Season 18 is going to be full of surprises, casting and otherwise. Mark it down. Remember Season 16 when we were sure Henry was a pro based on his tweets? Suddenly, he backpedaled. Remember when Derek wasn’t going to return for Season 16, and then voila, he was back and Henry was out? Then there were the surprise additions of Gleb Savchenko and Lindsay Arnold, neither of whom either of us had ever heard of. Tyne was actually not a huge surprise for Season 17 because she had been one of those who had appeared periodically with the troupe in Season 16. Granted, we thought she might have been planned for the troupe and not a full time pro, but you just never know what ABC is thinking. All of the "extras" bring us to the point of why have a troupe if you are constantly throwing in other random dancers. If you want to audition them for the pros or a future troupe position, then give them a separate dance instead of making the troupe very disjointed, something it has become in recent seasons. We think there will be some interesting things happening (interesting not necessarily being good) so we are now going to tell you the pros (and troupe members) that we will be seeing in Season 18. We will then follow it with the pros and troupe we think should be on Season 18.
The Female Pros
Witney –Two seasons in the troupe have shown us she is a great contemporary and Latin dancer, but ballroom is the staple, and so far, nothing has been shown that tells us she is equally proficient there. We do think, however, that ABC has been pushing her hard at us for two seasons and with all the Cody Simpson talk going on we believe she is going to be a pro, assuming Cody makes the cut. Unfortunately, that could mean Emma would be left out because we don’t see any signs that Cheryl, Karina, Peta, or Sharna are taking a season off, and there is every indication that Kym will be back. Witney is also getting a lot of press right now. She’ll be dancing with Mark Ballas in the Toronto event that Tristan and Anna were in last year, and she also did a Pepsi promotion thing with Mark that will appear during the Grammy Awards or Super Bowl or something. Clearly we didn’t read it carefully, but you get the idea. She is getting some major promotion right now. The thing about Witney is that in spite of her brilliant skills, she likes to play to the camera way too much which means not nearly enough chemistry with her partner. In fact, the only time we saw chemistry was in the “Better Dig Two” contemporary. The last time she danced with Tristan, she was canoodling with the camera more than playing the part of the crazy in lust performer, and that didn’t sit well with us.
Sharna – This is a no-brainer, and Sharna has quickly moved to the top of our list of favorite pros. When she was first introduced to us in the troupe, we had our doubts. She seemed too edgy, too “rocker chick,” and too much everything else, but as the seasons went by, she softened up and we began to realize that she is truly extraordinary – as a choreography, teacher of both Latin and ballroom, and a dancer. She also deals well with the judges, doesn’t whine or complain, and doesn’t talk back. ABC would be nuts to let her go, but then again we are talking about ABC here - the wunderkind network of split personality decision making.
Cheryl – Six months ago we would have said that Cheryl needed a season off, but her weeks with Jack Osbourne made us love the Cheryl we hadn’t seen in a while. We almost reconsidered after seeing the dress she wore at the UNICEF function where she danced with Val, but after seeing what he wore, we realized it wasn’t so bad. She’ll be back, and she will probably have a contender.
Kym – There have been lots of hints and talk, and she’s back in the thick of things dancing on the DWTS At Sea cruises. She purchased a house in LA, and she made it clear when she was in Australia last season that she would be back on DWTS. She should be back. The problem is going to be which female pro won’t make the cut now. We have a lot of qualified pros and only six available spots.
Karina – We have a tiny suspicion that Karina might take a season off just because she has so much going on outside of DWTS She's the most skilled of all of the other female pros, and we are certain that her career could survive a one season hiatus. On the other hand, she is very popular, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense right now for her to be off the roster.
Now it gets interesting. Peta or Emma could draw the short straw for the last spot. We will get into our preferences for this spot below, but we think Peta (who has more than 68,000 Twitter followers) will win out over Emma, who has just over 13,000. Granted, Twitter followers don’t mean that much necessarily, but Peta does have a mirror ball trophy, and while Emma did a great job, a lot of that final spot was due to Bill Engvall’s enormous popularity. Although there is the possibility that Witney is being seasoned to be Peta's hot blonde pro replacement. we think Peta will be back. It sucks for Emma because we like her better than most of the other pros.
We left out Tyne. She is a great dancer when there is some jazz involved, but we weren’t blown away with her as a pro, nor in the occasional dances with the troupe previously. Lindsay didn't really do anything memorable during her pro season, but she's 10 times more energizing than Tyne, and at least we remember Lindsay. Tyne didn’t bring the “wow” factor, and let’s face it, the record number of views for a DWTS performance on you tube was due to Bill Nye dancing. The novelty wore off fairly quickly. She could end up in the troupe for Season 18, but we also wouldn’t be surprised if she was shown the door, much as others have been done in the past. Based on what we’ve seen, her strength isn’t ballroom, and that’s what we want to see.
Tristan – This is the easiest choice of all. He has never been more popular, everybody loves him, and he takes great photos (shallow of us, but true). He has never had the opportunity to really shine in five seasons, and that is purely a result of the age of his celebrities. Come on ABC. Give us a freaking break. Tristan can teach anybody but you have to give him a fighting chance. It's even better that the premiere is conveniently on St. Patrick's Day. That is almost too good to be true.
Derek – There’s no reason to discuss because the rumor mill says he’s coming back. We don't see him giving up a sure thing.
Tony – He needs a season off. He’s been around every single season since Season 2, and it’s time. We love Tony, but mercy, it’s so predictable. The costumes, the choreography, all of it. We’re still scratching our heads at the pro dance with Tyne. Why did that even happen? Like we said, we love the guy, and so does ABC apparently because we have no doubt he will be right on the dance floor March 17 with a celebrity partner.
Val – Based on the tux with the highwater pants he wore to the thing with Cheryl, he should never be allowed to have a costume discussion again. Anybody have the urge to shout, “Surf’s up?” Anyway, ABC loves Val. How do we know? Look at his last 3 celebrity partners. Kelly Monaco (Season 1 Winner). Zendaya (ringer who got to dance her specialty, Hip Hop, twice). Elizabeth (good grief – she was the lead in Showgirls and has danced her entire life). He will be back. Whether or not he’ll be dancing with a stinker or a ringer (the likely option), we don’t know, but he’ll be there.
Mark – If he takes off a season to do his music, we think Sasha will be around to take this spot. Unless there are two very petite celebrities again, Sasha could end up back in the troupe, and that would be a damn shame.
Gleb – This was a toss-up between Gleb and Henry, and we think Gleb appealed to a broad demographic his first pro season. He handled moving down to the troupe with grace and never complained. He is also a brilliant dancer. We think Henry will be left out again because in spite of it all, most people don’t know who he is.
Emma, Lindsay, Henry, Sasha (Jaymz could end up in there. He has been on DWTS many, many times during the last few seasons, and Julz didn't get a single dance in Season 17.)
Who we want to be the pros and troupe
Forget the ones we believe will be back. We think a large number of pros need to take a break and do something else – possibly move on permanently but we also know that that is unlikely to happen. These are the pros we think would make for the best season, and most likely everybody else in the universe would disagree with us, but it’s what we think.
The Men - We think Tony, Derek, and Mark could all use a season off and while ABC is unlikely to replace any of these three. We can, however, compromise a little on this wish list and keep two, and give one a vacation.
Gleb (2nd choice – Henry)
Tony (2nd choice- Julz)
Henry (2nd choice – Gleb)
So what do you think?