We say there is something fishy going on. No way would ABC allow the cast to be revealed a week before the cast announcement on GMA. Sometimes we get the information a day or two ahead of time, but even then there are huge surprises on reveal day (Gladys Knight and Dorothy Hamill, for example). We think that we have all been played this week and probably at least half of it is nonsense. That being said, we’re going with what we know or what we think we know and making our bold predictions along with a few extra added touches. We’re even naming the teams so go with it. We’re having fun, having some serious moments, and having some margaritas (or Venti Starbucks beverages). Here we go…your cast for Season 17, just like ABC wants it. If there are only 12 spots, somebody big is going to be left out. What we can’t figure out is who. There are just a lot of wild cards this time around, and we count Gleb, Sasha, Henry and even Emma among them. Gleb and Sasha are keeping quiet, and we like that. Tristan is way too quiet, and we’re not sure we like that, but would he do anything else?
Snooki/Mark Ballas – Team You Can’t Take the Joisey Out of the Girl - We still think there is something weird going on and ABC wants us to buy into the Sasha/Snooki pairing, which we believe would be hilarious and brilliant. ABC will probably not do what we think since they sometimes have screwed up logic (like the time they gave Bristol to Mark for All Stars and took his own champion, Shawn, and passed her along to Derek. Yeah, that made sense. Especially since Shawn was so tall and all.) What we aren’t going to do is go the predictable Mark Ballas/Gabby Douglas guess because the fans would have a cow – 3 Olympic gymnastics champions as his DWTS partners and another gold medalist from a different sport. We don't think so. We think that they will give Mark a challenge but one who will let Mark show his fun side again. It’s been a while. This just might be one of our favorites because we love comic relief, and this will bring it.
Amber Riley/Derek Hough – Team We Don’t Mind And Aren’t You Surprised - Yes, she is a bit of a ringer, and yes, she has a ton of Twitter followers, but she might be a good fit with Derek and it shouldn’t throw us all into a major revolt. She’s adorable and talented and will be fun to watch. In all honesty, the only reason we pick this pair is because of all of the mystery Twitter follows that seem to happening this week. We don’t see her as that young, and Derek’s people (PureDH) insist his partner is young. We would have thought really young – as in Bella Thorne and watch the producers create a Disney rival with Derek’s cousin, Ross, as the opposition, but we will concede this one. Amber is likely his partner, and we’re okay with it because she might make Derek lighten up. We hope so.
Jamie Lee Curtis/Tony Dovolani – Team Maybe/Maybe Not Because This Could Be Entertaining - She hasn't been a big fixture in the rumor mill but we think she could be one of those surprises. We just don't see her with Derek even though she was cheering on Jennifer or Ricki or somebody when they were with Derek. We were inclined to think she might go with Gleb, who has a great sense of humor and is very pretty in case you didn't notice, but we’re sticking with Tony on this one. It fits. We had thought of Leah Remini too for Tony, but that doesn't seem like a blend of personalities that would work at all. He and Jamie Lee might have quite a few laughs and entertain us too.
Valerie Harper/TristanMacManus – Team Maybe It Will Happen But..." – This could certainly happen, and we would be fine with it, but SWAT just has this nagging little itch behind her right ear, and Shakes has a pain in her left knee which means 1) it’s probably going to rain or 2) something just isn’t right with the DWTS rumors. We have no doubt that Tristan was at the DWTS rehearsal studios (or somewhere else) teaching Valerie. On second thought, it’s probably not at the DWTS rehearsal studios because Kat would have caught him on video or so would more of the paparazzi hanging out there. We think it’s more likely that she will do some appearances and dance but compete full out and sign on for a whole season? We’re still not convinced. Like we said, that is just fine too, but there is just too much information out there right now that most of it has to be false. So we are going with Option 2: A shocker of a celebrity just like in Season 14 and 16. We see them as being the last couple introduced (again) and we have no clue who it could be. So there.
Elizabeth Berkley/Val Chmerkovskiy – Team Blah and Backfire - Does anybody really think that Val will get anything less than someone like Elizabeth? She’s the right age, the right occupation, the right body type, but not the right height. It’s like Zendaya but with more ballet and more maturity. We call ‘em Team Backfire because the fans are not going to buy this one. She doesn’t have the legion of Twitter followers that Zendaya does, and this just doesn’t work for us. We want to see her heat things up with Gleb, and we think the height thing will be a major distraction. Zendaya wore flats half the time; Elizabeth Berkley would look silly in flats. Now we still aren’t convinced that Elizabeth is Val’s partner, and we think she may very well end up with Gleb and Christina could end up with Val. We just cannot see them pairing Val and Elizabeth when there are much better alternatives to someone with her height and beautiful lines. It’s entirely possible that ABC was messing with us with that little teaser and might have fooled us by using Elizabeth’s very familiar voice.
Christina Milian/Gleb Savchenko or Henry Byalikov – Team Could Be Great But Will Likely Be Not So Great - Yeah, Gleb is in LA and yeah Henry is not, but something in this one also made our ear/knee twitch. Problem with it is either way, she is a ringer in the biggest sense. But then again, no more so than Elizabeth Berkley, Corbin Bleu, and half a dozen other celebrities who have been rumored this season. Christina with Tristan would be perfect, and Christina with Gleb or Henry might be okay but probably not as smoldering as a Christina/Tristan pairing.
**WILD CARD #1 ** -Gabby Douglass/Sasha Farber – Team We Just Aren't Sure This Is Happening - The gymnast and the gymnast. It’s a match made in DWTS heaven and it gives our Sasha a chance to teach, something he is very good at. He’s also one hell of a choreographer and would make good use of her strengths without breaking every rule in the ballroom book. If not Gabby, we will buy into the Snooki/Sasha plan. They would be hilarious and Sasha wouldn’t let Snooki be anything less than Snooki. We would have a blast either way.
Ross Lynch/Lindsay Arnold or “Team We Can't Predict A Disney Finalist” – This was almost too easy. Lindsay was brought in last season with training wheels. She didn’t really earn the right to ride her two wheeler without those baby wheels, but ABC planned it that way. Turn her lose with Victor, an elite athlete with an attitude and see how she fares. Not so well, in our opinion. She didn’t have the discipline or control to be a pro, but that wasn’t her fault. She has amazing potential and is a marvelous dancer. Besides, she has legs to die for. He is Derek Hough’s cousin, blonde, and with Lindsay they will be an average age of something like 12, have enough blondeness that won’t yet resort to dark roots because of their youth, and have enough energy to take over the competition. Problem is that just ain’t gonna happen. Ross may have a ton of votes, but we aren’t convinced that Lindsay does. It’s just odd because someone like Sharna could turn him into a contender. Oh yeah. Ringer.
Kenny Rogers/Peta Murgatroyd – Our first thought was Tony Kanaan, but as of yesterday, he hadn't heard if he was on or not, so that seemed screwy to us. Peta has already had two athletes in prime physical condition, an actor who had been a fan favorite until he became a diva during the All-Stars, and another partner who was in prime shape (Sean), who also happened to have, for reasons unknown to us, millions of fans. We haven’t yet been impressed with her costume choices or choreography, so this is the time to put up or shut up and train someone who is different. He still has the fan base but he would be a challenge so oh why not. His name has cropped up a few times so this just might be the time. If not Kenny, we will backtrack and go with Tony Kanaan. Or William Shatner.
Corbin Bleu/Cheryl Burke – Cheryl and Karina played the game in Vegas and dropped hints as to Karina’s pro. Karina has stated publicly that she wanted John Stamos on DWTS and Corbin Bleu too. Karina is following Corbin on Twitter, and he is following her. In spite of Jack Osbourne follows by Cheryl's publicist, we don't see that pair happening. Karina and Cheryl were up to no good in Vegas and throwing around names like Beckham and “Ryan”. We think they were trying to play us.
John Stamos/Karina Smirnoff – We think this is the season Karina gets her wish fulfilled by Santa and John Stamos (also coveted we believe by Peta and Sharna) becomes her partner. He will be a blast and while he may not win, he will show everybody a great time. We love this idea. We think the bare feet and the deep "Ryan Lochte" voice on Dancing ABC's video are a way to psych us out, and that it isn't Lochte at all but John Stamos.
J.C. Chasez/Sharna Burgess– We think J.C’s denial is reason enough to put him in…or maybe it’s just wishful thinking. We can’t find the perfect celebrity for Sharna yet based on the rumors, and we are starting to think Emma might be out and there might be seven male celebrities and 5 female. If that’s the case, we think Jack could end up with Sharna. But for now, we’re going for the big shocker. Okay, so maybe J.C. is a stretch. How about Keyshawn Johnson? Let’s see how Sharna does with the football player.
**WILD CARD #2**Jack Osborne/Emma Slater – This could work well. Emma’s a great teacher and she would teach Jack better than any pro. She will be thrilled to be a pro and she will make him a good dancer. What’s not to love about this? The only problem is that we are not sure that there is going to be a 50/50 split on male/female celebrities and there just might be seven male pros and five female (0r seven and six if ABC pulls a fast one). If that’s the case, we think Emma will be left out, Jack will go with Cheryl, John Stamos will disappear off the radar, Corbin would end up with Karina, and J.C. would break our hearts.
Oh yeah. We are guaranteed to be wrong. Just call us skeptical with the rumors, denials, and follows when compared to the secrecy by DWTS. We also know that ABC might, and probably will, throw half a dozen big whoppers of surprises on Wednesday. So just imagine the possibilities but count on this instead: Derek with Christina, Gleb with Elizabeth, Val with Ringer Girl, er, we mean somebody like Bella Thorne, Mark with Amber, Cheryl with another Latin lover type, Sharna with Keyshawn, Karina with Ryan Gosling (yeah, okay we like to dream big), etc.
We are big on lists around here. We're also tired of waiting around for confirmation that Tristan will be a Season 17 pro, so we decided to work up our list of reasons why Tristan needs to be a pro on Season 17 of the new and revamped Dancing With the Stars. Maybe we will send these to ABC. Anyway, here (in no particular order) are our top 10 reasons why Tristan should be a returning pro.
1. Because the ozone layer won’t be further endangered due to the excessive use of hair products. Bedhead requires nothing to keep it looking that way.
2. We can expand our vocabulary and impress a lot of people with how cool we are when we say stuff like “craic, lie-in," and "keep schtum,” and then we can be all philosophical and intellectual when we end a sentence with a casual shrug and, “It is what it is.”
3. The costume department can reduce its budget because if Tristan has his way, jeans would be fine for all performances. No see-through silk shirts that have to be a pain in the rear to make, no sparkles to dirty up the place and get stuck behind your contact lenses,and no chaps because that’s what everybody wears on DWTS after all.
4. The ladies love him. The men too. Besides, science needs his return. The MacManiacs have had a rough year and all of that pent-up energy that was reserved for voting is about ready to explode, so who knows what would happen if that energy continues to build up? We’re thinking an eruption like Mount Vesuvius would pale in comparison. There is a geology lesson in there somewhere and a physics lesson too. (Volcano studies = geology. Potential energy and all the laws of physics crap = physics.) The bottom line is that Tristan's return to DWTS is for the good of science.
5. Somebody needs to realize that see-through silk shirts are so 1980s (or worse, 1970s), and it’s time to man up. Tristan is the voice of reason because he is the only pro not to have succumbed to the see-through silk shirt trend. The next thing you know those guys will be wearing turquoise jewelry and platform shoes and doing their best Travolta imitation from Saturday Night Fever or even worse, Derek and Val will come down the stairs and exclaim, “We are two wild and crazy guys….” [for those of you too young to understand – Steve Martin and Dan Akroyd – SNL in the 70s). The fact is that it just doesn't work anymore and see-through silk as well as cheap polyester imitations are not legitimate fashion statements.
6. He’s the host with the most, the comedian with the best jokes, and the entertainer of the year. If you have doubts, just ask anybody who saw Life’s A Dance or Ballroom With A Twist. The man knows how to work it.
7. Speaking of working it, think of the following: Samba. Hips.
8. It’s illegal that in four pro seasons, Tristan has yet to dance any of the following dances with his celebrity partner: Argentine Tango, Viennese Waltz, Salsa, Bolero, or Lambada. To avoid legal ramifications, that should be rectified immediately. It's also illegal that he has never, not once, had an encore dance. Shame on ABC for that.
9. He needs to make it to the finals so that the freestyle decisions are left up to us. He said so. Well, at least he said something like that in our last interview when he said, “I will know the freestyle when I have to do the freestyle, but I’ll take suggestions, ha!” Yep, it sounds like we get to choose it. He will be Elvis, he will invite the rest of us to dance with him and his celebrity – much as Derek and Shawn had half of the Olympic Team dancing with them. We will be amazing. Oh, the dungeon will probably have to be a no-carb zone for a few months, but we'll manage to be in fighting condition by then.
10. The most important reason why Tristan has to be a Season 17 pro? If he isn’t, every damn one of us will chuck a sicky. Guaranteed. Right in front of the DWTS studios.
Tristan mentioned in his last interview with us that he particularly loves the hosting part of Ballroom With a Twist, so it seems only fitting that he might have to ask a question or two of some of his fellow pros at some point. Of course, we have our own opinions as to what those questions should be along with a couple of observations that Tristan might make. For example:
Tristan to Derek: “We notice that you wear a lot of bright yellow during your Sambas. Is there a reason for this or do you just want to blind the viewers?”
Tristan to Derek: “Not that I’m seriously considering a change, but your hair is such a lovely shade of blonde. Is that shade available at Target?"
Tristan to Anna: “You’re not Irish, but you’ve got great hair anyway. What’s your secret?"
Tristan to Mark: “Exactly how many pairs of spats do you own, and do buy in bulk so you can get a discount?”
Tristan to Mark: “You will never win the tattoo wars.”
Tristan to Sasha: “Do you ever feel like you’re going to chuck a sicky from doing all of those backflips?”
Tristan to Sasha and Damian: “If you ever tell anybody what’s on that MTV Cribs video from our Burn the Floor days…”
Tristan to Maks: “You have mentioned before that DWTS is “your” show. How do you feel about it being “my” show now?”
Tristan to Chelsie: “Our Design a Dance was awesome. Have you noticed that they haven’t had another one since?”
Tristan to Cheryl: “Be honest Cheryl. How many times have you stormed the producer’s office demanding that you get a pro dance with me?”
Tristan to Sharna: “Be honest Sharna. How many times have you stormed the producer’s office demanding that you get to be my celerity partner for Season 17?”
Tristan to Sharna: “I’m kind of diggin’ the crazy costumes you fixed Andy up with last season. We should be a team. We can recreate The Devil Went Down to Georgia and show those old farts a thing or two.”
Tristan to Tony and Lindsay: “Tell me again….how much stock do you guys own in Crest Whitestrips?”
Tristan to Tony: “What do you think about the two of us going and starting our own show called Dancing With the AARP?"
Tristan to Julz: “Dude, those cheekbones would cut a steak. Just sayin’.”
Tristan to Witney: “You know, Wit…it was nice seein’ you dance with Henry, Sasha, Julz, and the rest of the troupe, but we kind of stirred things up with that Contemporary. Wanna give it a go this season and see what happens when we Rumba to 'Wicked Game'?"
Tristan to Val: “So, Val, I get the Speedo. I get the dance shoes. But can you explain wearing a Speedo with dance shoes?”
Tristan to Okasana: “Do you know exactly how much you’ve spent at the chiropractor as a result of all of that hair whipping?”
Tristan to Henry: “Can I have the phone number for the guy that sprays on your abs?”
Tristan to Karina: “So about that Dark Waltz. Is there a reason we haven’t done another pro dance together since? Do I need to break out the sparkles, tassels, see-through silk, and chaps to make it happen?"
Tristan to Karina: “Is there a reason I wasn’t in Forever Tango with you? Maks is great, but...”
Tristan to Kym: “Who is hotter, Penn Gillette or Jerry Springer?”
Tristan to Emma: “Why are there so many blondes on the show, and will you dance another Viennese Waltz with me? And then you know how Sasha says I’m a big prankster and I say he’s the biggest prankster on DWTS? I say “game on.”
Tristan to Peta: “Have you built up an immunity to cold weather now that you’ve danced a few seasons without wearing clothes?”
Tristan to Peta: "You told a reporter in Long Island recently that Val is the most talented dancer on the show. Helloooo????? What’s up with that?
You guys had enough yet? We have more...
Let’s break it down. The pros, the celebrities, the age, the way it goes on DWTS, and the way it needs to be for Season 17. We have thought for a while that things have been messed up with the way the celebrities have been traditionally assigned to pros, and we use the word traditionally because there is a trend that fits right into the word “tradition.” Certain pros get the younger, more fit celebrities who have millions of fans, twitter followers, and facebook “likes.” Others are stuck in the DWTS rut and get celebs that fit into other categories. Keep in mind that it took us the better part of a day to get these statistics in order, and the ages might be off by a year either way, but the numbers are in the ballpark, and in baseball terms, it becomes pretty apparent who is going to hit a home run, and who will strike out at the plate unless some production changes are made in a hurry. By the way, we’re not know for our math skills so things might be a little off here, but you will still get the picture.
Let’s take a closer look. Here are the average ages of the celebrities assigned to what we refer to as the “major pros” followed by our Season 17 suggestions. Or directives. Whatever.
Tristan (4 Seasons) – Average Celebrity Age 55 – Need we go on?
Kym (13 Seasons) – Average Celebrity Age 44.85 – 2 MBTs- Donny Osmond, duh, and Hines Ward (football, Super Bowl MVP, another no-brainer)
Tony (15 Seasons) – Average Celebrity Age 41 – 1 MBT – Melissa – Take 2.
Cheryl (15 Seasons) – Average Celebrity Age 39.9 – 2 MBTs (Drew and Emmitt) but she hasn’t won since Season 3. In all fairness, she also had Wayne Newton and Tom DeLay to up the age average substantially.
Anna (10 Seasons) – Average Celebrity Age - 39.9 – Still waiting… She's had one legitimate contender in Evan Lysacek. Jerry was entertaining but not likely to win a MBT.
Maks (13 Seasons) – Average Celebrity Age - 38.3 – He has had winners – big winners – with Mel B and Brandy, but for whatever reason, it didn’t work.
Louis (9 Seasons) – Average Celebrity Age - 35.33- He's had youth and talent – Lisa Rinna, Sabrina, Kendra, Kelly O…but no MBT.
Karina (13 Season) – Average Celebrity Age 34.44 – 1 MBT with J.R. Martinez – well deserved.
Derek (11 Seasons) – Average Celebrity Age 34.2 - 4 MBTs - – Brooke, Nicole, Jennifer Grey, Kellie Pickler. All athletic, entertainment material, and extraordinarily fit.
Peta (4 Seasons) – Average Celebrity Age 33.25 – 1 MBT – Donald Driver – Not the greatest dancer that season, but he had the football player thing going for him when in that season, it was huge. She got lucky. Really lucky.
Val (4 Seasons) – Average Celebrity Age 32.35 – Elisabetta, Sherri, Kelly, and Zendaya. Really? Time to age that up a bit, we say.
Chelsie (7 Seasons) - Average Celebrity Age 32.1 – We’re not sure what this says actually. Chelsie has had some great, young celebrities to work with and she had a superstar during the All Star Season, but nothing has happened yet. Her first season was her best, but we also think a lot of it is that she plays by the rules of the ballroom, and we say, “Good for you!”
Mark (12 Seasons) – Average Celebrity Age 25.9 – 2 wins – Kristi and Shawn – See below. We don’t want to bore you with too much repetition but we probably will anyway.
Age doesn’t matter? Bull dinky. Tristan’s celebrities have averaged a full 20+ years more than Derek’s, and nearly 22 and 23 years older than Peta and Val’s celebrities – and they all became pros at the same time. His celebrities are still nearly 10 years older by average than the closest pro, Kym. Is that fair? Nuh uh.
So here is what we propose for Season 17:
*Tristan gets the biggest ringer in the history of ringers; you know the one – she can dance, sing, entertain, has 38 million twitter followers, uses social media as often as we eat chocolate, is known and loved by everybody everywhere.
*We love Derek, but Derek needs a huge challenge. His oldest celebrity was Jennifer Grey, who still, any way you look at it, was the lead in Dirty Dancing. Ricki Lake was about 44. That is nothing. She was a mere infant in comparison to Tristan's celebrities. Derek needs more “challenge.” He needs someone who will push him and make him work from the basics and see how his patience hold out. Facts are facts. We want to really see him teach somebody who doesn’t have the talent because sometimes being a good teacher isn’t good enough. Not everybody can be good at Calculus, no matter how good the teacher; the same applies with the Samba.
*Maks is due another ringer. If he comes back, he should get a contender. He has had some good ones, but he’s had some huge challenges too. We think that they purposefully give him partners that he will clash with for dramatic effect instead of partners that he can really teach.
*Val has had it made for four seasons. Yes, he’s had to teach. Yes, he’s had to entertain. Yes, he’s had to choreograph strong routines, but last season just gave made us agitated. Not his fault, but that whole Twitter thing annoyed us - the Hip Hop “voted” dance, and the Hip Hop that wasn’t Hip Hop freestyle from a trained Hip Hop dancer just gave us HipHopPhobia, and we hope we never hear the words Hip Hop again. We still don’t understand how he got a ringer like Zendaya, and don’t let the age thing fool you. She had a lifetime of experience, millions of Twitter followers who knew how to burn up the Twitter votes, so yeah, she was a blessing to whoever was her partner. Now we need to see Val get someone, say, 40-50 years older than Zendaya so we can see if the Hop Hop thing will work as well next time. Or the Samba, Cha Cha, Argentine Tango, or even the Surfer Flamenco. Okay, forget that one. We never, ever want to see that again. Or the dancing in the Speedo thing, a la Season 15. Eww.
*Mark has 2 wins – with 2 Olympic gold medalists – and last season, he had another Olympic gold medalist (age 19) so it’s time for him to get a few more big old challenges too. Throw him a Susan Lucci at least...he's a talented teacher, and he could handle it. And if not, we’ll find out.
*Kym – It’s interesting that the age of her celebrity partners is second to Tristan, and she’s had a couple of stinkers in the group, but overall, she’s been paired well and we don’t see that she would be particularly successful with a teenage partner. That won’t work. 30s, 40s. That’s the best age group. She does well with most of her partners so why ruin a good thing?
*Peta – She’s had the luck of the draw thus far and she deserves a HUGE challenge. Metta World Peace didn’t advance past the first round, but he was relatively young, strong, athletic. Donald was an active football player, thus ensuring a huge voting base. Gilles? Please. He was one of the most talented and popular celebrities ever – until All Star season arrogance took a front row to appealing to the audience. Sean? Young, fit, strong, handsome – couldn’t dance much, but he had a huge fan base because of that show. She needs older, less fit, and way more challenging.
*Karina- Seems like she's been the most well rounded when it comes to her partners. She’s had them all, and she’s taking her knocks but she’s had extraordinary talent. Sigh…we want to see Tristan have a celebrity with extraordinary talent from Day 1.
We could go on and on and on about the rest of them, but you see where it’s going. The numbers speak for themselves. It’s Tristan’s turn, and we need to lower that average – by a lot. Talk about deserving a mirror ball trophy….this is the man who deserves at least a chance for it. Every other pro has had that chance. Tristan has had great celebrities but as wonderful as Dorothy might have been, we don’t think the crazy rigors of the last few weeks of Season 16 would have gotten them to the finals against a 16 year old dancer, a 19 year old Olympic gymnast, a 26 year old perfectly fit country music star, or a 29 year old football player in prime physical condition. Please. [insert eye roll here]. Dorothy would have been 40, 36, 30, and 27 years older respectively. It was an impossible situation. Now it’s time to make things possible.