Kirstie Alley, Sugar Ray Leonard biggest names in Dancing with the Stars cast which could use more stars
Trying perhaps a bit too hard to make it an event, ABC unveiled the cast for its latest Dancing with the Stars cycle with a glitzy live presentation Monday including questions from two journalists -- that the castmembers quickly dodged or failed to answer.
Surprisingly for a show often ranked at the top of TV ratings, Dancing this year seems to have few actual, um, stars. When your biggest names in the lineup are actress-turned-reality show fixture Kirstie Alley, boxer Sugar Ray Leonard (last fight: 1997) and talk show queen Wendy Williams, you really have to wonder if the word "stars" still deserves to be in the title. (crack all the jokes you want about a certain thespian's weight -- I am not going there)
Other participants include: former Karate Kid star Ralph Macchio (fans are likely surprised he's still alive), rapper Lil' Romeo (introduced as the son of Master P.), supermodel Petra Nemcova, tween TV star Chelsea Kane, WWE wrestler Chris Jericho, Playboy model Kendra Wilkinson, former Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward, and Loveline co-host Mike Catherwood.
The pattern is a familiar one, skewed toward younger competitors and reality TV stars. But DWTS also dropped a lot of past habits.
There's no senior citizen as comedy relief (Cloris Leachman, Buzz Aldrin), and no politically affiliated celebrities (Bristol Palin's controversies must have been too much, though tea party candidate Christine O'Donnell said she was asked). And other than Catherwood, there's no out-and-out comedian, like Margaret Cho or Neicey Nash -- which is just as well; comics are rarely actually funny on DWTS, they're mostly just embarrassing.
Usually, the big names are enough to keep fans buzzing about the show until the real contenders emerge. Tough to see where the sizzle will come from this year -- even Alley seemed surprised by the way all attention turned to her from the start, unable to answer a simple question about why she agreed to do the show now, after turning them down in the past.
Perhaps, with Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen making the rounds in media, it's just the season for crazy celebrities.
Below are key dates for Season 12 (dates and times subject to change):
• “Dancing with the Stars’” two-hour season premiere performance show, MONDAY, MARCH 21 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET).
• “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show’s” one-hour season premiere, TUESDAY, MARCH 29 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET).
• “Dancing with the Stars’” 1000th Competitive Dance, MONDAY, APRIL 18 (8:00-9:31 p.m., ET)
• “Dancing with the Stars’” final performance show, MONDAY, MAY 23 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET)
• “Dancing with the Stars’” season finale, TUESDAY, MAY 24 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET)
Click below to see more about the celebrities:
KIRSTIE ALLEY – She co-wrote and starred in Showtime’s critically acclaimed comedy “Fat Actress,” and played the title character, as well as serving as executive producer, on the NBC sitcom “Veronica’s Closet.”
“PSYCHO” MIKE CATHERWOOD -- Born and raised in Los Angeles, Michael Catherwood (aka Psycho Mike) became a member of the top-rated “Kevin & Bean Morning Show” on KROQ-FM. Known to listeners as “Psycho Mike,” he has developed many of the radio show’s most well known and talked about characters and segments. His often controversial music has garnered him worldwide notice and acclaim. In addition to the “Kevin & Bean Morning Show,” Mike is the co-host of Loveline Radio (Westwood One) with Dr. Drew Pinsky, and has guest hosted on E! Entertainment’s “The Daily 10” and most recently on “Live with Regis & Kelly.”
CHRIS JERICHO -- A six-time WWE world champion, two- time New York Times best-selling author, lead singer of the rock band Fozzy and host of the ABC game show “Downfall,” Chris Jericho began wrestling at age 19 and is one of the most popular performers in wrestling history.
CHELSEA KANE – Chelsea Kane (formerly Chelsea Staub) is a versatile young actress and musician. She currently stars in the web series “The Homes” on Lockerz.com. She is also the voice of Bea in Disney Channel’s animated comedy series, “Fish Hooks,” the imaginative story of three tween fish navigating high school.
SUGAR RAY LEONARD – Sugar Ray Leonard is one of the legendary sports icons of the 20th century whose very name epitomizes boxing and conjures the image of a champion.
RALPH MACCHIO – An actor, writer, director and producer, Ralph Macchio first gained world recognition for playing the title role in the popular classic “The Karate Kid” and its successors, “The Karate Kid II” and “The Karate Kid III.”
PETRA NEMCOVA – Born and raised in Karvina, in the Czech Republic, Petra Nemcova took the modeling world by storm after being discovered by a modeling scout on the streets of her native country.
ROMEO – Percy Romeo Miller, Jr., better known by his stage name, Romeo, is an American entertainer, actor, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the son of businessman and music mogul Percy Miller.
HINES WARD – A four-time Pro Bowler, three-time Super Bowl participant, two-time Super Bowl Champion and Super Bowl XL MVP, Hines Ward holds virtually every record in Steelers wide receiving history and will go down in the record books as the Steelers’ all-time leading wide receiver.
KENDRA WILKINSON – Television personality and glamour girl Kendra Wilkinson is best known from her self-titled E! hit reality series, “Kendra.”
WENDY WILLIAMS – Called a “breakthrough in daytime” by The New York Times, Wendy Williams burst onto the national talk show scene in July 2009 with the launch of her daily, syndicated program, “The Wendy Williams Show.”