Donny Osmond may have screwed up when he prematurely announced his participation in the eighth cycle of ABC's mega-popular Dancing With the Stars, but some other casting leaks turned out to be pretty accurate.
Train wreck actress Denise Richards, Alaskan singer/songwriter Jewel and Jackass star/ex-mental patient Steve-O were names floated last week and confirmed Sunday by ABC.
But they were just the beginning of a long list: Olympian gymnast Shawn Johnson, comic David Alan Grier, Go-Go's singer Belinda Carlisle, rapper Lil' Kim, rodeo rider Ty Murray, Apple computer designer Steve Wozniak, French model/actor Gilles Marini, former NFL star Lawrence Taylor, Access Hollywood co-host Nancy O'Dell and DWTS dancer Julianne Hough's boyfriend, country crooner Chuck Wicks.
Johnson, at 17, will be the youngest competitor ever. And besides Hough and Wicks, there are two other couples involved; Murray and Jewel are married, while dancers Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff will compete against each other. New episodes debut at 8 p.m. March 9 on WFTS-Ch. 28.
Still, DWTS casts tend to fit well-worn formulas. And while one type is conspicuously absent — the physically challenged performer once exemplified by deaf dancer Marlee Matlin — most other types remain.
The surprisingly agile male athlete: Taylor and Murray fall here — dudes you don't expect to do well, despite most pro athletes' superior coordination.
The spunky middle-aged mom: Marie Osmond worked this role mercilessly two cycles ago. This time, it's Carlisle and O'Dell, who will beg legions of moms for votes.
The kid: Johnson is one year younger than the show's onetime youngest contestant, Disney actor Cody Linley.
The comic relief: Grier, star of Comedy Central's Chocolate News, is the comic. But my money's on Wozniak, who showed during ex-girlfriend Kathy Griffin's reality show Life on the D-List that he is one serious nerd. And who doesn't think the guy from Jackass will slip in some sidesplitting slapstick?
The models: Champ Brooke Burke aside, models usually run neck-and-neck with the comic relief for early ejection. Richards and Sex and the City eye candy Marini look poised to continue the tradition.
The pop performer: Jewel and Lil' Kim are the new Toni Braxton.