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Rehearsal Videos from ABC!

These are nice. :-)

Derek and Jojo – cute. Surprising, in a good way. ;-)

Mark and Melissa – hoping these vids are from early on.

Mark and Lacey – man’s got some moves!

Chuck Liddell and Anna T. – Um. Okay.

September 15, 2009 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Dancing with the Stars Season 9 News – Week of September 7, 2009

We have VARIETY this week!! At least one person we haven’t heard from before, and a video of another that rather defies expectations, I think. And then there are the things that make you go, ‘WTF?’ We’ll start with things that make you go ‘WTF’. Mark Ballas finding his way into People Online talking about Maks and Karina? In what universe is that appropriate? Bad Marky. :-) I know that Maks and Karina spent time at Derek and Shannon’s house, but I didn’t realize you two were so tight that you would discuss him with People. Derek and Cheryl also supposedly weighed in with a “it won’t affect the show, they’re professionals, blah blah blah” but that’s standard verbiage when asked questions by paparazzi. Mark goes a little further.

“He’s doing okay but he’s not happy,” says Ballas, who spoke to Chmerkovskiy Wednesday night for several hours. “I know he loved Karina. He loved her very much.”

Ballas says he doesn’t know why his fellow dancers split but was “shell-shocked” when he learned the news. “I don’t really know who made the decision but obviously he’s upset,” Ballas tells PEOPLE.

Other DWTS pros Derek Hough and Cheryl Burke said the split wouldn’t affect the hit show. “They have been dancing together for years, so they will be fine,” Burke says.

Ballas, who has been friends with Chmerkovskiy for 14 years, says reports that Chmerkovskiy’s family did not warm up to Smirnoff were untrue.

“I highly doubt that,” he says. “Neither his dad or his mom really speak English. I don’t know where that come from.”

Despite sounding “low” during their phone conversation, Ballas says, Chmerkovskiy is finding joy in his new dancing partner.

Next? Maks and Karina speak for themselves on Entertainment Tonight:

Stars past and present handicap this seasons celebs on Extra:

Next up – Kathy Ireland and Tony Dovolani on Extra!! She’s seems like such a nice woman, but I’m afraid for her on this show. She claims she’s “clumsy”. Not good.

As most of you have probably heard, Derek Hough and Julianne Hough were up for an Outstanding Choreography Emmy and did not win. But, Derek was correct yesterday when he said it was an honor to be included in that event:

Met Derek Hough at yesterday’s Creative Arts Emmys and decided he was too cute not to make my Morning Man today.

Derek was nominated for his Dancing With the Stars choreography but lost out to some dude from So You Think You Can Dance.

Derek said of his Emmy chances: “I’m not expecting to win, I’m just very happy to be here. It’s an honor. I’m honored and privileged to be a part of such a fantastic show and to be able to create and choreograph these things out of thin air is a lot of fun and I love it.”

I reminded Derek that some of the contestants got injured last season so would be take it a little easier on the choreography?

“No, on the contrary,” he said. “We always have to kind of up our game and make it a bit more daring and exciting each season. I think we should take care of ourselves a little bit more that’s all.”

He went with Joanna Krupa and lord knows they looked Gorgeous, both of them. One photo below, a whole bunch more at PureDerekHough.

2009 Creative Arts Emmy Awards, Nokia Theatre, Los Angeles, California

Speaking of Joanna, she’s heavily featured in this paparazzi video from Friday night when she was out with Derek and another friend. She actually seems like a cool girl, IMO. I’d hang out with her. You have to listen to a couple non-DWTS people and then Derek kisses the women good night and we have Joanna. And Derek being a responsible boy and taking a cab home. :-)

September 13, 2009 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Dancing with the Stars Season 9 News – Week of September 1, 2009

Goodness gracious – a week of seven videos some of which highlight people other than Donny Osmond.  You guys already saw the Derek/Joanna stuff I captured, here’s the rest of it, starting with Aaron/Karina and Ashley/Edyta.  Love Karina’s outfit.

Kelly Osbourne – I just love her. I think the audience will love her too. I love how she takes responsibility for her own actions.

Tom DeLay. And that’s all I’m saying about that. :-)

Michael Irvin and Anna Demidova on the Donny Osmond Entertainment Net….I mean Entertainment Tonight. :-)

And the injury hype begins….NOW!! You have now come to the Donny Osmond portion of our program. :-) I gotta give a minor prop to anyone who tells Marie to “shut up” though. Point for Donny.

A story on Donny and Marie, peripherally related to DWTS.

Finally, Mark Dacascos and Lacey Schwimmer. Bit of an audio sync issue with this one, but you’ll get the gist. I had no clue that Mark is as old as he is. Impressive.

September 7, 2009 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Health Watch and Debi Mazar on DWTS 9

Debi and Maks

This first article, from Entertainment Weekly, seriously cracks me up – it’s titled ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Health Watch. Fantastic concept, considering the fiasco that was last season which had more injuries than were even widely reported. The ignored injuries belonged to Lil’ Kim and Derek; ribs and knee, respectively. While this article claims that everyone is injury free, that’s not quite true. If you watch all the celebs and pros on twitter, you know that Derek has hurt his back/neck (again) and Mark Dacascos has a hurt foot. This article mentions, but downplays, the foot – not as sexy as a popped rib, I guess. ;-)

The 16 contestants for Dancing With the Stars‘ ninth season have all survived their first two weeks of rehearsal (despite this photo of Donny Osmond on the ground and Mark Dacascos’ much-publicized bruised sole). The celebs, who had various start dates from August 17 through August 21, were given training guidelines for the first time in the show’s history. Why? “When they do the show in the UK, people take it much more like it’s a bit of fun, but Americans are so competitive,” exec producer Conrad Green told us when the cast was first announced. “Everyone comes into it, ‘Oh, this is a bit of fun, it’s a bit of fun… Ohmygosh, look at his quickstep, it’s incredible! I’ve got to do better!’ We do spend most of our time encouraging people to just relax a little.”

“Once the first two weeks are out of the way, there should be sufficient muscle development and muscle memory to help cope with the trauma of training,” Green said. Which means: Game on! The contestants are now on their own.

Article number two appears to be a rehearsal blog from Debi Mazar (who I root for when Derek and Joanna aren’t looking) from, a blog celebrating women over 40. Some excerpts are below, but I highly recommend going to the site and reading the whole thing.

It’s been an enlightening experience: I’ve found out that I’ve been dancing sloppily for 30 years. I grew up in New York and I’ve been to salsa clubs and discos; Madonna and I used to enjoy dancing together “back in the day,” just going out and shaking it on the dance floor. But I guess we were more into freestyle, and when you go into a ballroom dancing situation it’s extremely purist in form.

I have no formal dance training, so it’s been challenging because for the first time I’m watching myself in the mirror. I do have rhythm but I don’t have form. Because I’ve had two children and two C-sections, I don’t feel like I have core strength. I lost my baby weight, but I haven’t gone back to the gym; I don’t have time. But I look like a dancer, and it’s kind of working against me, because everyone goes, “Oh, you look so great, you’re going to be fabulous!” And it’s like, but I’m out of shape! Why is size a factor? Why are you saying just because my arms are defined, which is god-given—I haven’t lifted a damn dumbbell in years—that that means I can sell it?

I have to work really hard because I’m completely uncoordinated. Maks says left, I go right; he says flex, I point. I’ve become dyslexic out of pressure. And he’ll throw me into a pose and say, “Oh, that hurts?” Yeah, it hurts! He’s always telling me how he threw Mel B. into a split, and saying, “You’ll be doing splits by the end of this.” And I’m like, “Listen, I have no desire to do a split. I didn’t do a split when I was 12, or 20, or 30, and I’m definitely not doing it at 45. And if you do a split with me I’m going to kick you in the balls and you’re going to end up in the hospital, I’m going to end up in the hospital, and we’re going to be eliminated! My legs are going to snap off like a Barbie doll’s!”

I love her. I would love to see her kick Maks in the balls, just to see the fireworks. I’m really twisted that way. :-)

My first week I was really broken and in pain because I hadn’t had a workout like that in a couple of years. And I picked up my daughter from camp and I was sort of crying a little bit in the car, and she goes, “Mommy, it’s not about winning.” I’m like, “You’re right, but unfortunately it is a contest and I want to stick around, I want to be good.” The thing is, I’m not a competitive person but I’m competitive with myself. So I have tried to take this on as a character study: I’ve gotten the spray tan, which is actually required because of the lighting, and the outfits are up to your crotch—I’m not used to showing off my body, and I’m dancing in a bikini, basically. I’ve gotten the nails, because it gives you pretty hands.

September 4, 2009 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

New Rehearsal Pictures – DWTS Season 9

Entertainment Tonight posted a bunch of Rehearsal Pictures – click the link because I haven’t posted all of them here!

Goodness! Derek and Joanna? HOT. Kathy Ireland? Gorgeous. Kelly O? Love her. Louie? Cute, cute, cute. :-)

September 1, 2009 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Derek Hough Tweets about the LA Wild Fires

Derek’s tweets were picked up by USA Today, as were some by Donnie Wahlberg.  Here’s what they say about Derek:

Time for a Twitter break. From Dancing With The Stars pro Derek Hough just 29 minutes ago: “Smoky smoky smoky … I can’t believe these fires, my eyes are itchy from the ash ..”

These fires are truly scary.

There was lots of twitter activity today – almost like the kids got together and decided to have a contest. ;-)

Here are Derek’s most recent:
derek tweet in n out

Here’s the picture to go with it – don’t have to worry about him wasting away this season like he did last. :-)
Derek in n out 2

Just before that….
Derek 2

The before picture -

before fires

The after picture (so much for the Derek/Shannon break up – both pics are from Shannon’s house)-

wild fires 2

Everyone being threatened by these horrible fires – you’re in our prayers.

On a lighter note – Kelly Osborne tweeted a picture of herself. She’s looking FANTASTIC!! Great job, Kelly!
Kelly O after photo shoot
kellyO tweets

Mark Ballas thought he would post a flattering picture of his partner. :-) Really, she’s much cuter than this. :-)
Melissa twit pic
He thinks it’s hilarious. He then proceeds to flirt with his girlfriend. Mark, take a note…. :-)
Marky B twitter

I swear to god, if it weren’t for Mark Ballas having a twitter addiction, I would think that abc told them all to tweet on tuesdays. Because, Lacey and Chelsie AND Chuck Liddell all weigh in – keep in mind that all this tweeting is taking place in about a three hour time period.

Chuck tweets a nice picture:
Chuck and Anna rehearsing

Lacey’s picture makes me even more convinced she has a contender – for some reason. Maybe because he’s hot. :-)
Mark D and Lacey

Chelsie’s picture is, I think, not from today. I’ve completely lost track. Whoever was telling me not to underestimate Louie because he’s cute – you were RIGHT. He’s a little (very little) cutie. :-)
Chelsie and Louie practicin'

If you want to follow the celebs and the pros on Twitter, you can visit our Twitter Post and click the links to the various pros and celebs for whom we have found Twitter pages.  They’re often quite entertaining. ;-) Derek is winning so far, with that twit pic of himself – Louie and Mark D – start takin’ stuff off. ;-)

I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Twitter Round-Up

Hello all! I did a quick round-up of what the stars and pros are tweeting. There are a lot of cool pictures and gives us some insight on how great the first shows are going to be. (Just a note that the only editing to the posts is censoring any obscenities)

Tom Bergeron

Reading tweets from some of our season 9 cast. They’re all hard at work. I don’t start for two weeks. Makes me almost feel guilty. Almost.

   *Looks like us fans aren’t the only ones interested in what this season’s cast is tweeting.

Joanna Krupa

couldnt sleep cause i am sore from head to toe…long day of rehearsals yesterday. taking my aleve now

had a great salsa lesson by my kick a** partner! he rocks…now need to tan!

   *Should I tell her that Advil works better? I love that the stars are already tanning.

Aaron Carter


Aaron and Karina - crazy

    *I completely agree Aaron. I cannot wait to see how this is going to be worked into their dance.

Tom Delay

I am back from LA. The photo shoot was so much fun. It was like going to Disneyland. You know politics is showbiz too.

In LA for rehearsals and title shoots. Also learning two dances. Cheryl says I am progressing very well.

After two dance sessions I can tell you Cheryl Burke is the most patient person I have ever met.

   *I wonder how they are going to pan out…maybe she’s over getting stuck with “the old guy” (See Heidi’s post DWTS Season 9 News).

Melissa Joan Hart

Learned the basic foxtrot and jive today!! Good stuff. Feet are hurting and back is sore. Yay!!

Wow! The chacha will make your abs rockin!!! No more crunches, just need to chachacha!

Team Melarky

   *Don’t they look so cute together? She has learned 3 dances already…are these for the first shows or is this just preparation? And I think it’s time to start learning the cha-cha myself…I hate crunches!

Chuck Liddell

Went to my first costume fitting today. This is going to be interesting…

   *It IS going to be interesting and I can’t wait to see what they get him to wear,

Debi Mazar

This is ME now..I’m afraid that I will have this face during my routine.Today was rough..near tears.I sucked! 

   *I love this pic but I hate that she had such a rough day. Hopefully, it’ll get better for her.

Just got my 1st spray tan for DWTS,funny!St.Tropez brand,doesn’t smell! look like I just got off a boat off of Italian Coast.for promo shoot

Sadly I discover that I’m uncordinated..After 30 yrs on NYC dance floors,I thought i was the “s***”.I had a wake up call this 1st week!oy!

   *LOL! This makes me laugh.

Karina Smirnoff is sexy ,amazing&and as actress,she is MY character study!GOD,she ROCKS!I only wish I can pull off her moves!!!BELLA!!!!

Kelly Osbourne

 sorry this pic is not that good but this is me and louis playing around at our photo-shoot yesterday

Kelly and Louis

   *Looks like they are having a lot of fun together.

Mark Dacascos

Foot is getting better. Bruise on the sole is almost gone, a little residual inflammation. Ice, heat, as much as possible. Must be fit t…

*Our first celeb injury? Hopefully, he’ll be better and no more injuries for anyone.


Chelsie Hightower

Taking a break.. Got our music today, “it’s my life” by No Doubt?? How am I gonna pull off a foxtrot to that?!

   *Umm, yeah…that song doesn’t really say “foxtrot” to me.

Derek Hough

Joanna is doing better .. lookin good .. Worked on a little ballroom frame aswell .

I always hurt my neck every season , I guess it’s better now then later … Frustrating pain ..

Here’s a little peak of what we did today

hubba hubba
   *Heidi this is for you…and for everyone else. Derek, thank you for this! Oh, and I hope your neck feels better.

Louis Van Amstel

Our first solo dance is a ballroom dance.The dance originating in the capital of Austria.Our relay dance is the dance w 3 of d same words

   *Okay, I really don’t understand this after the second sentence. Can anyone translate? And what the heck is a relay dance.

No kickingin in the nuts today. @MissKellyO learnt the whole routine today.It’s still rough,but i think u might b in 4 a surprise…

Oh,yeah..i forgot to tell all of you @MissKellyO kicked me in the nuts yesterday.She decided to just pull up her other knee!!!Kinda hurt….

   *Poor Louis! I’m excited about this surprise…

MaksI think I got one of the hardest working people as my partner. I’m really enjoying our rehearsals. I think Debi will do great!


   *Seems like they are going to be a good pairing…even if she was having a rough day it’s good to know she’s still working hard.

Mark Ballas

Cha cha time!!!!!!!!!!! Wahoo!


Melissa doing GREAT today, moving what I like to call SMOOTH!!!

   *I’m glad that she’s doing well and Mark is one of my favorites so I hope the Team Melarky does well!

Just a quick note that almost all of the celebs have Twitter accounts (not all verified) but not all of them mentioned DWTS or if they did…it just didn’t seem interesting to me. This is a previous article that has links to all of the DWTS season 9 Twitter accounts if you want to see more.

I Written By

DWTS Season 9 Individual Cast Photos

Kelly OsbourneThat title doesn’t sound right to me. Hmmm. Anyway, Daemon’s TV has all the individual shots of the celebs and the pros – I uploaded some of the pairs previously, but these are new.  And I have to tell you, I find some of them very amusing.  For a variety of reasons. ;-)  Here are a few that I found interesting/amusing/strange – I’ll let you guess why I posted each one. :-) Well, I’ll tell you right now, I posted Kelly and Edyta because I thought both of them were beautiful.

Mark DacascosDonny OsmondMichael IrvinAlec MazoJonathan RobertsAnna TrebunskayaEdyta Season 9

August 29, 2009 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

DWTS Season 9 – A Whole Lotta Video

There was a cast party last night and as a result we have lots and lots of paparrazzi video to peruse.  First up is  PopTV – gang, these videos are LONG.  But they cover nearly every single celeb and pro, so you might find them interesting.  I confess, I have not watched them all yet. There aren’t enough hours in the day. The first one has some non-DWTS content. Be patient. :-)


Paparazzi Henry – a lot of the pros seem to have a good relationship with this dude:

Derek, Mark, Melissa and Joanna – having way too much fun.

Video of Derek and Joanna from Hollywood TV – no embed code so click THIS LINK

That’s all for now. If I find more, I’ll post it!!!

August 26, 2009 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

DWTS Season 9 – Preliminary Power Rankings

Greetings all! I’m Courtney, and I’m super pumped that I’ll be doing this season’s power rankings.  Being that I’ve been an amateur ballroom dancer for the past 6 years, I tend to really get down to the “nitty gritty” of choreography and technique, but I’m also a sucker for an entertaining and likeable contestant, regardless of how good or bad they may have danced.  I’m definitely looking forward to see how things pan out this season (16 couples…wow!), and I look forward to seeing what you guys think as well :-)

Since we now know all of the celebs and all of their pro partners, I thought I would do a preliminary power ranking based solely on each celeb’s previous dance/athletic experience & overall likeability.  In addition, I have also taken into account their pro partner’s likeability and fan base, as the pro’s themselves have taken on an almost celeb status through the years, and many of them have almost as big a fan base as the celebs they teach (can you imagine how many teen voters tune into DWTS each week in the hopes that they might catch a glimpse of a bare-chested Mark or Derek?).  So without further ado, here they are…I’m curious to see what you guys think, so please, all feedback is appreciated!

1.) Mya & Dmitry Chaplin - Mya has, arguably, the most previous dance experience of any of this season’s celebs.  She had ballet & jazz training from the age of 2, and later picked up tap as well, and was good enough to land a spot performing with Savion Glover of the Dance Theater of Harlem (for those of you unfamiliar with him, he is to tap what Clint Eastwood is to Hollywood – a pretty big deal!).  She’s also fairly recognizable, as she’s a Grammy-winning recording artist and has had bit parts in a few movies (anyone remember her as Vern’s fiance in Shall We Dance?). And Mya is SEXY…I don’t see her as someone who would be timid on the dance floor. Dmitry also has a following of his own from his SYTYCD days, and now also has an Emmy nomination under his belt for the Argentine tango he choreographed for season 4 of SYTYCD.  For me, this is the couple to beat.

2.) Donny Osmond & Kym Johnson – Do I honestly think that Donny will outdance the 14 other couples in this competition? Absolutely not…but I think his fame alone (especially with female baby boomers) will make him a contender this season.  Granted, Donny has SOME dance experience from his years performing with The Osmonds, but I’m not sure it’s enough to outshine trained dancers like Debi or Aaron.  But think back to season 5, and the juggernaut that was Marie Osmond, who made it to the finals despite mediocre scores from the judges.  He also has an advantage in having Kym, who I find to be one of the more consistent & likeable pros on the show.  I don’t think these two have the “juice” to win the whole thing, but I definitely think they’ll be around for awhile.

3.) Debi Mazar & Maksim Chmerkovskiy - Little known fact: Debi began her career as a hip-hop B-girl in New York, and has appeared in 4 Madonna videos…so she is no stranger to dance.  She’s also appeared in quite a few movies, so she’s a fairly recognizable actress (another fun fact: She appeared in Beethoven’s 2nd with another season 9 celeb – Ashley Hamilton).  Debi is known for her roles as feisty, tough women, so that could be an advantage when it comes to aggressive dances like the paso doble & tango – however, it could also hurt her if she butts heads with her equally as feisty partner, Maks.  I see Maks as one of the more popular pros on the show (especially with the ladies), so I see this pair having some staying power.

4.) Mark Dacascos & Lacey Schwimmer – Ok, so maybe he isn’t a household name, but once people see him, the lightbulb comes on: “Ohhh, that Iron Chef guy!”.  You might also recognize him from martial arts films such as Cradle 2 The Grave, where he squared off with Jet Li. His expertise in martial arts could definitely be a strong advantage for him this season – I think he could be this season’s Gilles Marini, the lesser-known actor with a martial arts background that takes the competition by storm.  Did I mention he’s also pretty easy on the eyes? It’s never been a disadvantage in this competition (at least for the men) to be good-looking.  And he’s lucked into getting fan-fave Lacey as his partner, who I have found to have an almost cult-like following from both SYTYCD & the past two seasons of DWTS.  A hot combo, these two!

5.) Aaron Carter & Karina Smirnoff - About 11 years ago, during my awkward teenage years, I attended a Backstreet Boys concert where Aaron was the opening act.  I was amazed with the ease at which this kid was cartwheeling, handspringing, and flipping all over the stage…and he was only 10 at the time! Aaron’s got a background in gymnastics, as well as some hip-hop experience from his years as a pop act.  However, he also has a bit of a checkered past: troubles with substance abuse and the demise of several romantic relationships have made several tabloid covers, which may make him a bit less “likeable” to viewers.  But I could also see mom’s latching onto him as a sort of son-type figure, a la Cody Linley.  I think Karina is also one of the strongest female pros on the show, and has a knack for choreographing to showcase her partner’s strengths while hiding their weaknesses. These two could either be really good or really bad – I’m crossing my fingers it’s the former.

6.) Melissa Joan Hart & Mark Ballas – Could they have picked a more adorable, likeable gal to be on this season of DWTS? I find Melissa to be a prime example of a “girl next door” type – or rather the girl upstairs type, as she played on Clarissa Explains It All.  And she “bewitched” (pun intended) audiences for 7 seasons as a lovable teenager with magical powers on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.  I don’t know that she has any real dance experience, but, like Donny, I think she’ll be a contender based on star power alone.  And I think  reigning 2-time champ Mark has the chops (and the female following) to keep this pair going in the competition, regardless of the judge’s scores. These two also have an adorable moniker for their partnership – “Malarky”, which could help them to claim the spot as this season’s “cute” couple, much like Shawn & Mark last season.

7.) Joanna Krupa & Derek Hough – Models have generally not fared so well on the show.  And I’m afraid Joanna’s recent obscenity-laden tyrade against Terrell Owens on this summer’s reality show The Superstars could make her look a bit, er, “witchy” in the eyes of female viewers.  But the ladies love Derek Hough (ask Heidi!), and they want to keep him in the competition to watch him week after week.  Not only that, but I find Derek’s choreography to be very clever and entertaining (think last season’s “Jailhouse Rock” jive with Lil Kim), so this pair could get by on Derek’s skill & popularity alone.  They’re also both young & good-looking, which seems to be an advantage in romantic dances like the rumba & waltz.

8.) Kathy Ireland & Tony Dovolani – Echoing my sentiments above, models seem to really struggle on this show (remember first-round cast-offs Josie Maran & Paulina Porizkova?).  However, Kathy Ireland seems to be one of the world’s most recognizable supermodels, appearing in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue 13 years in a row, as well as owning a clothing line and writing 5 books.  I think her level of fame could keep her around for a little while.  Tony is a fairly experienced pro on the show, too, so maybe their collective “fame” will help carry them through week after week.  They’re also well matched in stature (she’s 5’10″; he’s over 6′), which actually makes more of a difference (especially in the smooth dances, such as the waltz & foxtrot) than you might think!

9.) Ashley Hamilton & Edyta Sliwinska – I had to really rack my brain to think of a movie that Ashley had been in – and all I came up with was Beethoven’s 2nd (he was Nicholle Tom’s sleazy boyfriend).  I did, however, remember his reputation as a bit of a partier, and his infamous 5-month marriage to Shannon Doherty.  Oh, and he’s season 2 celeb George Hamilton’s son.  I daresay Ashley might have a bit more to prove on the show given his iffy recognizability (on many messages boards I encountered, people thought he was a girl!), but he’s got Edyta, the only pro to be on all 9 seasons of the show, and they both are attractive individuals.  If Ashley really works hard, I could see him moving up in the ranks.

10.) Natalie Coughlin & Alec Mazo – Olympic athletes seem to really thrive on the show (think Shawn Johnson & Apolo Ohno), so I think Natalie might have a lot to prove.  But she is an athlete, so she may be able to withstand the grueling pace of the show.  She has Alec, who, despite having choreography that the judges like, always seems to blend into the background for me.  I fear that this pair might get lost in the shuffle, and may get forgotten by America when it comes time to vote. 

11.) Michael Irvin & Anna Demidova - I’m a bit indecisive about this couple: on one hand, Michael is a former NFL Hall-of-Famer, and NFL players have generally done well on the show – however, he is also no stranger to controversy, having a few brushes with the law throughout the years.  I fear that viewers might not like that, and may not vote as a result, even if he is quite good.  But he does have Anna, who proved herself during last year’s pro competition and was voted by America to be part of this season’s cast, so she’s got a following…she also seems to know how to bring out the best in her partner, as evidenced by her tango with Maurice Greene last season.  I have my fingers crossed with this pair as well – I would really like to see more of Anna.

12.) Chuck Liddell & Anna Trebunskaya – Not gonna lie – Chuck scares me! He’s a very intimidating guy,but I guess that comes with the territory when you’re a mixed-martial arts champion.  So here’s my dilemma: the only precedents we have for professional “fighters” on the show are Evander Holyfield (the 2nd contestant voted out in season 1) and Floyd Mayweather (4th voted out in season 5) – and neither did exceedingly well.  I fear that Chuck may fall prey to the problem of being rather “heavy” on his feet – however, he is extremely strong (which helps with lifts & stunts), and is obviously no stranger to grueling training, so he may be able to push through and really improve week after week.  Anna has been out of the DWTS game since season 6 (due to the fact that she was one of the top ranked International Latin competitors in the country and was still competing as a pro - not an easy feat!), so she may not have quite as much of a following as some of the other pros…however, I think that at least some of Chucks MMA fans might tune in and vote for him, which could tip the scales in their favor.

13.) Louie Vito & Chelsie Hightower – Some of you are probably very shocked about my placement of this couple – let me explain.  I think these two may have a lot of work to do based solely on the fact that not many people outside of the extreme sports venue have heard of Louie Vito (to quote my mother, “Wasn’t he in The Godfather?”).  Looking back to previous seasons of DWTS, we can see that decent dancers are often voted out before their time simply because they don’t have the fan base to vote for them (I thought Ted McGinley in season 7 was great – but no one seemed to know who he was!) However, Louie is an athlete, so he is definitely not a stranger to getting physical, and Chelsie has some popularity from both her time on SYTYCD & last season of DWTS.  If these two hit the ground running the first week and keep up the good work, they could be around for awhile.

14.) Kelly Osbourne & Louis Van Amstel -  Oh Kelly…I sincerely hope your years as a foul-mouthed teen on The Osbournes and stint in rehab have not disgraced you in the eyes of the American public! While I adore Kelly’s quirky, edgy style and multiple tattoos, I don’t know that the rest of America will, and may not vote as a result.  However, Kelly has lost quite a bit of weight through diet and exercise in recent years, so she may surprise us all.  Louis has also been away from the pro role on DWTS since season 6, but he has definitely not fallen off the radar, performing in group numbers on the show & choreographing for the most recent season of SYTYCD.

15.) Macy Gray & Jonathan Roberts – Macy has been out of the spotlight for a few years now (her last album came out in 2007), and Jonathan has been as well (he returned last season after being absent since season 6, only to be voted out the first round).  I worry this could hinder them in votes, as well as the fact that Macy is not an athlete - I think having at least some experience in a sport (or any form of movement) seems to help when learning any kind of dance, so compared to a lot of her competition this season, Macy may be at a disadvantage.  She does, however, have an advantage in the fact that she is a mother of 3, which may endear her to the many moms that tune into the show. 

16.) Tom DeLay & Cheryl Burke – Poor, poor Cheryl Burke.  Someone had to take him on this season, and I guess she drew the short straw.  At 62, he is the oldest contestant this season (and a non-athlete), so he may not be able to keep up with young, athletic powerhouses like Louie & Natalie.  He’s also a former politician – a disgraced former politician.  I think that alone will make him hard for America to rally behind, and may be his undoing in this competition.  However, we have no precedents for politicians on the show, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the votes fall. I have a feeling that any chance of success this pair has this season will hinge upon Cheryl’s instruction and choreography.  She’s a two-time DWTS champ, and is known for her “tough love” approach to teaching, which seems to bring out the best in her partners…so if anyone can keep Tom in the competition, it’s Cheryl!

So there you have it…my initial predictions for this season’s 16 couples.  Who will end up on top and who will get stuck at the bottom of the heap? We’ll see!

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Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at!