It’s been a few days now since the cast of Dancing with the Stars’ 13thseason has been public knowledge and boy has there been a lot of controversy about this one. Now that the pro dancers being partnered with the celebrities have also been announced, it appears that controversy isn’t going to die down any time soon.
While it seems producers have once again ignored what I felt to be excellent suggestions on my part, I think this season will actually be pretty good. There are always stars that are bound to fail right from the start, the stars you know won’t stick around past the first elimination, there will also be at least one star that performs better than anyone expected. Let’s take a look at season 13’s Dancing with the Starscelebs and their pro partners.
Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya
A lot of people are a little peeved to see out and proud Carson (known mostly for his work on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and How to Look Good Naked) paired with a female dancer but producers have defended the decision saying the show has always tried to stick with the traditional ballroom competition format which often doesn’t include same sex couples. I think it would’ve been nice to see Carson teamed up with one of the male pros but I can understand the decision as well, assuming it was made for the reason stated. All the same, Carson should do well with Anna.
If you recall, Anna was partnered with Sugar Ray Leonard last season and did a fabulous job. While they were eliminated early in the competition (too early as far as I’m concerned), Anna got some great performances out of someone who wasn’t really a great dancer. She’s tough but gets the job done and her choreography choices always take her partner’s strengths and weaknesses into account. I have always enjoyed her work and I think this couple could really surprise a lot of people.
Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer
When I referred to this season’s controversy in the into, I’m sure it was pretty obvious I was referring to the show’s first transgender contestant, Chaz Bono. To be honest, I’m not really sure what the big deal is. People seemed outraged that he would be paired with a female dancer but that outrage seems a bit silly to me. Chaz is legally a man. Being that Dancing with the Starsseems intent on having opposite sex couples, it makes logical sense that he would be paired with a woman. It also just so happens Chaz is paired with one of my favorite female pros on the show; Lacey Schwimmer.
Lacey got her start on So You Think You Can Dance’s third season but has been a pro on Dancing with the Starson and off since season seven. Last season, Lacey was partnered with the adorable Mike Catherwood who, despite plenty of personality, couldn’t dance a lick and the two were the first to be eliminated. Lacey has tons of personality and a very relaxed, easy going teaching style yet she can be tough when she needs to be. I think Chaz and Lacey are going to have a great time together and I bet Chaz is going to be a better dancer than people expect. I just hope America gives him a chance and votes for him if he earns it.
Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani
I’m pretty excited to see this songbird strut her stuff on Dancing with the Stars. Known primarily for her work with 80’s pop group Wilson Phillips and her famous family (her parents are John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas and her siblings include Bijou Phillips and Mackenzie Phillips), I believe Chynna is really going to impress. She’s a performer through and through and her background in music as both a member of Wilson Phillipsand a solo artist should help her with that all important musicality. I’m really looking forward to seeing Chynna on the dance floor.
Tony Dovolani hasn’t had an easy go of it with partners. Last season he had the hard headed but passionate Wendy Williams who didn’t seem capable of taking constructive criticism at all. And of course, who can forget his disastrous partnering experience with Kate Gosselin. I think Chynna will be a welcome change.
David Arquette and Kym Johnson
This one should be interesting. David is known for being a pretty weird, offbeat kind of guy and I’m excited to see what he brings to the ballroom. I’ve always been a big David Arquette fan and I’m thrilled that he’s decided to take on this challenge. From all indications, he seems to be taking the challenge seriously. He’s been spotted working out to get in better shape and has said that he wants to be taken seriously on the show and will put everything he’s got into showing people that he can be a serious contender. I’m not really sure how it’ll go, but I love this guy so I’m definitely rooting for him. It probably won’t hurt that’s he’s partnered with last season’s pro champ, Kym Johnson.
Last season, Kym had incredible chemistry with her partner, Hines Ward. Together, they danced their way to the win and they definitely earned it. Despite an accident that could’ve not only taken Kym out of the competition but could also have ended her career or perhaps even her life, Kym didn’t miss a single performance. She has a very easy going attitude and her choreography really works with her dancer’s strengths. Finally, she takes a more encouraging approach to teaching her celebrity partners, telling them that they canhandle the task at hand. I really think David and Kym are going to be a great pair even if they don’t make it to the end. Who knows, though. David could be this season’s surprise.
Elisabetta Canalis and Val Chmerkovsky
I’m not thrilled Elisabetta Canalis is doing Dancing with the Stars. I’m sure she’ll be great and I’m sure she’ll look great, but I’ve never liked the idea of casting celebrities who are just famous for who they’ve slept with and, as far as the US goes anyway, Elisabetta is primarily known as George Clooney’s ex-girlfriend. All the same, I’m sure she’s going to be great on the show so maybe I’ll change my opinion once we actually get to see her dance.
There are several new faces on the pro side of things on this season of Dancing with the Stars. Val is the one I’m most excited for, to be honest. I’ve made no secret of my deep, undying affection for Maksim Chmerkovsky in past DWTSarticles so I’m pretty excited to see him competing against his brother Val. Val is an incredible dancer and an incredible choreographer. I’m excited to see how he and Elisabette do this year.
Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovsky
I didn’t know who Hope Solo was until the Dancing With the Starsseason 13 cast was announced but I’m pretty excited to see how she does. Athletes have always done well on this show and I doubt Hope, a professional soccer player, is going to be any different. She’s driven, she’s in fantastic shape and I think she’ll be strong and confident enough to deal with the hardheaded, tough-love style teaching of her partner, my beloved Maks.
Last year, Maksim was partnered with the adorable and surprisingly talented Kirstie Alley. They had incredible chemistry and took their pairing all the way to the finals where they came in third. The season before, Maksim was partnered with the incredibly talented Brandy but they were eliminated in one of the most shocking eliminations I’ve ever seen on Dancing with the Stars. I have high expectations for Maks and Hope this season and I’m sure they’ll meet them. My gut tells me this could be Maks’ year to win.
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff
As with Hope, I wasn’t familiar with J.R. Martinez until the casting announcement was made but this man has an incredible story. J.R. enlisted in the Army in 2002 and was deployed to Iraq one year later. He was serving as a Humvee driver when his vehicle’s tire hit a landmine. He suffered smoke inhalation and severe burns to forty percent of his body. He required skin grafts and cosmetic surgery but recovered entirely. Since that time, he has launched his acting career, being cast as Brot Monroe on ABC’s All My Children and has been an active motivational speaker. I can’t wait to see how he performs on Dancing. I think he’ll be incredible.
J.R. is partnered with Karina Smirnoff, one of my favorite female pros on the show. It was rumored that Karina wouldn’t be asked to return this season after she agreed to pose for Playboybut I’m glad to see that rumor was unfounded. Karina brings spice to the show and I like that about her. I think she’s going to be a great pro to work with J.R.
Kristin Cavallari and Mark Ballas
I don’t like Kristin Cavallari. I don’t get the whole ‘reality stars’ becoming actual celebrities thing. A few seasons ago, however, Audrina Patridge hit the ballroom floor and changed my mind about her entirely. Perhaps Kristin will do the same. Last season, Kendra Wilkinson filled the ‘reality star’ slot on the show and I ended up thinking less of her by the end of her run. I’m not sure which way things will go with Kristin but I guess time will tell. This one’s a hard one for me.
Kristin has made things complicated for me this season. I don’t like her but I love Mark Ballas. He, alongside Maks, is my favorite male dancer on the show so I want to see him stick around as long as possible. I guess this means also rooting for Kristin but I’m sure Mark will do something extraordinary with her. He’s just that good.
Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus
I loathe Nancy Grace. The woman irks me in ways I can’t even explain. Kate Gosselin part two? Quite possibly. That’s all I have to say about this one.
Tristan MacManus definitely got the short end of the stick his first time out as a Dancing with the Stars pro. You may remember Tristan from The Trouplast year which he was a member of. It’s good to see that he’s been picked up as a pro but it’s a shame he got partnered with Grace. I doubt we’re really going to see what he can do although it’s hard to say. Nancy could be amazing and blow us all away. I’m not holding my breath for that one.
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough
I was concerned about Ricki Lake’s casting because I love the girl and was worried she wouldn’t be able to handle the tough choreography Dancing with the Starsis going to require. I don’t typically think of the waltz, the rumba or the argentine tango when I think of Ricki but in all honestly, I think she’s going to shock a lot of people. It doesn’t hurt that Derek Hough will be returning this season to partner her.
Derek Hough is like an unstoppable dancing machine. His routines are always technically sound, fun and exciting to watch. He isn’t my favorite male pro on the show but it’s definitely great to see him back. I think he’s the perfect partner for Ricki as well. He’s encouraging but tough when he needs to be. While I’m not sure you’ll see them in the finals, I think they’ll do fairly well.
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke
I’m not a big fan of anything with the word Kardashian attached but as far as the Kardashians go, Rob isn’t really all that bad. I’m actually really looking forward to seeing him on the show. In the past few seasons, with the exception of Kirstie Alley, it’s really been the male celebrities on the show that have been the most surprising in terms of unexpected dancing talent and I think that’s going to be true of Rob. The fact that he’s partnered with Cheryl Burke only make me more hopeful.
Cheryl did an excellent job last season with WWE star/heavy metal rocker, Chris Jericho. She choreographed routines that showed off his strengths and showed off a side of Chris that isn’t often seen. I don’t think Rob could’ve been partnered with a better pro. Cheryl will make sure he has fun with it but will also make sure he takes things seriously. I think these two have a real chance.
Ron Artest (or possibly Meta World Peace) and Peta Murgatroyd
Ron Artest or Meta World Peace should his name change go through before the show starts, was an interesting choice for the cast and was really a fairly big score for the show. A lot of people are going to be tuning in just to see how he does and that’s always good news. I’m not sure what to expect from this one. That’s about all I can say. Time will tell, but we could be in for a surprise… or not.
Peta was my least favorite member of The Trouplast season. Her arrogance during the intro clip package really rubbed me the wrong way, but I’m a fair person. It was a brief clip that could’ve been taken completely out of context so I’m actually really looking forward to seeing her style as an instructor. In addition, the girl can really dance.
I’m not one to make early predictions, especially with a show as unpredictable as Dancing with the Stars but I think we could see Maksim or Mark taking home the disco ball this year. Regardless, it’s shaping up to be a great season and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out. Season 13 of Dancing with the Stars premieres on September 19, 2011 on ABC. Make sure you tune in.