It seems like just yesterday that we were awaiting the big “Dancing With the Stars” casting announcement for the popular celebrity dance competition’s 11th season, where bold-faced names like Bristol Palin, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and eventual champ Jennifer Grey became even bolder during their time on the show.
Now, just six months later, the famous dance floor has been wiped clean to make way for a whole new crop of aspiring dance champs.
(The show airs on March 21st.)
Here’s a look at the 11 eclectic new contestants signed on for season 12 of “Dancing With the Stars”:
Jericho, born Christopher Irvine, is very well known to the world of professional wrestling fans. The 40-year-old was the first undisputed champion of the WWE in December 2001 (he beat Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock) but put his career on hold recently to focus more on his other passion project, performing as lead singer of heavy-metal band Fozzy.
Although originally signed up to strut his stuff on season two, Romeo was replaced at the last minute by his equally famous poppa, Master P (whose turn on “DWTS” has been touted by many critics and followers as one of the worst in the show’s history; his Paso Doble holds the record for the lowest score ever). With the bar set slightly lower than average, the 21-year-old rapper, who once played college basketball for USC, likely hopes to make it farther than his father.
The decidedly un-shy, already established reality-TV star Wilkinson is no stranger to performing or baring all in front of audiences. Wilkinson, who got her start as a Playboy model, ventured into television as a part of E!’s “The Girls Next Door” before slightly tempering her party-girl ways to settle down with NFL player Hank Baskett, their domestic bliss being the subject of her current show, “Kendra: Bunny Next Door.”
Before she was the subject of her own reality show, “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life,” first on A&E and now Lifetime, and a Jenny Craig spokeswoman, Alley was known to several generations of TV watchers and filmgoers for her memorable turns on TV shows “Cheers” and “Veronica’s Closet” and movies like “Look Who’s Talking.” The outspoken celeb is a longtime “DWTS” fan.
The self-proclaimed “Queen of All Media” made a name for herself as a radio DJ then became a best-selling author and currently hosts her own syndicated daytime talk show called “The Wendy Williams Show.” Williams has a knack for asking uncomfortable questions during celebrity interviews and will certainly be a force to be reckoned with on the dance floor. Her talk show is reportedly scheduled to go on hiatus while she competes on the show.
As has been the custom over the course of the past few seasons, the “DWTS” team has welcomed another Disney star into their midst, Chelsea Kane (formerly known as Chelsea Staub, Kane legally changed her professional name back in December). The 22-year-old was a regular on Disney’s “JONAS,” starring the Jonas Brothers, and currently lends her voice to the character Bea on the animated series “Fish Hooks.”
Sugar Ray Leonard
Leonard, a former professional boxer, follows in the footsteps of a slew of former professional athletes who have danced before him. While athletes have been formidable competitors in “DWTS” seasons past, the boxers haven’t fared quite as well. The 54-year-old’s illustrious career includes winning world titles in five weight divisions, including the welterweight champion of the world, as well as being the first boxer to earn more than $100 million in total purse winnings. Here’s hoping Leonard’s footwork is more like that of Laila Ali than Evander Holyfield and Floyd Mayweather.
Although he’s had a few memorable parts on TV shows like “Entourage” and “Ugly Betty,” for a lot of people, Macchio will always and forever be the original “Karate Kid.” Sure, Jaden Smith karate-chopped his way to box-office success with his turn in 2010′s remake, but Macchio kicked his way into the hearts of teenage girls everywhere with 1984′s “The Karate Kid” and subsequent sequels.
They’re certainly not skimping on the athletes this season! Ward joins the cast as one of three professional athletes competing for the famed discoball trophy. The onetime Super Bowl MVP currently plays wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers and was born in Seoul, South Korea. In September of last year, President Barack Obama appointed him a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
This Czechoslovakian beauty is a supermodel with a big heart. The 31-year-old was one of hundreds of thousands of people caught in the devastating South Asian tsunami in 2004, which killed 250,000 people in 14 countries, including Nemcova’s boyfriend at the time, Simon Atlee. When Nemcova visited the site of the tsunami several months later, she was unsatisfied with the structure of how charitable donations benefit those living in states of emergency, so she created the Happy Hearts Fund to help children in post-disaster areas in eight countries: Haiti, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Hurricane Katrina-affected areas of the United States.
While most TV watchers are familiar with Dr. Drew from his various VH1 shows, his “Loveline” radio partner, Mike Catherwood, might not be as well-known. Catherwood, also known as Psycho Mike, has co-hosted the syndicated radio show for a year now, following Adam Carolla’s exit back in 2005. The muscly radio host — who also works on Los Angeles’ “Kevin & Bean Show” — recently made a memorable appearance filling in for Regis Philbin on “Live With Regis & Kelly.” We’ll see if his smooth-talking skills and time in the gym translate to a successful “DWTS” run.
via MTV By Kara Warner