LAST EDITED ON 03-02-10 AT 09:09 AM (EST)
(Note: partner influence can change some of this in a hurry, but not all):
Buzz Aldrin (Astronaut) (w. Ashly Costa (returning))
Advantages: Senior vote, historical interest. Retired military tend to be in better shape than the average person in his age bracket. Used to learning under pressure.
Disadvantages: Quality of American education means very few people know who he is. Doesn't have a real preshow fanbase and has to pick up viewers as he goes along.
Wild cards: Still has core of people insisting he was on a movie set: small children may be tricked into voting to support Buzz Lightyear.
Result: Probably one of the first three out.
Pamela Anderson (Actress, icon) (w. Damian Whitewood (rookie))
Advantages: May have the most recognizable name in the field. Large, determined preexisting fanbase. Knows how to work publicity angles as well as anyone in the pack.
Disadvantages: Hated by a large number of women for any reason they can invent at the time: will have to work hard to get votes from the other side of the gender aisle, and it may be a lost cause going in. Most likely to get blasted by Len for just existing.
Wild cards: Strong sense of humor: willing to play up her image for laughs. Could bring exes into play for both results show performances and votes.
Results: Can probably hang on until fifth place. might be able to go further.
Erin Andrews (Sports reporter) (w. Maksim Chmerkovskiy)
Advantages: Gets a lot more of the ESPN fanbase than the athletes in the field do. Almost has a dancer's build going into this, not that it means much. Wittier than people give her credit for and could do well in a live interview.
Disadvantages: Seen as a pre-programmed talking head by a lot of people (mostly female, some male) no matter what she does. Has already been blasted for daring to wear comfortable clothing on hot days: gawds only know what the ultra-conservative voters will think of dancing costumes. Not as much name recognition as she needs.
Wild cards: Can tap into any athletic training facility you care to name for some expert advice. Knows things about this year's athletes that they'd rather not have revealed and could potentially blackmail someone out. Double-duty on DanceCenter!
Shannen Doherty (Actress) (w. Mark Ballas)
Advantages: Has a lot of name recognition despite having largely sat on the sidelines for the last decade-plus: never completely faded from public awareness. Fanbase is at the early end of the Internet generation and should know how to work texting for maximum benefit.
Disadvantages: Lingering memories of all those headlines from her time on her original show. Still has a lot of people who dislike her. Perceived as a drama queen.
Wild cards: Not much unless she gets into a hair-pulling fight with another competition, which could go either way.
Results: Early exit.
Kate Gosselin (Harridan) (w. Tony Dovolani (poor Tony))
Advantages: Tons of name recognition. Existing fanbase is incredibly loyal and cannot be talked out of voting for her no matter what the actual floor evidence looks like.
Disadvantages. Fanbase is a little smaller than it used to be (and never consisted of that many people to begin with). Will have the tabloids jumping down her throat the whole time. Inevitable perception that just by being on this show, she's abandoning her children. Completely incapable of taking advice, listening to another person's opinion, or learning: could not be talked into grabbing a life ring while drowning.
Wild cards: Can bring kids to performances in attempts to lure 'Awww...' vote. Should pick up a few people every time Jon does something stupid, which he will, he will...
Results: Goes around midseason.
Evan Lysacek (Figure Skater) (w. Anna Trebunskaya)
Advantages: Basically already does this and just has to adjust his moves. Coming in right after the Winter Olympics, so his name recognition is as high as it could be, plus people might just follow him across the channels. Gets to ride the reputation of other (former) contestants as well as his own.
Disadvantages: If he talks about this too publicly, the other contestants might justifiably murder him.
Wild cards: Carrie-Ann might go into full Kara mode and tongue bathe him to death.
Result: Top three.
Niecy Nash (Comedian, actress) (w. Louis Van Amstel)
Advantages: None. Seriously: none whatsoever. Her show has a cult following, but it's not a very large cult. Gets no headlines (good or bad), is known by virtually no one outside of dedicated Comedy Central watchers, and may not even have her name spelled right in the credits.
Wild cards: For her, it's all about the partner: if she gets a male with a popular following, could hang on for a little while based on his votes. Otherwise...
Results: Don't unpack.
Chad Ochocinco (Active NFL Wide receiver) (w. Cheryl Burke)
Advantages: We know him whether we want to or not. The single most Internet and tech-savvy person in the field: will work his website, Twitter, blog, iPhone app, and every other bit of code he can scrounge for votes. Should provide the most complete behind-the-scenes look we've ever had at the show, along with the most biased one. Natural athletic ability could translate to dance: other football players have made the transition well.
Disadvantages: People know him, but very few of them like him. Has a giant ego: (repeat with added echo and reverb) a giant ego. Will insist on being in the spotlight on every dance: potentially unable to give equal time to his partner. Perceived as a jerk most of the time because in the past, he was a jerk most of the time and hasn't improved much since. Largely incapable of short-term self-control and over the long term, has none. Could easily say a few words at the wrong time and destroy what little chance he has, not to mention taking ABC off the air.
Wild cards: (May not be achieved by the Bengals as long as he's on the team.) Has a weird little-boy charisma that works for as much as ten seconds at a time before it wears off forever. Keeps getting people to take chances on him against their better judgment.
Results: Out earlier than he thinks he'll be, with occasional bouts of excruciating throughout -- but if he works everything he has, cheating included, could see the finals. He just won't win.
Jake Pavelka (Former bachelor) (w. Chelsie Hightower (poor Chelsie))
Advantages: Comes into this directly from finishing his own series, so there won't be much time for people to forget him. Prior crossover went well for its participant. Has abs.
Disadvantages: Has no brain. People now hate him. Oh, do they hate him. You may think people hate serial killers, but him? Dexter Morgan could take the floor labeled with his real occupation and not get as much hate mail as this one would. Will lose a thousand votes every time they show his intended in the audience, so that's fifteen thousand per episode, and they add up.
Wild cards: Can blame the editing -- no, he won't. Because his previous show is never edited to set anything up. Not at all. Not that anyone's ever been able to tell. And this? Is the most dramatic wild card notation of the thread.
Results: Had better hope he can dance, because the fanbase half of the vote is gonna kill him. With talent, out as soon as the field thins a little: without it, had better start finding sponsors for his training equipment line.
Nicole Scherzinger (Singer) (w. Derek Hough)
Advantages: Dance experience plus substantial amount of reality TV experience: has been both contestant and judge before this and knows the process from just about every conceivable angle. Should be able to work the potential editing better than anyone in the field.
Disadvantages: Both of her prior band labels work against her more than they work for her. Fanbase is present, but can't match the numbers some of the others can put up -- enough baseline to last a while, but will have trouble adding to it. Most likely to get blasted by Carrie-Ann for not learning fast enough.
Wild cards: Has some chance to really work with her partner on choreographing unique routines: if she can make her stage experience cross over and be acceptable to the panel, her scores could keep her in this. Can do double-duty as results show performer and contestant, which means the series has a vested interest in trying to keep her around.
Results: Late midfield with a small chance to see the finals.
Aiden Turner (Actor) (w. Edyta Silwinska)
Advantages: Conventionally attractive in the soap opera way. Like all soap actors, is used to learning under major time pressure.
Disadvantages: Soaps are dead.
Wild cards: Could have talent. Might get a great partner. Has the same potential as anyone to dance into America's heart.
Results: Cannon fodder.