This morning the twelve new celebrity hoofers joining the latest season of “Dancing with the Stars” were announced, and while it was a good looking crew, this season lacked the Olympic/pro athlete ringers we’ve gotten used to in some (but not all) previous seasons. Still, that’s no good reason not to place some bets for (or against) who will make it to the winner’s circle. Not that you should take these odds to Vegas. Although really, do you want to be the sucker trying to put down money on a reality TV dancing show?
Who: Jack Wagner (“General Hospital” and “Melrose Place”)
Paired with: Anna Trebunskaya
Odds: 15 to 1
Why: At 52, Jack Wagner isn’t a young whippersnapper anymore, but he’s clearly in good shape (he’s such a strong golfer he considered going pro). Still, the grueling pace of the show can lead to injuries, especially for those with older knees and ankles. Wagner should still have solid name recognition with a certain demographic, but whether that’s enough to take him far is uncertain. In short, Wagner better dance his ass off.
Who: Melissa Gilbert (“Little House on the Prairie”)
Paired with: Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Odds: 20 to 1
Why: Look, we’re all for little Laura Ingalls Wilder to do well. Her memoir about how loving and losing Rob Lowe? Heartbreaking. But it’s been a lot of years since “Little House” and we’re pretty sure a whole lot of people have no clue who she is. Still, she has a not-so-secret weapon — Maks. His loyal fans could propel her through a few extra weeks as long as her dancing is up to par — and we doubt Maks will allow it to be anything less.
Who: Donald Driver (Green Bay Packers)
Paired with: Peta Murgatroyd
Odds: 1 to 2
Why: A lot of football players have done well on this show — though a lot have bombed. Still, as a wide receiver Driver has to be agile and quick on his feet, so he’s automatically got an edge. It also doesn’t hurt that Driver has such a good story — initially headed toward a life of crime, his grandma set him straight and he discovered he excelled in sports (he could have gone to the Olympics for his high jumping skills). These day, his Donald Driver foundation helps sick kids with medical bills as well as the homeless, plus he writes kids’ books. Unless he forgets a routine (sorry, Chynna), he may have a lock on this.
Who: William Levy (telenova star apparently known as the “Brad Pitt of Mexico”)
Paired with: Cheryl Burke
Odds: 10 to 1
Why: Though he is awfully cute, the fact that he is a complete unknown to non-Spanish speakers (with the exception of viewers of “The Soup”) is a pretty big hindrance.
Sherri Shepherd (“The View”)
Paired with: Val Chmerkovskiy
Odds: 5 to 1
Why: She has a built in audience on “The View” five days a week, and she’s sure to be amusing. Fans will support her, but Shepherd will need to deliver the goods. Flying back and forth between her day job in New York and the show in Los Angeles isn’t going to be easy, though, and it’s going to cut into her rehearsal time. She’s likely to make it to the middle of the pack based on fan loyalty, but she’ll need to do more than crack jokes to stick around.
Who: Katherine Jenkins (opera star)
Paired with: Mark Ballas
Odds: 25 to 1
Why: She’s a lovely, talented woman. Whose fan base will never, ever watch reality TV. Unless she can really dance, she’s done for.
Who: Gavin DeGraw (singer/songwriter)
Paired with: Karina Smirnoff
Odds: 12 to 1
Why: As a musician, we know he has rhythm, but it’s been a long time (2003, to be exact) since “I Don’t Want to Be” came out. While “One Tree Hill” fans will likely give him their vote, how many people are watching the last season of that show anyway?
Who: Martina Navratilova (tennis pro)
Paired with: Tony Dovolani
Odds: 2 to 1
Why: Yes, she recently battled cancer. She’s 55 years old. So why such high odds? Have you ever seen this woman play tennis? She’s fiercely competitive, a total workhorse and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. Billie Jean King called her “the best singles, doubles and mixed doubles player that has ever lived.” Dancing may not be her forte, but don’t bet against her.
Who: Roshon Fegan (star of Disney Channel”s “Shake It Up”)
Paired with: Chelsie Hightower
Odds: 15 to 1
Why: Who? Just kidding (but really, who?). Yes, Kyle Massey came in second place during season 11, but he was not only charming and almost cuddly, he was great fun to watch on the dance floor. Maybe Fegan will be able to win us over with his youthful energy, but living up to the standard Massey set won’t be easy.
Who: Maria Menounos (co-host of “Extra”)
Paired with: Derek Hough
Odds: 3 to 1
Why: The former beauty pageant contestant is going to look great in the dresses, also has a built-in TV audience (and unlike Shepherd, she doesn’t have to fly cross country to get to her day job) and looks fit as a fiddle. Unless she has two left feet, she should go far.
Who: Jaleel White (Urkel on “Family Matters”)
Paired with: Kym Johnson
Odds: 7 to 1
Why: Hey, it’s Urkel! There’s definitely a reason to cheer for a former child star who seems remarkably normal (and hasn’t knocked over a liquor store OR resorted to reviving his famously dorky and defining character). But White may have wanted to get in a little trouble just to increase his name recognition value. Still, it’s not like that many of his fellow dancers have been relevant in the 21st century, either.
Who: Gladys Knight (singer)
Paired with: Tristan MacManus
Odds: 20 to 1
Why: Though she was a major name in the 70s, the 67-year-old great-grandmother is definitely a long shot in the competition. Though she may bring back fond memories for some, she’s not likely to ring a bell for most people under 40. It also doesn’t help that Tristan has become the pro most likely to waltz around the dance floor with a post-menopausal chick (52-year-old Nancy Grace was his last partner).
Who do you plan to vote for on “Dancing with the Stars”?