At the TCA press tour ABC announced the list of returning celebrity hoofers we’ll see on “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” — Melissa Rycroft, Bristol Palin, Helio Controneves, Pamela Anderson, Drew Lachey, Kirstie Alley, Joey Fatone, Shawn Johnson, Gilles Marini, Kelly Monaco, Apolo Anton Ohno and Emmitt Smith will make up the first twelve star dancers. Kyle Massey, Carson Kressley and Sabrina Bryan will be fighting for the 13th slot, which will be decided by voters on abc.com. Executive Producer Conrad Green urged the audience to log on after showing a video of Caron Kressley campaigning for votes.
“We asked, what should we do?” Executive Producer Conrad Green said of deciding on the 13th competitor. “Do we go with pure humor, do we add to the level of competition? Finally we said, why not let the fans decide? We had this window available for people to vote. So we spoke to the three stars and told them to go out and campaign and engage with America over the next four weeks.” Voting is open until August 24.
Though Green would not discuss which stars might have been pitched but ultimately turned down the offer (and he was equally tight lipped about how much the stars that did accept will be paid), one former competitor who won’t be dancing on the show is co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet. “I’m pretty good at multi-tasking, but to dance and host would be a bit too much.”
Green is pleased with his cast, however, and notes that the decision to wait this long for an all-stars edition was intentional. “We felt we needed enough time to build up the stock, as it were… We took the view we wanted to be the best of the best,” he said. “We wanted dancers from many different seasons.. the best personalities and the best dancing. We had a wish list, and we pretty much got the wish list. It’s a testament to how much people enjoyed it when they were on the show. This is our version of ‘The Avengers.'”
Not that every star is feeling like a superhero. “I had a very good time, but that was season two, six years ago,” said Drew Lachey. “The competition has stepped up every year. So I’m gonna stretch, get with my partner, hopefully they’re short, [though] it could be me and Kim, like the odd couple. But I’m gonna try to take everything I learned, mistakes and what worked for me in second season.”
Though his brother Nick is going to be starring in another reality show, “Stars Earn Stripes,” Drew thinks his training with Navy SEALS and Green Berets is no big deal. “I was in the military and I’ve done ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ and apart from putting on your gas mask… ‘Dancing with the Stars’ is harder. You don’t have to worry about spray tan and rhinestones chafing, I didn’t care how tall I was. Grenades are a nice little element, but we’ll get those lobbed [at us] this year, too.”
Another grenade for the dancers: Green notes that the stars will not have the same partners they had during their original seasons. “It would be impossible,” he says. “[But] it will make an intriguing mix.”
It’s also a mix that comes ready-made with controversy. Bristol Palin attracted most of the questions, with journalists urging her to admit she likes being on reality TV (and not just because she’s been forced into the public eye) and asking how she feels about gay people. “I’m not a homophobic,” she said. “Just because I’m for traditional marriage, that doesn’t mean I hate anybody. People are going to make up stuff about me no matter what. I’m going to just go have fun. It’s not about politics or marriage, it’s about dancing.”
But she did know one thing that won’t be happening this season. “I will not be dancing in a monkey suit.”