The Rib and I are huge fans of Dancing With the Stars. Seems natural, right? We heart the “magic box,” are full-time fancy, and love any event that takes place in a ballroom. And, The Rib loves a ball gown at least as much as I love her in a ball gown! We have to give it to The Mouse Network—they’ve assembled quite a cast of former celebrity competitors for this season of Dancing With The Stars! We don’t envy judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, or Bruno Tonioli this season—a perfect “30” by week 3 is a strong possibility!
What makes this season of Dancing With The Stars even more special? Host Tom Bergeron enters the ballroom for tonight’s premier fresh off of his well-deserved Emmy win for Outstanding Reality Show Host! Congrats, Mr. Bergeron! From fainting spells, to wardrobe malfunctions, to awkward interactions between judges and contestants, to a downgrade at co-host, you’re a consummate pro!
Between us, The Rib and I have only missed one and a half seasons of this show. We’ve been toying with the idea of doing a weekly rundown of the show while sipping a wine that fits with the theme and/or dances of the week for the last couple of seasons of Dancing With The Stars; Season 15’s “All-Stars” iteration seemed somewhat of a sign that we should start it this year.
Without further adieu, here are our initial impressions of this season’s celebrity/dancing pro couples and our predictions for finishes (there’s a full-time fancy chart at the end):
Apolo Anton Ohno/Karina Smirnoff
The Rib: Karina is smoking hot, and Apolo is an Olympic gold medal and previous DWTS winner. I expect awesome out of the gate, along with a string of skimpy outfits for Karina—but seriously, you cannot mind that, whatever your sexual preference. She and Apolo will be in it to win it! 4th place finish.
Stub: Something tells me that Apolo and Karina will not have the chemistry to portray, if I may paraphrase judge Carrie Ann Inaba, the “vertical expression of a horizontal act.” I just don’t see Apolo holding up to Karina’s “sizzle.” That said, both Apolo and Karina have the drive, technical skill, and stubbornness necessary to gut out a tough competition. Predicting a middle of the pack 7th place finish for this mismatched couple.
Bristol Palin/Mark Ballas
The Rib: Bristol tried hard and came across as very likeable due to obvious heavy burden of self-doubt. Unfortunately, she is not very talented, and in this field of Thoroughbreds, not even Mark Ballas can save her, despite his large fan base. Bristol will benefit from her familiarity with Mark, but I predict that she will be the first one voted off—13th place finish.
Stub: Bristol did come across as likeable in her turn in the ballroom in Season 11. And when she wasn’t visibly counting during her routines, she portrayed a certain sweetness on the dance floor that was nice to watch at times, even if her technical abilities weren’t quite up to par. She will benefit from her familiarity with Mark, if only due to the fact that she’s comfortable crying on his shoulder; she’ll be doing just that when she is the first to leave the ballroom. 13th place finish.
Drew Lachey/Anna Trebunskaya
The Rib: Drew Lachey was a good little dancer and won Season 2, but the competition on the early seasons was nothing compared to the last several seasons. I am not convinced that his “98 Degrees” fame and comparative level of skill will put him better than middle of the pack. Likewise, Anna doesn’t have a sufficient fan base of her own to keep the votes coming. 11th place finish.
Stub: I gotta be honest, the only dance I remember from Drew Lachey is the “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.” They seem to trot that one out over and over when past contestants show up later in the season to fill space in order to keep the show on air for an extra half hour. More than anyone else on this season’s cast, this guy has been waiting for an “All Stars” iteration to come around. Too bad he’s in over his head here, even with the brilliant, yet underrated, Anna as his partner. I’ll miss her more than him upon their early exit from the ballroom. 10th place finish.
Emmitt Smith/Cheryl Burke
The Rib: One of the greatest football players of all-time with one of the best dancers on Dancing With The Stars should be a potent combination. Emmitt has that huge smile and intense likeability—he brings the fun, but as I have pointed out with many of the early winners, I just don’t know if he has the chops against some of these other folks. Still, he will be a crowd favorite, as is Cheryl, which will keep him in until at least mid-way through the competition. 7th place finish.
Stub: Not sure what The Rib means by “one of the greatest football players of all time.” He’s number one in the record books and our hearts! But we’ll let that go for now. Even during his winning run on Season 3, Emmitt wasn’t the absolute best dancer in the ballroom week to week, but his charm and charisma more than made up for that fact. Don’t get me wrong—Emmitt Smith did turn out to be a great dancer. His work ethic is second to none and he knows what it takes to win. And he’s with two-time champion Cheryl, who’s not only one of the best pros in the ballroom, but is also hungry to become the first dancing pro to take home three mirror ball trophies. I wouldn’t count them out, but I predict Emmitt will finish in 5th place.
Gilles Marini/Peta Murgatroyd
The Rib: Seriously, this couple puts so much hotness on the floor at the same time that we may not be able to look directly at the TV while they dance. ABC should consider handing out those shoeboxes with the pinholes to ensure our eyes don’t burn or make people sign waivers. I hope they dance right before a commercial break, because there will be a lot of folks that need a smoke after watching them. It actually should be illegal to pair these two. 1st place finish—they will win the whole thing!
Stub: Despite The Rib’s assertion that we may need pin-holed shoeboxes to watch this couple dance, I’m willing to take my chances at burning my eyes out to see what they bring to the floor. “Peta Murgatroyd” not only sounds like the name of a heroine from a comic book series, but this dancer looks the part, too. I’m guessing somewhere in his parents’ basement in the Midwest is a 29 year-old man writing Big Bang Theory fanfic that works Peta’s character into the boys’ comic book store visits. I’m pretty sure Gilles Marini could be the next James Bond if he can master a British accent. Of course the series would be way less action oriented, since he would never have to fire a weapon: he would just seduce every criminal he met—women and men alike—into surrender and charity work from prison. Gilles and Peta are strong contenders for the mirror ball, but will fall a bit short with a 2nd place finish.
Helio Castroneves/Chelsie Hightower
The Rib: I think the audience may need to take Valium and diabetes medicine to survive the high-octane, bubbly, super-sweet dances that these two are going to produce. They are both like little action figures with giant sweet smiles. They may actually suffer for being too cute! However, I am glad Chelsie has some better talent to work with this season. Helio is a crowd favorite, so I predict a long stay on the show this year. 5th place finish.
Stub: This couple was so successful in Season 5, the Mouse paired them up again. Wait, that was a different perky young pro last time. Either way, The Rib is right: on the dance floor, these two will look like the result of the Energizer Bunny having sex with a whole bag of Pixy Sticks. As good as he was when he won Season 5 with his beaming smile and energetic routines, I think Chelsie will bring out his sexy side better than his last pro partner. Too bad it will only net him a 3rd place finish.
Joey Fatone/Kym Johnson
The Rib: This is Stub’s wet dream—he’s a mark for Kym, and he loves it when a shorter, slightly stocky song and dance man with facial hair gets the limelight and a hot girl—I know, he’s a romantic. “Yoey Fatoney” can move, and Kym is awesome. AND Joey’s boy band heritage puts him fondly in the hearts of many DWTS watchers; however, the competition is tough. We’ll see if he can hang. 9th place finish.
Stub: Does The Rib know me or what? I am a mark for Kym Johnson—I think it’s her…accent. As for an adorable, bearded, slightly stocky song and dance man with a strong need for attention paired up with a hot girl, she’s kinda describing my life. See, I am a romantic (and pretty). “Yoey Fatoney’s” Star Wars-themed Tango in Season 4 was one of the most memorable dances in the history of the show. And given his familiarity with Kym (and the fact that he’s a straight man), I think he’ll be able to push his hips forward a bit more this go around, eliminating that pesky “bum sticking out” problem with his posture. In short, Joey and Kym will be perfectly ‘N Sync, which may take them deep into the season. Given the stiff competition, however, I can’t see them getting past an 8th place finish at this point.
Kelly Monaco/Val Chmerkovskiy
The Rib: I know she was the Season 1 winner, but I am not sure she can compete with some of the other stars. And let’s face it: Val is no Maks. He’s kind of “diet Maks;” you try to tell yourself that it will be just as good, but it isn’t, and we all know it. I am just not really excited by this duo—maybe they will prove me wrong… I couldn’t even type that with a straight face—where’s that sarcasm font when you need it? 10th place finish.
Stub: Agree with The Rib on this one. Not excited about this couple hitting the ballroom, but I’ve been wrong before. This is a case in which the dancing has to be phenomenal from the beginning in order for them to stay past the first several weeks, since neither has the fan backing some of the other contestant/pro dancer couples enjoy. While they could play the dark horse couple this season, I’m expecting a 12th place finish.
Kirstie Alley/Maksim Chmerkovskiy
The Rib: I will disclose at the start that I do not cotton to Kirstie Alley. The silly spelling of her name lost me “Final Jeopardy” in a highly-contested game at an 80s party several years ago, and it pretty much sealed the deal. That said, she worked quite hard in her previous season, has excellent chemistry with Maks, and actually was a great dancer—good enough that I had to admit she earned her second place finish (although not good enough to overcome multiple years of disdain, mind you!). She will do very well and has a good fan base among her age demographic as does Maks. 6th place finish.
Stub: When will this beef with Kirstie Alley end? She’s adorable. As for her name, it’s less of a spelling issue than a whole different name issue—that game was won fair and square. Kirstie was pretty good on the show, despite age, weight, and a bit of self-doubt. She and Maks do have a great chemistry—which I’m sure will help keep them around for a bit—but the competition this season is some kind of fierce. Their popularity with the audience won’t carry them as far as the great technical dance routines from their competitors. While I love me a cougar (and Maks), they will only stay around long enough for a 9th place finish.
Melissa Rycroft/Tony Dovolani
The Rib: Melissa is a very good dancer, a super dedicated worker, and I think this couple got a little robbed on her original season with a third-place finish. She will give a strong showing, and I, for one, would like to see the “Bad Boy of Ballroom,” Tony, get a win. She can bring the sexy and the elegant. I hope they get a shot at the final; they both deserve it. 2nd place finish.
Stub: Ah Melissa! As much as I love you on the dance floor, I really wish you had already returned to the ballroom as co-host. Melissa and Tony have a real shot of hoisting that mirror ball trophy at the end of the season. Hopefully, a Melissa win will also come with some new dresses, a wireless monitor pack, a microphone, and a return to the ballroom next spring to take her rightful place as Samantha Harris’s replacement! This competition is hers to lose. 1st place finish!
Pamela Anderson/Tristan MacManus
The Rib: Although during her original season she performed much better than we thought, particularly given her unnatural center of gravity, a large portion of the voting population has no desire to see more of her than necessary. This is quite unfortunate, because Tristan is such a cutie…seriously, he may well be the best thing to come out of Ireland since U2. I heart him! Too bad he is looking at a 12th place finish.
Stub: There was something unexpectedly sweet about Pamela Anderson on the dance floor and her “sexy” wasn’t nearly as overdone as every other second of her public (and private) life. I’m interested to see the chemistry between Pamela and Tristan—my guess is that Tristan will do a lot of blushing. I’ll give them a week or two to get sorted out, but I’m not sure this pairing will even come close to a winning combination. 11th place finish.
Sabrina Bryan/Louis van Amstel
The Rib: This seems like a bit of a mismatch of partners. I like Louis, but I just don’t see him with this Disney creation. However, she was an excellent dancer in her original season and met with an untimely departure when many saw her as an early favorite to take home the mirror ball trophy. She deserves a chance to progress farther in the competition if she performs as well this time, but I don’t know that the “Cheetah Girl” vote is that strong. She may find herself in a repeat early exit. 8th place finish.
Stub: Louis has an amazing ability to bring the best out of those that have a hard time transitioning from “celebrity” world to the ballroom. There is usually a shared tear or two after a terse “pep talk.” I think this couple has the potential to go deep in the show this season. Sabrina has a chip on her shoulder about being booted early and it seems that Louis always gets paired with “also rans.” Despite their determination, great routines, and audience support, the chips on their collective shoulders will only carry them to a 6th place finish.
Shawn Johnson/Derek Hough
The Rib: We love our Olympians, and although she was not a team member in London, gold medals still mean something to us. This adorable little chipmunk also has boundless energy, although I think she struggles with bringing “the sexy.” Shawn and Derek will give Helio and Chelsie a run for their money in the action figure category. Still, she won it before, and she may be tough to beat. 3rd place finish.
Stub: The cutesy factor is strong with this one. And I’ll be a primate’s parent’s brother if she didn’t nail the technical aspects of ballroom dancing. But The Rib is right: bringing “the sexy” isn’t really her strong suit. Despite a lack of sex appeal, her current partner’s best good friend led her to the mirror ball trophy in Season 8. A crowd favorite and near technical perfection give Shawn Johnson a real shot at a second win—if Derek can coax “the sexy” out of her this season. Still feel like she’ll only get a 4th place finish for her efforts.
How’d we do? Have any thoughts on our Dancing With The Stars handicapping? Do you agree with any of our predictions or assessments?
Lastly, with the Cha-Cha-Cha and Foxtrot on tap tonight, what are your suggestions for wine(s) to sip while viewing of the big premiere?
Leave a comment and let us know!
Cheers from the Ballroom at CorkEnvy,
Stub & The Rib