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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

'Dancing With The Stars' Season 17 Cast: Thoughts And Predictions

Mara Hyman |
September 8, 2013 | 5:27 p.m. PDT

Associate Entertainment Editor

The cast of Season 17 of "Dancing With the Stars" (ABC)
The cast of Season 17 of "Dancing With the Stars" (ABC)
This past Wednesday on "Good Morning America," Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet made the big announcement about the cast members on Season 17 of "Dancing With the Stars." Here are Neon Tommy's predictions for who will do well and our thoughts on each celebrity chosen.

Top Three:

Corbin Bleu (with Karina Smirnoff)

While one of the least recognizable on the current entertainment radar, he is best known for his role on Disney's mega-franchise "High School Musical." As this season's token Disney star, it'll be interesting to see how his dancing and performing skills play out on live television. However, what makes him a stand-out is that he's done a lot more performing recently than just "HSM" - he has starred in several Broadway shows including Godspell and In the Heights. That experience will undoubtedly help him on the show, but hopefully he will get enough votes from his fans to stay on long enough and won't fall into a similar trap like did Cheetah Girl Sabrina Bryan pre-All Star Season and get voted off too soon.

Amber Riley (with Derek Hough)

Also with some dance experience from her role as Mercedes on "Glee," it is likely that Amber Riley will do very well throughout the competition. She has a lot of fire and energy on the Fox show, so hopefully she can bring that to the stage. Derek Hough also has an impressive track record on "DWTS" as one of the best partners, so it should be fun to watch the two of them. The choice of having a "Glee" actor may seem a bit insensitive given the recent tragic death of Cory Monteith, and she'll likely get asked tons of questions about it early on, but perhaps it will bring back some positive energy to "Glee" especially since she has a vivacious personality.

Christina Milian (with Mark Ballas)

As a singer/actor and more recent co-host on "The Voice," Christina is certainly not shy in front of the camera. Musicians typically do well on "DWTS" due to their strong sense of rhythm, and she does have hip hop dance experience, so she will likely be a strong contestant. Like Derek Hough, Mark is also successful on "DWTS," so the two could be a really good pair. Like with many past contestants, Christina is likely using the experience to boost her music career, which is a smart move. She has a very bubbly and animated personality on "The Voice," which will probably translate on the dance floor if she has to make up for a few dancing missteps.


Keyshawn Johnson (with Sharna Burgess)

A former NFL wide receiver, there is little that we known about his dancing ability. However, athletes usually do surprisingly well on "DWTS" given their strength, agility, and strong footwork. They can usually lift their partners with ease and have a good stage presence on the dance floor. It is also fairly common for football players to receive ballet training to improve their performance, so maybe we'll see some dancing ability shine through. This choice is a huge toss-up since we simply know little about his performing ability, but we'll have to wait and see!

Brant Daugherty (with Peta Murgatroyd)

Whether it's good or not, we all know that "DWTS" is ultimately a popularity contest based on how many votes you receive. As this season's "token stud" known for his acting roles on "Pretty Little Liars" and "Army Wives," it is likely that he will get the majority of his votes on charm alone. While his level of dance experience is also unknown, Brant is fortunately paired with Peta who was the Season 14 pro-dancer winner. Whether they're able to flow smoothly together on the dance floor or not, they're a good looking dance team which may take them at least a few weeks into the competition.

Valerie Harper (with Tristan MacManus)

Many older fans of "DWTS" will be extremely pleased to see Valerie on the show as she starred in the mega-hit "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". Like some of the other contestants, she was arguably chosen due to her recent relevance in the media, as it was announced she had brain cancer this past spring. She will undoubtedly be one of the most inspiring castmembers for this very reason, showing the importance of living life to the fullest depsite setbacks. While she is mainly known for her tv show, Valerie is likely to do well since like Corbin Bleu, she has a dancing background from getting her start on Broadway as a chorus girl. Whether she is a strong ballroom dancer or not, it's likely that she will get strong support from viewers.

Elizabeth Berkley (with Val Chmerkovskiy)

An actress best known for "Saved by the Bell" and the movie "Showgirls," she will likely get a decent amount of popularity votes. Her dancing background comes not only from Showgirls, but possibly from hosting the short-lived show "Step Up and Dance" on Bravo. Val is also an extremely talented and strong dancer known for his choreography, so the two are likely to last for a decent amount of time. Maybe we'll see her Showgirls side come back into dance styles such as the Rumba?

Jack Osbourne (with Cheryl Burke)

There's something about Jack that tells us that he may be one of the suprises of the season. While known as a reality star on MTV's "The Osbournes," he more recently came into the headlines in 2012 for being diagnosed with MS. That may present some setbacks while dancing, and he doesn't have any known dance experience, but who knows...perhaps his determination will keep him on for a good few weeks. He has support from his family, especially his sister Kelly who came in third place on Season 9 of "DWTS." Cheryl Burke is also a very strong dancer, so the two should do a good job.

Bill Nye the Science Guy (with new dancer Tyne Stecklein)

Likely to be one of the biggest fan favorites and ratings boosters of the show, Bill Nye may also be surprisingly good at dancing. He had an upbeat personality on his hit show, plus he knows a lot about physics, so that may help somehow with moving on the dance floor? Like some of the more untrained cast members however, he may resort to humor to keep the dances - and the votes - alive. He also has a pro-partner who is completely new to "DWTS," which is a complete toss-up because she may pose a threat to the verteran dancers.

The Bottom:

Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi (with former troupe member Sasha Farber)

No. Please, no. As we saw with another "Jersey Shore" alum who graced the stage of "DWTS" (aka "The Situation"), it's a very bad idea. Especially since the show is no longer on the air, all she is known for is being a mother and having a dying spin-off on MTV with J-Woww. Her dance experience consists of her fist-pumping on the Shore, plus some moves she may have acquired while being a cheerleader in high school. Given her petite-ness, there also might be a large height difference between her and Sasha which can negatively affect their dancing. 

Bill Engvall (with former troupe member Emma Slater)

A stand-up comedian known for "The Bill Engvall Show" on TBS, he is likely to rely on his humor to get through routines to make up for a lack of dance experience. Unfortunately on "DWTS" there seems to be a "comedy curse" where the comedians fall flat and leave very early in the competition. We're still rooting for him, but given how little we known about his dancing ability, this one is a toughie.

Leah Remini (with Toni Dovolani)

Leah has gained a decent amount of popularity over the years. Not only did she star on "King of Queens," but she was part of the first group of female hosts on "The Talk." She has also been in the news recently for her experience in the world of Scientology as she just left the group. Also, while Toni is a great dancer, unfortunately he has been frequently paired with the least trained celebrities. We know nothing about her dance experience, but her booming personality is likely to keep her around at least for a week or so.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, this is a pretty solid cast, with a good range of ages, industries, relevancy, and dance experience levels. Unfortunately it seems as though all of the new pro-dancers have been paired with the least dance-savvy cast members, however this could also test their coaching ability. Who is your favorite to win Season 17? Do you agree with these predictions? Tune in to ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" on September 16th at 8/7c to find out!

Reach Associate Entertainment Editor Mara Hyman here.



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