the show’s debut, with the announcement being made after the finale of his show. He will be the third competitor from The Bachelor/Bachelorette series including All-Star Season 15 winner Melissa Rycroft. Lowe, a Dallas business owner and former college football player, will dance with Peta Murgatroyd. If he’s more football player than business owner, he may do well. But he also needs to contend with the distractions of his impending wedding, which will also air on ABC. It could be too much for Lowe handle.
The DWTS Contenders: Aly Raisman, Jacoby Jones, Kellie Pickler, Zendaya Coleman
Aly Raisman, 18: Olympic gold medalists have an excellent track record of winning.. Four of five have become “Dancing With The Stars” champion in their seasons: Kristie Yamaguchi. Shawn Johnson, Apolo Ohno, and Evan Lysacek. These are big dance shoes to fill. Raisman will have to bring her personality out and refrain from resorting to gymnastic tricks and moves. Her partner Mark Ballas won both with Johnson and Yamaguchi, so Raisman is in good hands.
Jacoby Jones, 28: Already known for his big personality and end zone dances, this Baltimore Ravens wide receiver follows in the footsteps of previous DWTS winners Donald Driver, Hines Ward, and Emmitt Smith. Pro athletes have a great work ethic and are highly coachable. Jones is in great shape and has already said in interviews that football is far more taxing physically than dancing. Jones has the personality to enjoy the ride, and the Ravens and go a long way in this competition. Viral video of Jones and partner Karina Smirnoff teaching kids the Harlem Shake from the Ravens website show the pair have chemistry.
Kellie Pickler, 26: The former “American Idol” competitor and country music star is dancing with three-time DWTS winner Derek Hough. Hough is a brilliant choreographer who knows how to showcase his partners instead of outshining them. The pair seem well matched, and they both have a lot of fans. Although rehearsal photos show Pickler is flexible and has great lines, she is being careful to downplay her chances. She’s a reality TV veteran thanks to Idol and she’ll work everything she’s got on and off the ballroom. Her musicality as a singer should help too.
Zendaya Coleman, 16: She is the youngest competitor ever on Dancing With The Stars, filling the “Disney kid” role. She sings and dances on her show “Shake It Up” as character Rocky Blue. Sometimes these skills translate to the ballroom, sometimes not. Zendaya is tall and this can be a disadvantage in achieving the proper posture for ballroom dancing. Her partner Val Chmerkovskiy is a double edged sword. He can’t sex it up with a 16-year-old, but he draws a lot of fan votes. So Zendaya won’t go home anytime soon and will have a chance to work on her dancing.
We are putting a fine shine on the Communities disco ball and will host our first live chat of Season 16 on Monday night at 8 p.m. Let’s see how these newbies perform in the ballroom when the bright lights hit that disco ball. Who shows early talent? Who is likely to go home first next week?
“Dancing With the Stars” debuts Monday night, March 18, at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time, and airs on Monday and Tuesday nights starting the week of March 25 on the ABC Television Network.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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