We’ve been kind of hit and miss over the past few years when it comes to “Dancing With the Stars.” I think it comes on opposite something else we usually watch, so we’ll have to set up the DVR to record “DWTS,” because it’s always entertaining, especially when your favorite stars are dancing.
And there are some great draws this year – everyone from Ingo Rademacher (Jax on “General Hospital”!) to country star Wynonna Judd, both of whom I love. In fact, I’m kind of psyched about the whole cast! Even the sports stars, some of whom I’ve actually heard of.
Melanie Votaw just interviewed Melissa Jo Peltier about her new novel, “Reality Boulevard,” that takes readers inside the world of reality TV, most of which is scripted and not reality at all. At least with the competition reality shows like “American Idol” and “Dancing With the Stars,” you get to see the participants grow and sweat and sing and dance their hearts out.
Let’s take a look at the dancers this season:
WYNONNA JUDD — Super excited about seeing her on the show. She’s what you call a survivor to the nth degree. And a five-time Grammy winner, to boot.
From the press release: “Whether performing alongside her mom as one half of the legendary duo The Judds or pushing the boundaries on her own mega-successful solo path, Judd’s ability to reach the heart of the human spirit through her bold and unflinching honesty is the entertainer’s true gift. Respected by the millions of fans who are drawn to her music and to her undeniable talent, Judd’s rich and commanding voice has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide over her epic 29-year career. Joined in the studio by her husband, bandleader and producer Michael “Cactus” Moser, Judd’s highly anticipated eighth studio album is scheduled for release this year. Most recently she published a novel, “Restless Heart,” and was part of “The Judds” docu-series on OWN.” WYNONNA JUDD partners with dancing pro TONY DOVOLANI.”
ZENDAYA COLEMAN — She’ll bring in the younger crowd, because this multi-talented actress and singer stars as Raquel “Rocky” Blue, one half of the comedic duo in the hit Disney Channel series “Shake It Up! She’s also recording her debut album on Hollywood Records.
From the press release: “Born September 1, 1996, in Oakland, California, Coleman grew up as part of the California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda, where her mom works as the House Manager. In addition to training at the theater’s student conservatory program and later performing in numerous stage productions, Coleman helped her mom seat patrons and sell raffle tickets to benefit the theater. While attending the Oakland School for the Arts, she starred as Little Ti Moune in “Once on This Island” at the Berkley Playhouse, and in the breakout role of the male character Joe in “Caroline, or Change” at Palo Alto’s TheaterWorks. She also studied at the CalShakes Conservatory program and at the American Conservatory Theater. She now resides in Los Angeles, California with her family and dog, a giant Schnauzer named Midnight. ZENDAYA COLEMAN partners with VAL CHMERKOVSKIY.”
ANDY DICK — Andy Dick is a super talented comedian, actor, writer, director, musician and producer who grew up in the Chicago area, where he was involved in numerous stage productions. I mostly know him from NBC’s “NewsRadio” and ABC’s “Less Than Perfect.”
From the press release: “During his senior year of high school, his love of performing proved decisive, as he was elected homecoming king. His first regular television role was on the short-lived but influential “Ben Stiller Show.” In 2001 he wrote, directed, produced and starred in “The Andy Dick Show” for MTV. He has also starred in a number of feature films, including “In the Army Now,” “Employee of the Month” and “The Hebrew Hammer.” In addition he has made memorable appearances in feature films such as “Zoolander,” “The Cable Guy,” “Inspector Gadget,” “Road Trip,” “Dude, Where’s My Car?,” “Old School” and “Funny People.” Most recently Dick has had guest appearances on NBC’s “Community,” FX’s “Legit,” the Netflix original series “Bad Samaritans” and CBS’ “Two Broke Girls.” He can regularly be seen performing at theaters and comedy clubs across the country. ANDY DICK joins first-time professional partner SHARNA BURGESS.”
DOROTHY HAMILL — America’s skating sweetheart! If you were around in 1974, you’ll remember that Dorothy Hamill landed the Gold medal at the 1976 Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria at the age of 19.
From the press release: “Overnight she became one of those rare champions who transcends her sport and captures the country’s imagination. As a professional Hamill has skated with many productions, including the Ice Capades for eight years. Four ABC primetime television specials have been produced in her honor, and she has produced and starred in her own touring productions of “Cinderella — Frozen in Time,” “Hansel, Gretel, the Witch and the Cat” and “Nutcracker on Ice.” She won an Emmy Award for her lead role in “Romeo and Juliet.” Hamill has been inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame and the Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Recently she released her memoir, “A Skating Life: My Story,” which made the New York Times bestseller list. DOROTHY HAMILL partners with TRISTAN MacMANUS.
D.L. HUGHLEY — I first came across this comedian on his namesake show on ABC and UPN called “The Hughleys.” A very funny guy I can’t wait to see on “DWTS.”
From the press release: “First and foremost a standup comedian, his fifth standup special, “Reset,” premiered on Showtime in 2012 and is currently available on DVD. Also in the fall of 2012, Hughley penned his first book. He can be seen in the comedic documentary special for Comedy Central entitled “D.L. Hughley: The Endangered List.” Known for being astute and politically savvy, Hughley served as host of the late-night talk show “D.L. Hughley Breaks the News” on CNN. D.L. HUGHLEY partners with CHERYL BURKE. Oh, that’ll be fun.
JACOBY JONES — Since I know nothing about Jacoby, I’ll cut right to the press release! “Jacoby Jones is a professional football player for the Baltimore Ravens, the 2013 Super Bowl Champions. He began his professional career after being drafted by the Houston Texans in 2009 and was signed by the Baltimore Ravens in 2012. Career highlights include matching an NFL record with a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Jones is also the first Raven to post multiple kickoff returns for a touchdown in one season, and is the current record holder for the longest touchdown at the Super Bowl. Career honors include AFC Special Teams Player of the Week, AFC Special Teams Player of the Month, the Associated Press first-team All-Pro and the PFW/PFWA first team All-Pro. Jones was recently featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. JACOBY JONES partners with KARINA SMIRNOFF.”
VICTOR ORTIZ — From the press release: “Victor Ortiz is a living, breathing example of the American dream. From a broken home in a small town in Kansas to the bright lights of the boxing ring, Ortiz has used every obstacle he has encountered along his journey to fuel his strength and attain his dreams. As former Welterweight boxing champion, Ortiz finally found his life’s calling as a world class athlete. The nickname “Vicious” describes Ortiz when he’s in the ring, but his million-dollar smile is a preview to his heart of gold. His ability to connect with people on a human level has kept the spotlight from blinding him. Realizing the importance of hard work, dedication and family at an early age, Ortiz always finds a way to give back. VICTOR ORTIZ partners with newcomer LINDSAY ARNOLD.”
KELLIE PICKLER — Kellie! She is such a sweetie, and a little ball of fire who gained game as a contestant on season five of “American Idol.”
From the press release: Pickler grew up immersed in country music in the small town of Albemarle, North Carolina with the words of Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton shaping her musical footing. At the age of 19 she gained fame as a contestant on the fifth season of “American Idol,” and in 2006 signed to 19 Recordings/BNA Records to release her debut, “Small Town Girl,” which went on to sell over 800,000 copies and produce three singles — “Red High Heels,” “I Wonder” and “Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind.” In 2008 Pickler released her self-titled sophomore record featuring hits “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful,” “Best Days of Your Life” (co-written with Taylor Swift and her first Top 10) and “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You.” Pickler released her third studio album, “100 Proof,” last year, which earned recognition as one of the “Best of 2012” by Rolling Stone and The Washington Post. She has performed on six USO Tours, including one to Afghanistan in December 2012. Newly signed to Black River Entertainment, Pickler is poised to release a new single and album in 2013. KELLIE PICKLER partners with DEREK HOUGH.”
INGO RADEMACHER — Be still, my heart. Fans of the soap opera “General Hospital” (me!), know him as Jasper “Jax” Jacks on ABC’s “General Hospital.” Rademacher originated the role of “Jax,” having first aired on “General Hospital” in January of 1996.
From the press release: “His other television credits include “Hawaii Five-O,” “Titans,” ”Veronica’s Closet” and “According to Jim.” As an athlete, Rademacher has amassed an extraordinary list of accomplishments: As a youth, he was a ski champion and a competitive equestrian. As an adult, he has competed at a high level in beach volleyball and triathlons (winner of the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, celebrity division, for three consecutive years). He took the pole position in the 2005 Long Beach Grand Prix and he recently completed the grueling 32 mile Molokai to Oahu “Channel of Bones” stand-up paddle board race — all this when he wasn’t on the track racing dirt bikes or street bikes. Rademacher moved to Hawaii in 2012 to pursue his passion for the sport of stand-up paddle board racing. He and his wife, Ehiku, have two sons, Peanut and Pohaku. INGO RADEMACHER partners with KYM JOHNSON.”
ALEXANDRA RAISMAN — From the press release: “Just 18 years old, Alexandra Raisman captained the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team to its first team Gold medal since the 1996 Olympic Games. She added the United States’ first ever Gold medal in the floor exercise and also won a bronze on the balance beam, making her the most decorated American gymnast in London. A respected leader, Raisman backboned the women’s victory in the team event at the 2011 World Championships, where they upset Russia to win Gold for the first time since 2007. Raisman has accumulated 19 international medals and eight U.S. Senior National Championship medals, earning a reputation as one of Team USA’s most consistent performers. The eldest of four kids in her family, she comes from a Jewish background and famously performed her Gold medal-winning floor exercise to the traditional Jewish wedding song, “Hava Nagila,” for which she earned worldwide recognition in the Jewish community. ALEXANDRA RAISMAN partners with MARK BALLAS.”
LISA VANDERPUMP — Fans of reality TV will recognized her from “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” but she’s also a restaurateur, designer, author, philanthropist, and producer. From the press release: “In 2013 Bravo launched her reality television show, “Vanderpump Rules,” exploring the intricacies of owning SUR, a sexy, unique restaurant in West Hollywood. The show follows Vanderpump as she balances her motherly instincts with a shrewd business sense while keeping the passionate and volatile staff at her West Hollywood restaurant in line. After years as a restaurateur, Vanderpump showcased her passion for food, decor and lifestyle in her bestselling book, “Simply Divine: A Guide to Easy, Elegant and Affordable Entertaining.” She lives in Beverly Hills with her husband, Ken Todd, and their four dogs. They have two grown children, Pandora and Maxfield. LISA VANDERPUMP partners with newcomer GLEB SAVCHENKO.”
Any favorites from the list? I’m hoping it comes down to Ingo and Wynonna!