Televised Talent: Sizing up the Dancing with the Stars cast

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published:

Monday is a very competitive day for my DVR.

In addition to “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Voice,” which promise to consume four hours of my time, there are other shows that my roommate and I both watch, and our DVR had such a hissy fit that we had to record one show at 1 a.m.

What will I be doing that night? I’ll be watching your Board of Education slash its budget, and spend the rest of the week trying to play catch up.

So don’t expect me to blog on this regularly, unless reader demands say so.

But since some of you watch “Dancing with the Stars,” the least I could do is introduce the cast.

So without further ado, here they are:

 

Sean Avery (partnered with Karina Smirnoff)

ABC’s take: He’s a former pro hockey player known for controversy, on and off the ice, and his activism efforts.

My take: Former athletes tend to do well on the show. He probably will stick around for a while.

 

Candace Cameron Bure (partnered with Mark Ballas)

ABC’s take: The former star of Full House is now known as an author who is passionate about her Christian faith.

My take: It wouldn’t be the first time Mark has been partnered with a darling from the conservative movement. (Remember Bristol Palin?) It might be interesting to see him partnered with somebody who can give him a run for his money. Candace promises not to be nearly as whiny as Bristol, and the conservative fan base will ensure that she sticks around for a while.

 

Drew Carey (partnered with Cheryl Burke)

ABC’s Take: The stand-up comic turned actor has a habit of multi-tasking. His hit television shows — “The Drew Carey Show” and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” — ran simultaneously. This, they hint, means that he can balance his gig on “The Price is Right” with his dancing duties.

My take: OK, seriously, the boy has lost a lot of weight in recent years. That said, his demographic is way older (my 70-something parents love him on his “Price is Right” gig.) But around here, he’ll always be known as a Cleveland native and a former KSU student. So if local interest says anything, we hope he sticks around for a while. Plus, I love Cheryl.

 

Meryl Davis (partnered with Maksim Chmerkovskiy) and her skating partner Charlie White (partnered with Sharna Burgess)

ABC’s take: The couple is the longest-running ice dancing partnership in the history of United States figure skating.

My take: Ice dancers and professional singers (who usually dance on stage) are usually the ringers of the competition. They are naturally gifted at dancing, and that translates well in the ballroom. Expect both of them to stick around for a while. But Maks is back? I really thought the bad boy of the ballroom was history. Dare to dream. I hope he doesn’t put Meryl through too much grief.

 

NeNe Leakes (partnered with Tony Dovolani)

ABC’S take: The former “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star has also starred in comedies, most recently the short-lived “New Normal.” 

My take: Poor Tony. He always gets the strong-willed women who don’t always understand the restrictions of ballroom. I’m not sure comedians fit with the show’s demographic. (Remember Margaret Cho and Niecy Nash? Yeah, I don’t really remember much about them either.) I like her, but her stay on the show may be short-lived. Or not. She may surprise us, like Kirstie Alley did. And Kirstie didn’t even have a partner as good as Tony.

If the “twist” assigns her to a new partner, I vote for Maks. She won’t take any of his grief.

 

James Maslow (partnered with Peta Murgatroyd)

ABC’s take: He is best known as the star of the hit television series “Big Time Rush” and as a member of the worldwide bestselling music group of the same name.

My take: Ah, here we have the obligatory former Disney Channel star, ABC’s nod to its owners. They usually end up being somewhere in the middle of the pack. It’s hard for people to imagine them all grown up.

 

Danica McKellar (partnered with Valentin Chmerkovskiy)

ABC’s take: She is best known as Winnie Cooper on “The Wonder Years” and Elsie Snuffin on “The West Wing,” and went on to become a New York Times bestselling author of books that make math cool for girls.

My take: Am I the only one who wondered briefly if she had left acting and went into NASCAR? (Oops, wrong Danica.) I expect her to make dancing as cool as she makes math cool. It helps that she has the good Chmerkovskiy brother.

 

Diana Nyad (partnered with first-time professional partner Henry Byalikov)

ABC’s take: Last year, millions of people rooted her on when she at long last achieved her 35-year-old dream of becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida. The 64-year-old Nyad said, “You’re never too old to chase your dreams.”

My take: If she achieves her dream of winning the mirrorball trophy, she’ll achieve another dream. But it’s not a good sign that she was partnered with the new guy. Then again, he might surprise us.

 

Amy Purdy (partnered with Derek Hough)

ABC’s take: Purdy, who lost her legs at age 19, earned a bronze medal in snowboarding at the recent 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia. She is the top-ranked adaptive snowboarder in the U.S. and three-time World Cup Para-snowboard winner. She has been named as one of the top 15 most marketable Para-athletes in the world. 

My take: The fact that she’s been partnered with Derek, a mirrorball winner, is a very, very good sign. She’s also not the first amputee to compete on the show.

 

Cody Simpson (partnered with first-time professional partner Witney Carson)

ABC’s take: A 17-year-old pop star who has “taken the world by storm” (by virtue of his Facebook likes and YouTube views). He’s also toured with the Biebs.

My take: Um, excuse me, who is he? Not to mention, his partner? Who is she?

 

Billy Dee Williams (partnered with Emma Slater)

ABC’s take: Often touted as the “black Clark Gable,” he’s starred in everything from “Lady Sings the Blues” to “Star Wars” and most recently, “The Lego Movie.”

My take: Let’s see if he can come across as smooth on the dance floor as he has been on the silver screen. Unless he really surprises us, I look for him to be somewhere in the middle of the pack. Even if he’s as stiff as other former senior competitors, his fan base should ensure he’s not the first one sent home.

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