Season 17 is rapidly approaching, and it is almost impossible to believe that Season 16 has already been over for several weeks. The one thing that we’ve learned from the last few seasons is what we like and what we don’t like. We don’t like the overuse of props. We despise over-the-top costuming decisions, and we really don’t like the constant need by a bunch of pros to dance shirtless. Give it a rest. It was interesting once or twice, but now it’s boring and predictable and makes us eat too much ice cream during the show because we’ve already seen the bare pectorals before and are bored. There’s no mystery. We like the mystery, the unexpected, and the exciting. In that respect, it's a good thing that DWTS is changing things up, but we're not liking the idea that ABC wants to "age down" the cast at all. To that we say, "Harrumph."
With lots of changes in store for Season 17, we’ve decided to compile our list of the most interesting pros – those who can dance, choreograph, and bring in the fans, while making things fun and exciting. We’ve even made a few suggestions for celebrity partners that just might make things heat up or at least make you laugh at little bit at the possibility. This list might surprise you, but we say if you’re going to change, you might as well go big. So here you have it. We think that the cast size might be cut to 10 just because of time constraints created with the new format, so we’re throwing in pros 11 and 12 as alternates. And just a warning – our celebrity “recommendations” change hourly so expect another blog soon with our almost official list of pros and celebrities.
The requisite pros: (everybody else is optional)
Tristan MacManus – Is there any doubt? He’s the busiest of all this off-season, he was the “Belle of the Ball” in Ballroom With a Twist in Denver, and he is arguably the most popular of all. Besides, DWTS owes him big after what’s happened the last two seasons. In this case, absence really did make the heart grow fonder, and his absence has made the fans positively drool at the possibility of what might lie ahead for Season 17. He is due to have a legitimate contender, and now is the time for it to happen. He deserves another shot with Dorothy Hamill, but we think it's unlikely that she will be back - at least in Season 17. We want to see him dance with somebody fun, classy, elegant, and teachable. Does she have to be a ringer? Nope, because the lucky lady would have the best teacher of the bunch. How about another skater? Tanith Belbin, Sarah Hughes, Tara Lipinski - any of them would be good choices. Michelle Kwan would make us all giddy. Want to go a little older? Katarina Witt, Tai Babilonia, Oksana Baiul. We're not asking for the world here - just a fighting chance. Our dream partner? Ekaterina Gordeeva. Talk about magic. Talk about sexy. Talk about mirror ball.
Sasha Farber – There is nobody has deserves a shot at the pros more than Sasha. He’s fun, sexy, energetic, and the most entertaining pro on the show. We toyed with the idea of Gabby Douglas as a potential partner, but we really don’t think a gymnast with the built-in talent and the built-in fan base is fair for a first-year pro or, for that matter, for any pro. DWTS should not go there again this season. We think Sasha and Katie Couric would have a rip roaring good time. If not Katie? How about Australian actress Rachael Taylor. She’s an ABC girl too – Charlie’s Angels, Grey’s Anatomy ... oh wait. She’s 5’8”. Add her to the “Tristan MacManus future partners” list. Another fun option for Sasha? Rachel Ray. They would have a blast. Another idea? Ellen DeGeneres. What fun they would be! America Ferrera and Sasha? A dream team.
Val Chmerkovskiy – We want Val back for one reason – to see what he can do with a celebrity that will truly challenge him and try his patience. Somebody who isn’t physically perfect, who doesn’t have an enormous fan base, someone who might be a klutz (but might be a pleasant surprise, too). In our opinion, Val has never been truly challenged. We think he will prove himself, but he needs the right challenge in order to do that. Mrs. Dog? Now that would just be plain mean. How about somebody fun, energetic, and interesting like Paula Deen? She’s 66 years old, and every season has a celebrity just a little older than the rest. Option 2? Wanda Sykes. Let’s see what you’ve got Val.
Tony Dovolani – We want to see Tony dance with somebody who will push him and make him forget the crazy costumes and props and concentrate on the dancing. He’s had some good partners in the past – and some not so good partners. We’re trying out a bunch of ideas in our crazy mixed up heads, and we think he would be fun as the dickens with Valerie Bertinelli. Because our brains are operating at only about 45% this weekend, we can’t come up with anybody else, so we guess it’s Valerie or nobody. Sorry Tony.
Mark Ballas – We believe Mark might hit the trail sooner than later to have time to propel his music career even further, but we would love one last season of great fun, and who better than the adorable Nicki Blonsky from Hairspray. She’s amazing, talented, and lovely – and funny. She’s also a ringer, but we would gladly make an exception for her. We love this one.
Henry Byalikov – a good choice, but we think Sasha might be a more popular choice with the fans and you have to think ratings. That being said, however, if there are 12 teams, he would be a good fit as the sixth male pro. Again, first year pros shouldn’t get the easy ones. Challenges are good. Rosie O’Donnell is a thought. She’s popular and entertaining. Another idea? Bring on the wicked funny Kristen Schall.
******* The Ladies
Sharna Burgess - We loved Sharna as a pro even more than we loved her as a Troupe member. She has the sass, the energy, and the kindness to make it a long way on DWTS. We thing she maybe didn't take the scoring and comments all that well but maybe that's because she was a new pro. She will just get better, but the fact is - Andy Dick was not overscored, but he was a welcome addition, and she was the perfect pro to be his partner. We would like to see her with someone who is just as edgy as she is - somebody like Greg Louganis, who has lobbied to be on DWTS for many seasons. Another option is an Olympic swimmer - not Ryan Lochte, not Michael Phelps but how about Matt Grevers or Cullen Jones? We likey.
Anna Trebunskaya – The second busiest pro in the off-season, we’re still outraged that the lovely Anna was not included in the Season 16 lineup. We still don’t get it. She’s beautiful, talented, fun, popular, and we love her choreography. She hasn’t had a legitimate contender since Evan Lysacek, and she is way overdue. We would love a Tristan/Anna final, and we've wanted to see Anna with another skater since Season 10. Maybe Ben Agosto? That would be an amazing duo and we know we've suggested it previously, but this would be a good one. Another option is a sexy Latin lover type - oh, someone like Chayanne. Yeah, he's a bit of a ringer since he was in the movie Dance With Me with Vanessa Williams, but we don't care. He's got the talent, the charm, and the charisma to make it work. (By the way, we wouldn’t object if Vanessa Williams came on the show and was partnered with Tristan. That would sizzle).
Karina Smirnoff – She just might be the best of the best, but we don’t think we’ve seen her best yet. Karina has certainly had challenges with different celebrities. We want to see Karina really have the chance to turn up the heat to epic temperatures. We want to see her dance with Josh Holloway of Lost fame. The rugged, bad boy looks and the feisty Karina? Yowza.
Peta Murgatroyd – Peta wouldn’t necessarily be our first choice for this spot, but we still haven’t seen what she can do with a real challenge. Nor have we seen amazing choreography yet. We are dying to see Larry the Cable Guy on DWTS if for no other reason than we want to see if he would wear a tux without cutting off the sleeves. Another option? Most recently of Splash – Louie Anderson. Option 3? William Shatner. Win a Mirror Ball Trophy with any of these three, and we just might be convinced.
Emma Slater / Oksana Dmytrenko - Emma is our first choice but since it looks like that may not happen we think Oksana would be great, and talk about hilarious...pair her up with Jeff Foxworthy. They wouldn’t have a clue what the other is talking about, and Jeff is bow-legged, but we would enjoy this immensely. Another more plausible option? 1984 gold medalist from men's gymnastics Mitch Gaylord. They would be fun, fun, fun!
Kym Johnson – We think this might be the end of the DWTS road for Kym, since DWTS is leaning towards a younger audience. We love Kym and she is very popular. How about the smokin’ hot Nicholas Gonzales formerly of ABC’s Off the Map and from a bunch of other stuff we can’t remember because we’ve been too busy ogling and re-watching Off the Map while writing this blog. Yes, ladies, it’s THAT kind of celebrity.
Left off the list:
Gleb Savchenko – We don’t think he ever caught on, although the potential is definitely there. He’s gorgeous, talented, and gorgeous. But we’re not sure he has the appeal needed to swoop in and take over the voters.
Maks Chmerkovskiy – We think he’s moved on. for many reasons. Whether it was his choice or not, we didn’t miss him all that much last season.
Derek Hough – He’s supposedly gone so we didn’t waste our time writing about him because we're short of brain power this weekend.
Lindsay Arnold – A good start, but kind of forgettable. A season or two in the troupe would have helped a lot.
Witney Carson – We can’t see it happening yet. There are too many good ones waiting in the wings. There are some pros from Strictly Come Dancing that we wouldn’t mind seeing come over and stir things up.
Julz Tocker – Love the guy, but we can’t remember the dances. Another few troupe seasons, please.
Did we forget somebody? Sorry, too much travel this weekend. Too much jet-lag. Too much Starbucks. Not enough sleep.