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Last summer was a pretty good one for reality television. Sure there was The Cut and Who Wants to Be a Hilton (btw, sorry about that sg-dub), not to mention Hit Me Baby One More Time, but we had a number of things that were worth looking forward to. Those falling into the latter category include Beauty and the Geek and Dancing With the Stars, two shows that were entertaining and had formats that seemed like they would work for future seasons. Dancing With the Stars introduced an entire generation to the wonders of ballroom dancing, and if there was only more ballroom dancing, we might be able to keep that generation of young people from going astray. Think I’m wrong? Well, you didn’t see Mad Hot Ballroom, did you? Ballroom dancing among inner city youth is second only to Bono sympathy when it comes to helping poor kids reach their dreams. For all of you who couldn’t care less about poor kids, you will be happy to know that Dancing With the Stars is first concerned with embarrassing lower echelon celebrities, and we here at TVgasm would like to preview the contestants for season 2, which starts next Thursday, January 5th at 8PM on ABC. Continue after the jump for our take on the new season as well as a helpful guide for those who are up for a friendly wager or too.
|Tia Carrere – I have to admit, I don’t know much about most of the women selected, but how can you not know Tia Carrere? Like last year’s winner/ non-winner Kelly Monaco, Tia has been on General Hospital and appeared in Playboy. Unlike Kelly, she has formed what people could call a career using her talent. We will forever remember her playing Wayne’s girlfriend Cassandra in Wayne’s World and Wayne’s World 2, and as hot anthropologists go, she played a good one in True Lies, and once again in the Tomb Raider-eseque Relic Hunter. Tia is known more for her vocal skills (she did all of her vocals in the movies and actually has a solo album) than for her dancing, and although she is beautiful, her height (5’8") might make some of the more difficult lifts and whatnot few and far between. I see her working hard (she’s got a new album to promote!), and they at least found a dance partner that looks strong enough to get through all of the moves. Still, I predict she is this season’s Rachel Hunter. Odds of winning 200 to 1.|
|Lisa Rinna – More people might actually know Lisa Rinna, who people loved to hate as Billie on Days of Our Lives and Taylor on Melrose Place and was layering her hair even before Jennifer Aniston. More recently, she played Lynn Echolls opposite her real-life husband Harry Hamelin, who played her husband Aaron Echolls. She is the co-host of SOAPnet’s Soap Talk, for which she was nominated for a coveted Daytime Emmy, as well as the host of Lifetime’s Merge, which I will probably never see. Lisa also appeared in Playboy, and gets bonus points for being brave enough to do it while pregnant. It’s really hard to judge how she will do in this competition, because collagen injections are no barometer for dancing skills. She will, however, be one of the fan favorites, so don’t expect too early of an exit. Combined with a closely cropped Louis van Amstel might make them the team to beat. Odds of winning 50 to 1.|
|Tatum O’Neal – Although it was once thought that she would be a juggernaut in the acting world after winning an Academy Award for Paper Moon, is now known more for her relationships with more famous people including Michael Jackson, and John McEnroe (married, with three kids). Although the official bio page at ABC describes a prolific acting career, Tatum is known more for prolific drug use. She is paired with Nick Kosovich. Don’t bet on anything other than lots of tearful practice sessions. Odds of winning 500 to 1.|
|Giselle Fernandez – In every cast, there is always one person who stands out among the others as being too normal to be included with the other freaks. That person in this cast is Giselle Fernandez, winner of five Emmys for journalism. While that isn’t quite a Pew or Edward R. Murrow award, she has gone on to make documentaries and children’s books. Maybe she has a big drug addiction or unfound porno tape somewhere, but Giselle seems as normal as you or me. Well, she’s as normal as you; I am kind of a whack job. She is paired with Jonathan Roberts, who had the unfortunate task of whipping Rachel Hunter into shape last year. Giselle is more his size, and her father was a flamenco dancer, so I think the chances are pretty good. Odds of winning 50 to 1.|
|Stacy Keibler – Not to be confused with Kimmy Gibler, I have not yet found a reason why Stacy was included in the cast. I am not necessarily against her being there, but she doesn’t hold a celebrity candle next to any of these other contestants, and she hasn’t even been in Playboy. She is a WWE girl, and you will notice her really long legs, but she spent time in WCW as a Nitro Girl and was trained in ballet, so she might be a little too much of a ringer as well. She is paired with Tony Dovolani, and who am I kidding, I want her to go far because she will at least look hot each and every week. Odds of winning 100 to 1.|
|Drew Lachey – Drew Lachey is the younger brother of Nick Lachey. He was also part of 98 degrees, but because he failed to marry somebody with mountains more talent and money than him, he has failed to make it onto the pop culture radar. Joey McIntyre showed us during the first season that talentless former members of boy bands have what it takes to at least fake their way through the first few episodes. Even if the US Weekly Crowd votes en masse in order to hear Peter Bergeron make a comment about Nick and Jessica, Drew is going to have a hard time going very far. He is paired with Cheryl Burke. Odds of winning 500 to 1.|
|Jerry Rice – Jerry Rice should need no introduction. He is only recently retired from an NFL career that has established him as perhaps the greatest player. EVER. Jerry Rice was known for grace and skill on the football field, but will his ability to run the skinny post give him an edge is the Paso Doblé? Will he display a little more charm with the judges than he has in his last few locker rooms? I’m not sure, but don’t expect Mr. Rice to come to the competition unprepared. He is paired with Russian dancer Anna Trebunskaya, which should at least make for some funny practice scenes if nothing else. Chances of winning 50 to 1.|
|George Hamilton – Is there a better way to describe George Hamilton than the epitome of bon vivant? If you ever watch the movie Where The Boys Are, you may even wonder why he hasn’t done more with his career other than battling Michael Douglas for the all-time facelift procedure record. And please, why isn’t this guy a spokesperson for Mystic Tan? As for his dancing, I am sure that he will have John O’Hurley like chemistry with his partner, and he has the demeanor that I think the judges will love. If he finds time to leave those crazy Robert Evans parties and practice, I seem him going far, especially if they give bonus points for looking good in white khakis and a lavender polo. He is paired with Edyta Sliwinska, who was good enough last year to keep Evander Holyfield in the competition for more than one week. Now THAT is skill. Odds of winning 50 to 1.|
|Master P – Master P’s son, Little something or other, was supposed to be on the show, but apparently he backed out. Master P takes over, which provides us with plenty of opportunities to fit jokes about Ricky Williams contract negotiations and the Samba. If that doesn’t make you want to watch this season, I don’t know what will! There is a lot of dancing in hip-hop, but I am not sure if Master P. was really inclined to get down with his bad self, but black people do have a lot of rhythm, so I don’t think he can suck that badly. I think it will be interesting to see what covers the orchestra does during the Master P portions of the show. Just imagine the Fox Trot to "I Got the Hook Up". Master P is a great athlete, and is paired with Ashley DelGrosso, so this should be a fun tandem. Odds of winning 100 to 1.|
|Kenny Mayne – Kenny Mayne is the other famous athlete among the cast, but a stint as the QB for the University of Nevada-Las Vegas does not really compare to the NFL hall of fame. Still, Kenny Mayne is recognizable celebrity, at least if you have watched Sportscenter in the last 10 years. Some may object to the way he says Home Rrrrrrun every time a player of Latin decent hits a dinger, but I personally think it is genius. Although he wouldn’t be here if ABC and ESPN weren’t intertwined like a couple of two drunk teenagers in the back of an 88 Integra, Kenny has good charisma and is a fighter. Take a look at this picture from his days as a QB. If anybody can survive that haircut and make it into showbusiness, they have what it takes to beat the odds. He is paired with Andrea Hale. Sort of. Odds of winning 250 to 1.|