Filling The Dancing with the Stars Card: Season 23

Another season of Dancing with the Stars is around the corner, and this week, the cast of 13 “stars” was revealed. To be honest, a handful of these wannabe dancers are so generic and fit into pre-existing DWTS roles that I thought they were already on the show before. Or Marilu Henner was just destined for this show.

A couple seasons ago, I broke down the usual suspects when it comes to casting DWTS, since every star can usually fit into a pre-existing category. I’ve done it again for this season and also determined who actually has a shot of winning the coveted MIRROR BALL TROPHY (it’s worth noting I correctly guessed two of the final three from S21, so I’m pretty much an expert on this kayyyy?).

*denotes winner of season

Season 23 Contestant: Maureen McCormick {Actress}

Filling the Quota: Actress That Was Somewhat Relevant At Some Point In Their Career

Preceded by: Tia Carrere and Tatum O’Neal (S2), Jennie Garth (S5), Shannon Elizabeth (S6), Shannen Doherty (S7), Denise Richards (S8), Melissa Joan Hart (S9), Pamela Anderson (S10 & 15), Ricki Lake (S13), Melissa Gilbert (S14), Elizabeth Berkley Lauren (S17), Danica McKellar (S18)

Usually Partnered With: Tony Dovolani, Artem Chigvintsev

Notes: I have a feeling Maureen will at least make it through the halfway point. She’s got the nostalgia factor going for her, and she’s probably got some moves she’s been hiding since Sunshine Day? Also, I predict she will say something along the lines of this in the first episode: “Hi, I’m Maureen McCormick and I’m an actress. You probably know me best as Marcia on The Brady Bunch… I have asked my TV mom Florence Henderson for some pointers, and she just told me to be confident, and most importantly have fun!”

Season 23 Contestant: Marilu Henner {Actress}

Filling the Quota: Older Actress/TV Personality

Preceded by: Paula Deen (S21), Suzanne Somers (S20), Betsey Johnson and Lea Thompson (S19), Valerie Harper (S17), Ricki Lake (S13), Kirstie Alley (S12), Florence Henderson (S11), Cloris Leachman (S7)

Usually Partnered With: Tony Dovolani, Artem Chigvintsev

Notes: Marilu and Maureen are basically filling the same role, except Marilu lucked out with Derek Hough. Because of this alone, she has a good shot of staying in the game longer than Maureen.

Season 23 Contestant: Jake T. Austin {Actor}

Filling the Quota: Younger actor/singer

Preceded by: Carlos PenaVega (S21), Riker Lynch (S20), James Maslow (S18), Brant Daugherty (S17), Roshon Fegan and William Levy (S14), Romeo Miller (S12), Kyle Massey (S11), Cody Linley (S7)

Usually Partnered With: Alison Holker, Witney Carson, Jenna Johnson

Notes: Usually this person is the underdog, surprisingly good and consistent throughout the show, a force to be reckoned with towards the end. I can definitely see Jake doing this, and he’ll have a good story to tell too: former Disney star who got into some trouble with the law (DUI) a few years ago? Golden. Too bad there’s another cast member who has a better redemption story.

Season 23 Contestant: Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds {Singer/Songwriter/Producer}

Filling the Quota: Rando singer/musician

Preceded by: Andy Grammer (S21), Redfoo (S20), Gavin DeGraw (S14), Master P (S2), Billy Ray Cyrus (S4), Chuck Wicks (S8), Donny Osmond* (S9), Michael Bolton (S11).

Usually Partnered With: Allison Holker, Sharna Burgess, Emma Slater

Notes: You’d think musicians would have good rhythm as dancers, but most of the time, it just means their rhythm is better suited off the dance floor. Babyface will probably hang on past the mid-season mark.

Season 23 Contestant: Calvin Johnson {NFL Star}

Filling the Quota: Athlete

Preceded by: Michael Sam (S20), Michael Waltrip (S19), Keyshawn Johnson (S17), Jacoby Jones and Victor Oritz (S16), Donald Driver (S14)*, Metta World Peace (S13), Sugar Ray Leonard and Hines Ward (S12)*, Rick Fox (S11), Chad Ochocinco (S10), Warren Sapp (S7), Helio Castroneves* (S5), Apolo Anton Ohno (S4), Emmitt Smith (S3)*

Usually Partnered With: Witney Carson, Karina Smirnoff, Cheryl Burke, Lindsay Arnold

Notes: I honestly have no idea who this is, but NFL stars usually excel when it comes to DWTS.

Season 23 Contestant: Vanilla Ice {Rapper}

Filling the Quota: Rando singer/musician

Preceded by: Redfoo (S20), Gavin DeGraw (S14), Master P (S2), Billy Ray Cyrus (S4), Chuck Wicks (S8), Donny Osmond* (S9), Michael Bolton (S11).

Usually Partnered With: Allison Holker, Sharna Burgess, Emma Slater

Notes: Unlike Babyface, Ice actually dances when he performs, so he’s got a good shot here. Will he dance to Ice Ice Baby? 100 million percent yes. (Ed note: I swear I found that video after writing that. Dancing on Ice is a DWTS/Strictly Come Dancing spin-off in the UK. He placed 7th out of 16.)

Season 23 Contestant: Amber Rose {Model/Talk Show Host}

Filling the Quota: Reality TV Star

Preceded by: Kim Zolciak Biermann (S21), Lisa Vanderpump (S16), Kristin Cavallari (13), Kendra Wilkinson (S12), Audrina Patridge and Bristol Palin (S11), Kate Gosselin (S10), Joanna Krupa (S9), Holly Madison and Melissa Rycroft (S8), Kim Kardashian (S7), Trista Sutter (S1)

Usually Partnered With: Tony Dovolani, Louis van Amstel, Mark Ballas

Notes: I never really know what to call Amber Rose, but per her ABC bio, she’s a “proud mother, activist, entrepreneur, spokesperson, talk show host, model, actor and published author from Philadelphia, PA.” Ok then. She’ll do alright. She’ll also get in heated arguments with Maks. But muva won’t be taking home a trophy for Sebastian.

Season 23 Contestant: Terra Jole {Reality TV Star}

Filling the Quota: Inspirational hero

Preceded by:  Alex Skarlatos (S21), Heather Mills (S4), Chaz Bono and J.R. Martinez* (S13), Amy Purdy (S18), Noah Galloway (S20)

Usually Partnered With: Karina Smirnoff, Derek Hough

Notes: The demographic for DWTS LOVES a good inspirational story, one that makes you cry in the video package shown before their dance every week. This contestant usually does really well.

Season 23 Contestant: Jana Kramer {Country Music Star}

Filling the Quota: Rando female singer who needs to overcome adversity

Preceded by: Toni Braxton (S7), Wynonna Judd (S16),

Usually Partnered With: Karina Smirnoff, Derek Hough

Notes: Jana fills two quotas, one as a rando female singer, but the other unfortunately because she recently separated from her husband. Who knows if she’ll discuss why she decided to do the the or if she signed up prior to her split, but she’ll grab some sympathy votes in addition to her natural talent.

Season 23 Contestant: Rick Perry {Former Governor of Texas}

dwts

Filling the Quota: Older actor/Comedian/Not a chance in hell

Preceded by:  Gary Busey (S21), Tommy Chong (S20), Andy Dick (S16) David Hasselhoff (S11), Buzz Aldrin (S10) Tom DeLay (S9), Steve Wozniak (S8), Jeffrey Ross (S7), The Holy Trinity – Steve Guttenberg, Penn Jillette and Adam Carolla (S6), Wayne Newton (S5), Jerry Springer (S3)

Usually Partnered With: Kym Johnson, Cheryl Burke, Emma Slater, Anna Trebunskaya

Notes: Here’s a hint – any older male contestant whose initial promo photo features them standing and not doing any sort of dance move – they probably won’t get too far in the competition.

Season 23 Contestant: Laurie Hernandez {Olympic Gymnast}

Filling the Quota: Female athlete

Preceded by: Laila Ali (S4), Monica Seles and Kristi Yamaguchi* (S6), Misty May-Treanor (S7), Shawn Johnson* (S8), Natalie Coughlin (S9), Hope Solo (S13), Martina Navratilova (S14), Dorothy Hamill and Alexandra Raisman (S16), Lolo Jones (S19)

Usually Partnered With: Mark Ballas, Derek Hough, Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Notes: WE’RE NOT PLAYING COY, WE WANT THIS CINNAMON ROLL OF A HUMAN EMOJI TO GO ALL THE WAY AND WIN THAT MIRROR BALL TROPHY

Season 23 Contestant: James Hinchcliffe {Racecar Driver}

Filling the Quota: Reality TV/Internet Person/WHO?

Preceded by: Hayes Grier (S21), Mark Cuban (S5), Rocco DiSpirito (S7), Steve-O (S8), Jake Pavelka (S10), Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino (S11), Carson Kressley and Rob Kardashian (S13), Sean Lowe (S16),

Usually Partnered With: Emma Slater, Peta Murgatroyd, Karina Smirnoff

Notes: Although this person has plenty of fans, the contestant has a lot of work to do in the dance studio. He gets frustrated often and knows how to be dramatic in front of a camera. Also, I have no idea who this person is.

Season 23 Contestant: Ryan Lochte {Olympic Swimmer}

Filling the Quota: Male athlete who has to overcome adversity

Preceded by: Michael Sam (S20), Michael Waltrip (S19), Keyshawn Johnson (S17), Jacoby Jones and Victor Oritz (S16), Donald Driver (S14)*, Metta World Peace (S13), Sugar Ray Leonard and Hines Ward (S12)*, Rick Fox (S11), Chad Ochocinco (S10), Warren Sapp (S7), Helio Castroneves* (S5), Apolo Anton Ohno (S4), Emmitt Smith (S3)*

Usually Partnered With: Witney Carson, Karina Smirnoff, Cheryl Burke, Lindsay Arnold

Notes: Apparently Lochte was in talks to do the show before the who #LochteGate happened, so this just happens to be serendipitous timing. He wouldn’t be the first star to help fix their reputation – remember racist Paula Deen? She made it to 9th place and bested four other contestants!

Other Random Quotas Not Filled This Season:

Female Models: Rachel Hunter (S1), Shanna Moakler (S3), Kathy Ireland (S9), Petra Němcová and Elisabetta Canalis (S13), Charlotte McKinney (S20)

Middle-Aged Actor That Were Somewhat Relevant At Some Point In Their Career: John O’Hurley (S1), Joey Lawrence and Mario Lopez (S3), Ian Ziering (S4), Ralph Macchio (s12)

Younger Actress: Alexa PenaVega (S21), Rumer Willis (S20)*, Janel Parrish (S19), Chelsea Kane (S12), Sabrina Bryan (S5), Monique Coleman (S3), Kelly Monaco* (S1)

Most likely to be on cover of CosmoGirl or Teen People: Willow Shields (S20), Sadie Robertson (S19) Bethany Mota (S19), Zendaya (S16)

BBW: Patti LaBelle (S20), NeNe Leakes (S18), Amber Riley (S17)*, Sherri Shepherd (S14), Gladys Knight (S14), Wendy Williams (S12), Niecy Nash (S10)

Pop star and-or actor/has plenty of dance experience/ringer: Nick Carter (S21), Alfonso Ribeiro (S19)*, Corbin Bleu (S17), Aaron Carter (S9), Lance Bass (S7), Mario (S6), Joey Fatone (S4), Drew Lachey (S2)*, Joey McIntyre (S1)

Season 21 Predictions: Final Three – Laurie Hernandez, Jana Kramer, and Jake T. Austin

Filling The Dancing with the Stars Card

The 21st (yes, really) season of America’s favorite celebrity ballroom competition series kicked off last night with a whole new crew of stars, a term which is used very loosely for this show.

I got into DWTS a few years ago due to my job, and although I’m no longer required to watch it, I find myself accidentally tuning in. This year, I had no choice, since my boy Nick Carter signed up for the show. (BTW my first reaction upon hearing he was cast was ‘Oh no. Nickolas. What are you doing.’ It changed to, ‘I guess I’ll be voting this season?). Of course this isn’t the first time a pop star or even boy bander has joined the competition, and it got me thinking – over the course of 21 seasons, the casting department and producers of DWTS, especially over the past few years, have made it a mission to fulfill certain “stereotypes” when it comes to the contestants on the show. Nick isn’t the first pop singer to join the program, and he’s certainly not the last.

Let’s delve into the certain characters and qualities that appear on the show every year – and determine who actually has a shot of winning the coveted MIRROR BALL TROPHY.

*denotes winner of season

Season 21 Contestant: Nick Carter {Backstreet Boys}

nick-carter-sharna-burgess-dwts-season-21

Filling the Quota: Pop star and-or actor/has plenty of dance experience/ringer

Preceded by: Alfonso Ribeiro (S19)*, Corbin Bleu (S17), Aaron Carter (S9), Lance Bass (S7), Mario (S6), Joey Fatone (S4), Drew Lachey (S2)*, Joey McIntyre (S1)

Usually Partnered With: Sharna Burgess, Alison Holker, Cheryl Burke

Notes: This contestant usually comes in having an impressive background in dance, but not necessarily with ballroom, making them meet high expectations on the dance floor. They’ve also got a sufficient fan base that will vote for them, no matter what.

Season 21 Contestant: Chaka Kahn {Soul Singer}

Filling the Quota: BBW

Preceded by: Patti LaBelle (S20), NeNe Leakes (S18), Amber Riley (S17)*, Sherri Shepherd (S14), Gladys Knight (S14), Wendy Williams (S12), Niecy Nash (S10)

Usually Partnered With: Tony Dovolani, Artem Chigvintsev

Notes: This contestant usually makes it fairly far (not eliminated the first two weeks), even though they’re not usually the best dancer, but they’re universally loved and bring personality and charisma to the show.

Season 21 Contestant: Bindi Irwin {Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin’s Daughter}

Filling the Quota: Most likely to be on cover of CosmoGirl or Teen People

Preceded by: Willow Shields (S20), Sadie Robertson (S19) Bethany Mota (S19), Zendaya (S16)

Usually Partnered With: Mark Ballas, Derek Hough

Notes: The teens are eager to learn, and quick to learn, maybe most importantly. They also make it fairly far in the competition, and it’s always a fine line between being sexy on the dance floor and remembering they’re underage.

Season 21 Contestant: Andy Grammer {Singer/Songwriter}

Filling the Quota: Rando singer/musician

Preceded by: Redfoo (S20), Gavin DeGraw (S14), Master P (S2), Billy Ray Cyrus (S4), Chuck Wicks (S8), Donny Osmond* (S9), Michael Bolton (S11).

Usually Partnered With: Allison Holker, Sharna Burgess, Emma Slater

Notes: You’d think musicians would have good rhythm as dancers, but most of the time, it just means their rhythm is better suited off the dance floor.

Season 21 Contestant: Tamar Braxton {R&B singer/Reality TV star}

Filling the Quota: Rando female singer

Preceded by: Willa Ford (S3), Marie Osmond and Mel B (S5), Toni Braxton (S7), Belinda Carlisle (S8), Macy Gray and Mya (S9), Nicole Scherzinger * (S10), Brandy (S11), Chynna Phillips (S13), Wynonna Judd and Kellie Pickler (S16),

Usually Partnered With: Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Val Chmerkovskiy, Derek Hough

Notes: Same as Rando Male Singer. Unless you’re former Pussycat Dolls star Nicole Scherzinger, who should could as a boy band ringer.

Season 21 Contestant: Victor Espinoza {Jockey/Triple Crown Winner}

Filling the Quota: Athlete

Preceded by: Michael Sam (S20), Michael Waltrip (S19), Keyshawn Johnson (S17), Jacoby Jones and Victor Oritz (S16), Donald Driver (S14)*, Metta World Peace (S13), Sugar Ray Leonard and Hines Ward (S12)*, Rick Fox (S11), Chad Ochocinco (S10), Warren Sapp (S7), Helio Castroneves* (S5), Apolo Anton Ohno (S4), Emmitt Smith (S3)*

Usually Partnered With: Witney Carson, Karina Smirnoff, Cheryl Burke

Notes: Unless they’re an NFL star, they have no chance of winning.

Season 21 Contestant: Hayes Grier {Vine Personality}

Filling the Quota: Reality TV/Internet Person/WHO?

Preceded by: Mark Cuban (S5), Rocco DiSpirito (S7), Steve-O (S8), Jake Pavelka (S10), Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino (S11), Carson Kressley and Rob Kardashian (S13), Sean Lowe (S16),

Usually Partnered With: Emma Slater, Peta Murgatroyd, Karina Smirnoff

Notes: Although this person has plenty of fans, the contestant has a lot of work to do in the dance studio. He gets frustrated often and knows how to be dramatic in front of a camera.

Season 21 Contestant: Alexa Penavega {Actress}

Filling the Quota: Younger actress

Preceded by: Rumer Willis (S20)*, Janel Parrish (S19), Chelsea Kane (S12), Sabrina Bryan (S5), Monique Coleman (S3), Kelly Monaco* (S1)

Usually Partnered With: Val Chmerkovskiy, Mark Ballas, Artem Chigvintsev

Notes: Is the underdog, surprisingly good and consistent throughout the show, a force to be reckoned with towards the end.

Season 21 Contestant: Carlos Penavega {Actor/Singer}

Filling the Quota: Younger actor/singer

Preceded by: Riker Lynch (S20), James Maslow (S18), Brant Daugherty (S17), Roshon Fegan and William Levy (S14), Romeo Miller (S12), Kyle Massey (S11), Cody Linley (S7)

Usually Partnered With: Alison Holker, Witney Carson

Notes: Is the underdog, surprisingly good and consistent throughout the show, a force to be reckoned with towards the end.

Season 21 Contestant: Gary Busey {Actor/This Guy}

Filling the Quota: Older actor/Comedian/Not a chance in hell

Preceded by:  Tommy Chong (S20), Andy Dick (S16) David Hasselhoff (S11), Buzz Aldrin (S10) Tom DeLay (S9), Steve Wozniak (S8), Jeffrey Ross (S7), The Holy Trinity – Steve Guttenberg, Penn Jillette and Adam Carolla (S6), Wayne Newton (S5), Jerry Springer (S3)

Usually Partnered With: Kym Johnson, Cheryl Burke, Emma Slater, Anna Trebunskaya

Notes: Just. No.

Season 21 Contestant: Paula Deen {Former Food Network Star/This Guy}

Filling the Quota: Older Actress/TV Personality

Preceded by: Suzanne Somers (S20), Betsey Johnson and Lea Thompson (S19), Valerie Harper (S17), Ricki Lake (S13), Kirstie Alley (S12), Florence Henderson (S11), Cloris Leachman (S7)

Usually Partnered With: Tony Dovolani, Artem Chigvintsev

Notes: Depending on the star herself, they could either fail (Cloris) or do really well (Kirstie).

 

Season 21 Contestant: Kim Zolciak Biermann {The Real Housewives of Atlanta}

Filling the Quota: Reality TV Star

Preceded by: Lisa Vanderpump (S16), Kristin Cavallari (13), Kendra Wilkinson (S12), Audrina Patridge and Bristol Palin (S11), Kate Gosselin (S10), Joanna Krupa (S9), Holly Madison and Melissa Rycroft (S8), Kim Kardashian (S7), Trista Sutter (S1)

Usually Partnered With: Tony Dovolani, Louis van Amstel, Mark Ballas

Notes: Because this is a REALITY competition show, after all.

Season 21 Contestant: National Guardsman Alex Skarlatos {one of the Americans who helped stop a gunman on a Paris-bound train}

Filling the Quota: Inspirational hero

Preceded by:  Heather Mills (S4), Chaz Bono and J.R. Martinez* (S13), Amy Purdy (S18), Noah Galloway (S20)

Usually Partnered With: Karina Smirnoff, Derek Hough

Notes: The demographic for DWTS LOVES a good inspirational story, one that makes you cry in the video package shown before their dance every week. This contestant usually does really well.

Other Random Quotas Not Filled This Season:

Female Athletes: Laila Ali (S4) ,Monica Seles and Kristi Yamaguchi* (S6), Misty May-Treanor (S7), Shawn Johnson* (S8), Natalie Coughlin (S9), Hope Solo (S13), Martina Navratilova (S14), Dorothy Hamill and Alexandra Raisman (S16), Lolo Jones (S19)

Female Models: Rachel Hunter (S1), Shanna Moakler (S3), Kathy Ireland (S9), Petra Němcová and Elisabetta Canalis (S13), Charlotte McKinney (S20)

Middle-Aged Actress That Were Somewhat Relevant At Some Point In Their Career: Tia Carrere and Tatum O’Neal (S2), Jennie Garth (S5), Shannon Elizabeth (S6), Shannen Doherty (S7), Denise Richards (S8), Melissa Joan Hart (S9), Pamela Anderson (S10 & 15), Ricki Lake (S13), Melissa Gilbert (S14), Elizabeth Berkley Lauren (S17), Danica McKellar (S18)

Middle-Aged Actor That Were Somewhat Relevant At Some Point In Their Career: John O’Hurley (S1), Joey Lawrence and Mario Lopez (S3), Ian Ziering (S4), Ralph Macchio (s12),

Season 21 Predictions: Final Three – Nick Carter, Bindi Irwin and Carlos Penavega

 

Definitive Ranking of Dancing with the Stars Season 18 Contestants

For those of you just tuning in to this blog, I write about celebrities for a living. I literally get paid to write news stories about celebrities, movies, music, and basically anything to do with entertainment. But prior to this position, I used to exclusively write about reality TV. My days were filled with picking sides between the Housewives, deciphering Honey Boo Boo’s ramblings, and actually Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

As you probably know, Dancing with the Stars is one of the biggest reality TV shows in America, so I was basically forced to watch it (and all the other shows for that matter). The first couple of seasons I surprisingly found myself getting really into it. Then last season I really couldn’t be bothered and lost interest completely. I’m writing this to say I will not be keeping up with it this season, but I will be writing this post because this year’s crop of ‘celebrities’ is worth talking about (and possibly throwing shade at). Here are the 12 celebrities and their pro partners that will be taking the dance floor starting March 17th, and here is the official completely unofficial ranking of how they’ll fare as ballroom hoofers, from worst to best, last to first.

UPDATE: JUST FOUND OUT THE PARTNERS MIGHT SWITCH PER AUDIENCE VOTE, SO THIS ENTIRE LIST MIGHT BE INVALID. WHATEVER. DEREK HOUGH PROBS GONNA WIN AGAIN ANYWAYS.

 Billy Dee Williams (Actor) with Emma Slater

You may know him as Lando Calrissian from Star Wars. You may also know him as the Colt 45 guy. Or you could be me and know him from ‘those blaxploitation movies with Diana Ross’. Either way, you will probably know him as the guy who didn’t do too well on Dancing with the Stars. Slash take a shot of Tom Bergeron says, “From Star Wars to Dancing with the STARS, here is Billy Dee Williams!”

Diana Nyad (Long-Distance Swimmer) with Henry Byalikov

Remember that woman who swam from Havana to Florida? This is her. So basically she doesn’t give up on anything and probably has really strong legs and arms. But one of things you need to know (I guess not really NEED to know) about DWTS is that it’s a fan-driven show, in that people vote for whoever they are fans of, not necessarily who the best dancer is. I’m assuming Diana doesn’t have a ‘strong fan-base’ and her partner isn’t one of the more beloved pro dancers, so I don’t think she’s gonna race to the finish if you get my drift.

Sean Avery (Former NHL player) with Karina Smirnoff

It’s worth noting that Sean Avery is the guy on the left. The one on the right is clearly Bravo’s darling, Andy Cohen. They’re on vacation together somewhere exotic in this pic, and there were rumors they are actually engaged. But Sean’s not gay… Anyways, athletes either do really well (like winners Emmitt Smith, Apolo Anton Ohno, Shawn Johnson, etc.) or they can do really bad (Keyshawn Johnson, last place). Hockey is a little different than those football pros who excel at the dancing, so I’m not really sure what to expect from him. I will say that he has one of the show’s fave dancers, Katrina Smirnoff, as his partner, so he has a better chance of staying in longer than usual.

NeNe Leakes (Housewife/Actress) with Tony Dovolani

If she’s as good as throwing shade and being sassy as she is a dancer, NeNe might actually go far. But I’m leaning towards no. Love you, but girl, bye.

Drew Carey (Actor/The Price Is Right Host) with Cheryl Burke

I am aware this picture is old due to his overweight status, but come on, why is there a cat wearing sunglasses on a director’s chair? Anyways, I’m basing Drew’s ranking on the fact that he is the token comedian of the season. Comedians do better than you expect them to, mainly because they are underdogs and have a fan base. Take D.L. Hughley and Bill Engvall, who placed ninth and fourth, respectively. Not to mention Drew hosts a daytime institution which the women who probably watch DWTS view in the morning right before their midday naps.

Cody Simpson (Singer) with Witney Carson

Ah, the Australian Justin Bieber. I’ve never actually heard or seen him before, so I have no idea if he dances like JB. But he’s young and cute, so that certainly puts him above Diana Nyad. Also shoutout to new cast member Witney Carson, who is a So You Think You Can Dance alum who was in the DWTS Troupe for the past couple years and moved up!

James Maslow (Singer/Actor in Big Time Rush) with Peta Murgatroyd

Again, I’ve never seen Big Time Rush perform, but I’m pretty sure being in a boy band requires some dancing (unless you’re One Direction). He already has a big teenage girl fan base who will vote their fingers off and Peta is a good enough choreographer to get them ahead.

Candace Cameron-Bure (Actress/DJ) with Mark Ballas

Deej. DEEJ!! I have no idea if she can dance or even dance well (after all, it WAS Stephanie who was the dancer of the family) but I am rooting for her to go all the way. Can you just see Kimmy and Steve cheering her on in the front row?!

Danica McKellar (Actress/Mathematician) with Val Chmerkovskiy

Winnie Cooper. The ultimate girl next door who is now campaigning for your votes. I also have no idea if she can dance, but I have a feeling she can. She’s smart (went to UCLA for math) so anyone who’s young-ish and smart are quick to learn these difficult dances.

Charlie White (Gold Medalist in Ice Dancing) with Sharna Burgess

You saw him either win gold in Sochi, or in those memes where he and Meryl Davis were compared to Disney royal couples. Does this couple have an advantage over the others because they’re professional ice DANCERS? Probably. Is it a big advantage? No. They dance on ice, it’s very different than solid ground. What will actually help this couple is the fact they each know how to partner really well. But Meryl & Charlie have been partners for 17 years, so it will be interesting to see how they’ll do with someone new.

Meryl Davis (Gold Medalist in Ice Dancing) with Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Basically everything I said above. I’m only giving Meryl the edge because she’s the girl. Sexist? Whatevs. Did you know Charlie and Meryl enlisted Derek to help them with their Olympics routines? Yeah. And she’s with the returning Maks, who is like, the ‘Ukrainian hunk’ of the show, and he’s definitely going to give Derek a run for his money.

Amy Purdy (Paraolympic Snowboarder and actress) with Derek Hough

I think it’s going to be a toss up between Charlie, Meryl and Amy in the finale. People love a good underdog story. And Amy is a double amputee, snowboarder and an actress. She will be doing the Quickstep on two fake legs, how can you not root for that? Plus she’s paired with DWTS darling Derek Hough, who has won this thing five times, and even won an Emmy for his choreo. AND people loooove Derek. They will vote for him and him alone, where as not as many people will just vote for Henry or even the fairly new Witney. Watch out – Derek just might get his six-peat.

It’s Been a Bad Week for Jessica Spano

As you may (or may not) know, Elizabeth Berkley is one of the cast members of this season’s Dancing with the Stars.

That is until she unexpectedly got kicked off the show on Monday. Oops. Sorry. “Spoiler Alert”.

Elizabeth has been a frontrunner the entire season, getting TWO perfect scores. And her cumulative score from the judges lands her at third place, so theoretically, this means she should have an easy entry into the semi-finals and even the finals, but because America gets to weigh in, this wasn’t the case. Looks like Elizabeth’s SBTB and Showgirls fans didn’t vote enough to beat out all of middle America and the southern states who are voting for Bill Engvall. Like, really.

Most notably this season, Elizabeth recreated her famous “I’m so excited!” scene from SBTB, and it was weird and awkward and awesome all at the same time.

Note to self: never take “Jive Pills”. Or do, because it’s freaking me out how it doesn’t look like she’s changed one bit in over 20 years. IDK anymore.

But lest we forget from whence she came. Elizabeth may not be the winner of the mirrorball trophy on DWTS, but she’ll always be a winner in our hearts.

The video that made one of the best girl groups of all time

It’s worth noting that they were called ‘Hot Sundae’, not ‘Jesse and The Sundaes’. Come on.

Buddy Bands: Hey, They Work.

Jessie, resident dancer, helps teach Zack how to dance.

Looks like little Lizzie is enjoying the dance a little too much.

Jessie and Zack: The couple that never was?

Powerhouse Preppies for the win (click pic for video!)

Jessie shows off her skills in ‘band’ class

In which the gang pretends to know how to play instruments (click pic for video!)

Bonus vid: MTV2’s brilliant promo vid for SBTB.

Bonus vid #2: Rare interview with the kids before the show got super popular. Why do Mario and Elizabeth look exactly the same 20+ years later? Time-travelling demons.

Be My BFF: A Love Letter To Rhoda Morgenstern (And Valerie Harper, Too)

I’m a Rhoda, not a Mary. If you’re a classic tv fan, an old person, or both, you’ll remember Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern as one of the sitcom world’s best buddy duos on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mary was sort of the straight man, and eminently sweet and lovable. Rhoda was sassy, self-deprecating, others-deprecating (is that a thing?) and had a disastrous dating life.

I watched Mary Tyler Moore repeats as a kid, but it was by and large a “grown-up” show to me. See, I could watch shows about adults in my era (see: Friends), but a bunch of adults in the 70s didn’t really resonate with me. Now that I’m a young professional, The Mary Tyler Moore show is my life. Since college, my friend and I have even used “throwing our hats in the air” as a catchall expression for just generally succeeding at life.

 

Rhoda Morgenstern probably reminds you of either yourself or one of your friends (in which case you’re a Mary, and likely far more likable and bubbly than I am). When prepping for a beauty contest, Rhoda introduced herself: “My favorite hobbies are cheerleading, liking people, and living in America.” Still, Mary always had the good luck, as Rhoda informed her on a down day: “You’re having a lousy streak. I happen to be having a terrific streak. Soon the world will be back to normal. Tomorrow you will meet a crown head of Europe and marry. I will have a fat attack, eat 3000 peanut butter cups and die.” Then, there’s the voice-over from season one of Rhoda:

Whomever decided that a voice-over monolog would make a good theme song was freaking crazy. It was the 70s, and everyone was just kind of trying things I guess. But still. Rhoda. I love Rhoda.

Not to mention, the gal could really pull off a turban.

Of course, there’s no Rhoda without Valerie Harper. The fact is, Harper’s pretty great in her own right. She got her start touring with Second City, and appeared on the super-60s (but still funny) comedy album When You’re In Love The Whole World Is Jewish. She ran for SAG president but lost to Melissa Gilbert, which isn’t even really fair because who could vote against Half-Pint Ingalls, except for Nellie Freaking Olsen? Harper even advocated for the ERA in the 70s, and you can tell that I have the boundless, baseless optimism of someone who was raised in Buffalo Bills territory, because every time it’s introduced I’m like “you know, maybe this is our year.” In 2006, she called Britney Spears a “Disney Hooker.” Harper also offered one of my favorite bits of life advice:

“Stop working so hard at being interesting and focus on what’s outside yourself. There are universes out there that need to be explored. And, an interested person is extremely interesting.”

This fall, Valerie Harper has advanced cancer and a reality tv contract – because she’s Rhoda Morgenstern and she does what she wants. So, on Monday I  voluntarily watched Dancing With The Stars even though I am not a suburban lady in my early 60s. I’ll keep watching as long as she’s on the show – and possibly longer if Bill Nye and Jessie Spano make it farther. I was a 90s kid, after all. I’m not watching because it’s amazing that Harper is responding unbelievably well to treatment, or inspiring that she’s undertaking a serious dance regimen on top of a serious illness. I’m watching because Rhoda Morgenstern was hilarious, and so is the woman who plays her. Which means that – at the very least – if a routine is really awful, or someone falls down, or the costumes are atrocious, I think we can count on her for some witty, Rhoda-like commentary.

[Ed. note: This was initially written to appear this past Monday, but was postponed to write about one of our other favorite funny ladies. I don’t think Valerie Harper cares, though. Meaning: I don’t think she’s one of our readers. But, the delay allowed me to watch DWTS before posting, and Harper did not disappoint. But would it have killed them to put her in a turban? For old time’s sake, I mean.]

Live Blog: My Mom watches the Dancing with the Stars finale

Dancing with the Stars is one of the biggest reality TV shows on the air, and naturally I have to watch it and keep up with it and write any news pertaining the show. But I always forget that the one person who is pretty much the ideal demographic fort this show is my mother. Like suburban, older, women usually like this show. Naturally, she was excited about the season finale. I just happened to be with my parents on the night of this past week’s season 16 finale, and I could only get her reactions to the last hour of the two-hour finale, but they’re still entertaining none the less. It’s like she was betting money on it or something, that’s how into it and stressed she was over the show. I mean, I tend to get emotional about telveision, but it’s so uncharacteristic from her that I was more amused than annoyed. Here are some quality quotes from the Dancing with the Stars shit show. BTW – this was mostly said in Filipino, so this is all a rough translation of what she said…

During Pitbull’s performance: “(Judge) Len (Goodman) better be careful or he’ll break something!”

This man may be 69 years old, but he’s a ballroom champ and legit was helping finalist Jacoby Jones in practice the day before.

When cameras panned over to the audience: “Oh it’s Kristi! Kristi’s there!” (Yamaguchi, because she’s on a first name basis with her, apparently.)

When missing the part where the top four was narrowed down to three, and NFL pro Jacoby Jones was still in the competition: “JACKoby? JACKoby will probably win now!!” – It’s pronounced Jah-CO-bee.

And finding out Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman placed fourth, below Jacoby: “Aly probably cried… Jacoby’s good but not as good as the women. How disappointing.”

After Jacoby’s instant salsa: Jacoby’s mom is too much (she was holding up her own a ’10’ sign from the audience): “They’ll probably give him a 10. That is not right… That’s why he has a lot of fans- because of this touchdown dance.”

On Zendaya’s instant jive dance: “Ohhh her music is so good (It was the classic, Rockin’ Robin).”

On 16-year-old Zendaya’s footwear choices: “See, she can’t dance in heels. She should be dancing in heels. But she’s a kid… she’s not wearing heels.” (She actually wears heels 90% of the time on the show)

Zendaya’s video package talking about her final dance on the show: “It’s definitely going to suck” – Zendaya
“HA ‘SUCKS’! SHE’S A KID!” – My old mom

On appreciating figure skate alumni in the audience: “Oh Dorothy’s there too. Dorothy and Kristi are sitting next to each other!” (the DWTS mom version of fangirling)

“They need to improve the mirrorball trophy.”

On last season’s American Idol runner-up (and 1/2 Filipino), Jessica Sanchez, who performed: “Ay it’s Jessica!!! She has too much makeup on… she has on too much makeup.”

Still not over Jacoby making it over Aly: “It will be so disappointing if Jacoby wins… See he has the lowest cheers.” (from the audience)

After Jacoby was eliminated, leaving Zendaya and American Idol alum Kellie Pickler in the top two: “There – there it won’t matter who wins between the two of them… even though I like Kellie.”

When Kellie Pickler was named the champion of DWTS: “They’re (Kellie & pro partner Derek) shocked!! It’s because of their performance from last night. Because she’s very artistic… But derek won again – how many is this that he won? She didn’t become the American Idol but she was the Dancing with the Stars champion.”