Monday, September 24, 2012

Ballroom Is Prepped for 'Dancing With the Stars All-Stars'

WARREN Sapp (Season 7 finalist) will be missed. For a big man, he is incredibly light on his feet.

His financial woes may have contributed to his absence. But there, too, is the fact that the producers probably didn’t want to have two former NFL players on the show or too many athletes, considering that Emmit Smith (Season 3 winner), Hélio Castroneves (Season 5 winner), Shawn Johnson (Season 8 winner) and Apolo Anton Ohno (Season 4 winner) are competing.

If it is not clear by now, this prognosticating is about Dancing With The Stars. Now in its 15 season (two a year), it premieres tonight at 8 EDT on ABC. (See videos of past performances throughtout this article).

In a twist, favorites from seasons past return to compete for the Mirrorball trophy. Another new feature for season 15 of “DWTS” is that the 13th contestant was chosen by voters online. Sabrina Bryan (Season 5) beat out Carson Kressley (Season 13) and Kyle Massey (Season 11) for that coveted spot on this “All-Star” edition. Also competing is Kelly Monaco, the show’s very first winner.

In the various cyberspace chat rooms “DWTS” fans, including Yours Truly, have been very upfront about the cast. Overall, we are pleased, but everyone has his or her favorites and can’t imagine why this one made the show and that one didn’t, hence the short dissertation on WS.

It is only fair that Pamela Anderson (Season 10) is back, since she exited prematurely. She was doing so well – much better than anybody anticipated. Alas, the fan base was just not there – not enough male voters. And PA, a very nice lady, is not the type that most women cotton to very easily.

Another who exited early but who is not back is Lil Kim (Season 8). Once again the fan base was just not there. It’s a treat, though, to witness the return of larger-than-life Kirstie Alley (Season 12 finalist) who famously lost a ton of weight during her “DWTS” run. At 61, she is the oldest contestant, which brings the conversation around to Cloris Leachman (Season 7). Granted, she was awful, but she was awfully fun and funny. It is a snub to the senior citizen set, a large part of the “DWTS”viewing audience, not to have one of their own represented among the All-Stars.

Unless Melissa Wycroft (Season 8 finalist) qualifies, women of color have been snubbed, too. Could not Kristi Yamaguchi (Season 6 winner), Brandy (Season 11), Margaret Cho or Mel B (Season 5 finalist ) have returned or, as cited earlier, LK? It would have been interesting casting to have both PA and LK on the show, since the latter somewhat idolizes the former.

One of the shows most controversial contestants, Bristol Palin (Season 11 finalist) lives to dance another day. Though she danced atrociously, she made it to the finals. It was believed that it was political; some are still upset about this. In answer to a query on an “DWTS” message board, Twinkietoz, wrote “Anybody but Palin” to a question about which stars fans were rooting for. Another won’t watch “until she is gone.” Ouch!

As previously noted, just about every “DWTS” fan has some kind of beef with the selection.

Tomorrow night, Justin Bieberand Pitbull will perform, and the All-Stars will discuss why they returned to the ballroom (has this not been discussed ad nauseam?). By show’s end one of them will be eliminated.

Tonight, though, excitement will be palpable as the All-Stars dance the Cha-cha-cha and Foxtrot. Joey Fatone (Season 4 finalist) and partner Kym Johnsonkick off tonight’s dancing with the cha-cha-cha; ES and Cheryl Burke close it out with the same dance.

Visit to learn more about “Dancing With the Stars.”

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