- (Reuters/Carol Kaelson)
For die-hard “Dancing with the Stars” fans, the wait is finally over.
ABC announced on Monday night the new crop of celebs who will take part in the 13th season of “Dancing with the Stars” starting this September.
With much of the media having already secured the names of the majority of the A-listers unveiled last night, only one name was a new addition to the list of castmates – Carson Kressley.
Former fashion guru on Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” many are wondering if ABC will allow Kressley, openly gay and active in gay rights issues, to dance with a male partner, marking what would be the first same-sex couple on DWTS.
Although transgender contestant Chaz Bono, son of Cher and Sonny, might just as well be coupled with a same sex-partner as well. Bono, who was born “Chastity Bono,” came out as a lesbian in 1995 and underwent a female-to-male gender transition thereafter.
In 2010, Bono legally changed his gender and name and now lives with his fiancee, Jennifer Elia, according to ABC.
He too, may soon try to quickstep his way to the top along with 11 other contestants, of whom many disappointed viewers are calling “B-listers” and “has-been’s.”
Ricki Lake: “Daytime’s Darling” as dubbed by ABC for her former daytime talk show, and who also acted as the original Tracy Turnblad in the first “Hairspray” film.
Rob Kardashian: “Reality’s Royalty” and only brother to the famous Kardashian sisters. Graduated from Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California in Business Entrepreneurship.
Ron Artest: “The NBA Champion” currently signed on with the Los Angeles Lakers. Also an active contributor in several community service projects.
Nancy Grace: “The Courtroom Queen” made famous for her feisty comments and coverage of the Casey Anthony case. Grace was a former prosecutor who switched careers after her fiancé was shot and killed.
Kristin Cavallari: “The Reality Sweetheart” known for her role on MTV’s Laguna Beach and The Hills.
J.R. Martinez: “Soap’s Real-Life Hero.” Acted on ABC’s “All My Children” and also served in the U.S. Army. Martinez is an Iraq War veteran who suffered severe burns to more than 40 percent of his body when his Humvee hit a landmine in Iraq.
Hope Solo: “The Soccer Superstar” who may not have won the World Cup this year but is looking to compete for the mirrorball trophy. Starter for the United States Women’s National Team since 2005 and called the best goalkeeper in the world.
Elisabetta Canalis: “The Italian Beauty” who once stole the heart of ex-beau George Clooney. A model and actress from Sardinia known for her PETA work.
David Arquette: “King of the Big Scream” known for his recurring roles in the “Scream” films and former husband of Courtney Cox. The beloved pair announced their separation in 2010.
Chynna Phillips: “The Pop Princess” who was part of the female group Wilson Phillips, heralded by Billboard as the best-selling female group of all time. Married to actor William Baldwin.
Already favored to win among the group are Hope Solo and Ricki Lake.
With a bulk of the cast reality stars, reactions remain mixed. While some are praising the diversity of the group, others are downright angry over the selection this season. Many believe the show is slowly “going downhill” and the celeb choices are getting worse and worse.
“Sorry, I too am a long time fan, but when this cast was announced, I knew I won’t be watching,” penned calvary_check on the show’s site. “So sad but ABC has crossed a line with this cast and I can cross my name off the list of viewers.”
“I guess you have scraped the bottom of the barrel this time,” Rita Young also wrote.
AlbieVO5 disagreed however, noting, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 5 season (sic) it’s this: ABC has really mastered the art of manipulating viewers. YOU WILL BE WATCHING because your inner nature can’t keep you from being curious. Congratulations to ABC and DWTS for breaking ‘new ground’ and delivering a truly diverse cast. This season is going to be a Ratings Bonanza!!!!!!!!!”
Some weren’t so sure however.
Several commentators argued over the LGBT issues that might be raised while others believed the show was just a dancing competition, and not a platform for personal activism. If the stars weren’t cutting it on the dance floor, they’d be ousted, regardless of their stance on certain issues.
“I don’t care who they are or what their personal issues are...If they can’t dance they need to go home and the non-professionals who try hard and dance well should be rewarded,” oneflcookie commented.
As the buzz continues over this season’s cast, ABC is still expecting a large viewership, with or without America’s stamp of approval.
The two-hour premiere airs Sept, 19, which will be followed by the results show and a meet the cast special on Sept. 20.