LAST EDITED ON 09-01-10 AT 02:00 PM (EST)
This year's nightmare-about-to-be-in-progress and their edited-in professional partners, some of whom are already begging for the sweet release of death. (Not necessarily their death...)
Michael Bolton (singer) w. Chelsie Hightower (who's probably never heard of him)
Pros: In the right light, has a certain degree of elegance. Fanbase is out there, although not as numerous as it once was and with a fair number who are ashamed to admit it. Should have some concept of the ever-elusive 'musicality' of the dance.
Cons: People don't dislike his music, they despise it. May have the most uncontrollable hair in the history of the series and yes, Billy Ray, you just went down before you could throw a single lock. May not have as much charisma as he believes he does.
Wild cards: Has yet to get his own Catalog Butchery Night (although that may be on the way). Can only avoid it as long as he stays in, and if that's not motivation...
Results: One of the first three out.
Margaret Cho (comedian/actress) w. Louis van Amstel (is there a new rule: Louis gets the comic?)
Pros: Career on recent upswing thanks to appearing in popular series on Lifetime.
Cons: Not funny. (Yes, that's subjective. I'm sure there's people out there who find her hilarious. I personally find her to be a somewhat talented actress with absolutely no ability to locate a punchline without the help of sixteen scriptwriters and ideally, I'd like to find her locked in a small closet.) Series is on Lifetime.
Wild cards: May be able to tap into that long-lurking Asiatic female vote 'cause it's just been a matter of waiting for someone to support... um... no.
Results: Could be easily be the first one out.
Rick Fox (retired NBA player/actor/producer) w. Cheryl Burke (and the punchline returns: Cheryl draws the height differential)
Pros: Still has some athleticism about him. Not the worst-looking male (although some shots make his face look oddly plasticized) and might pick up a few votes on sex appeal. Has had enough public exposure with his work in front of and behind the camera to keep a small degree of awareness present.
Cons: Basketball players historically have trouble on the show: height differential is a hard thing to make up for in the routines, and few of the female dancers can compensate for his 6'7". May have a little public awareness left, but was never the best-known player to begin with -- plus what he does have comes with Laker backlash.
Wild cards: Not much. Maybe he can make a documentary about his training.
Results: Bigger problems to cut out early, but he won't get past seventh place.
Jennifer Grey (actress) w. Derek Hough (who rigged the draw again)
Pros: Has had some dance experience: for details, consult Netflix. The public remembers her for that experience more than they remember her for anything else: might get a few votes just based on nostalgia. (Never gets due credit for her voice acting.)
Cons: Got paired with The Ringer Magnet and might be seen as this season's plant (although sadly, Derek is a net plus to your vote total). Isn't getting extra takes: that dance experience was decades ago and people generally don't get more flexible with time. Was never the best-known actress, period.
Wild cards: Reunions with her original partner on the results show will have to wait.
Results: Could go fifth place or a little higher with an amazing performance run -- but realistically, could finish anywhere in the pack.
David Hasselhoff (public spectacle) w. Kym Johnson (who would like to know what she did to deserve this)
Pros: Could pull in the rarely-seen German text vote if his fans can ever figure out how to break the ID code problem. Arguably the best-known male in the pack. Can stand upright for extended periods. Comes with his own theme song. If any dance requires slow-motion running, put him down for an automatic 10. Can laugh at himself. Has been a judge and may know something about playing the panel.
Cons: Falls down a lot. Some of this is from alcohol, some from late nights, and some is because he just falls down a lot. Has days when he's almost comprehensible: sadly, those tend to be his worst ones. Hasn't turned into a cartoon because that's offensive to animated characters everywhere, but if you've got a better term...
Wild cards: Special Guest Appearance: Pamela Anderson. Other Special Guest Appearance: Spongebob Squarepants. (Return of the Launching Pecs!)
Results: I think he'll last longer than he should. Nowhere near the finals, but midfield is within reach unless he really stumbles at the outset. Or opens his mouth. And words come out. At least, things which resemble words...
Florence Henderson (actress) w. Corky Ballas (who must be tired of coming off the bench for the same pinch-hitting situation)
Pros: America's Mom, at least if you believe the ideal for a mother is the Brady model and in that case, there's a good chance you're voting for Bristol. Probably the most respected female in the pack. Has musical experience.
Cons: Seventy-six. That's not ageism, that's a solid fact: she's seventy-six and unless you've basically been maintaining your conditioning for years before this, training for this series is going to be hard on you.
Wild cards: Just might be able to get VFTW involved in this, but would probably have to actively court them. (They may have other choices. Lots and lots of other choices.)
Results: I can see her reaching the halfway mark if she gets public backing to go with midrange scores -- but she's also the most likely to go out on injury or from a mercy lack-of-vote.
Kyle Massey (actor/rapper/only one to stay under the radar preseason) w. Lacey Schwimmer (still being punished for her FOX ties)
Pros: Whatever the Disney fanbase actually is, he'll get it.
Cons: Who? Seriously -- who? You may have seen his show, or you might have even seen his other show, but you still might not have any real idea who he is. That means he needs high scores early and lots of them -- and from what I've seen of him, he's not in that kind of shape.
Wild cards: Sister's psychic powers may mysteriously add votes to phone line.
Results: You don't need to be a precog to see this one coming: out early.
Brandy Norwood (singer/reality star/the one without the dating show) w. Maksim Chmerkovskiy (who'll go on an extra show to compensate)
Pros: Singing experience in her generation means dance experience is very nearly automatic. About as close to a real ringer as we have in the pool. As with the Hoff, has been a judge and might know how to work the panel. Has enough reality TV experience to work the camera a little more than the others and knows how to not make a total fool of herself in front of it.
Cons: Hasn't done anything but reality television in a long time.
Wild cards: Her brother may try to sleep with all the female dancers. And every other female contestant. Also Carrie-Ann. Brooke. The band's singers. The staircase...
Results: I think she's top three, but she'll have to work for it towards the end.
Bristol Palin (abstinence spokesperson) w. Mark Ballas (who should now set every phone he owns on fire)
Pros: A fanbase who will devotedly vote for her no matter what how her actual performance goes while swearing that falling on her face was an artistic move and anyone who sees otherwise is Unamerican and can leave right now. (They may also try to deport Bruno.)
Cons: At least as many people who are afraid that for every week she stays on the show, the odds of her mother showing up and taking over go up by another seven percent.
Wild cards: If she has actual talent... well, with the voting potential she's working with, she doesn't need talent. But it wouldn't hurt. Levi showing up can help or hurt. Mostly hurt.
Results: If her mother's people can force themselves to stoop into watching this show, she could ride the wave of tea all the way to the F4. She even has a measurable chance of winning this thing. But whenever and however she goes out, someone's gonna cry conspiracy...
Audrina Patridge (unreality star/the one Spencer didn't get footage of) w. Tony Dovolani (free Tony!)
Pros: At this point in her career, has worked with more scripts and stage direction than Florence. Knows the ins and outs of reality TV better than anyone. Should be able to take direction, assist in her own costume design, and may be able to create a sweetheart image that lasts more than five seconds.
Cons: If Heidi or Spencer show up in the audience or the home footage, subtract fifty thousand votes. Reality stars fade fast and her series just ended: fanbase plummets may be a direct vertical.
Wild cards: Not much. She can't even count on getting the lone portion of the MTV following.
Results: With talent and a lot of luck, gets pretty deep into the game: F3 isn't completely out of the question. If she has no skills, then it's a question of how long she rides her partner's votes. I'll figure on a little learning ability and give her a late exit.
Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino (every sober woman's worst nightmare) w. Karina Smirnoff (who must have killed someone in the offseason... and still doesn't deserve this)
Pros: Right now, a few people know who he is. This is a state which may last a whole three hours.
Cons: To know him is, for the most part, to hate him. A walking target for every general principles face slap that's ever been launched. Clouds of spray tan may render stage into hazmat zone. IQs drop in his presence. A black hole of negative stereotypes from which nothing, not even a hint of personality, can escape.
Wild cards: Snooki may try to sleep with anything RayJ missed.
Results: Feel free to spontaneously combust at any time.
Kurt Warner (very recently retired NFL quarterback/choir boy) w. Anna Trebunskaya (who may be getting a little tired of athletics by now)
Pros: Very recently retired, so still has some skills. Football players have historic success on the series: combination of athleticism, ability to learn routines, and being used to taking direction. Should contend for the Christian vote among a large segment and get a lot of what Bristol doesn't.
Cons: Comes with his wife. (If you've ever had him in your media market, you have met his wife. She does not qualify as a 'pro'.) As with many football players, could have lingering injuries which manifest at the worst possible moment. Squeaky-clean image may backlash at any time.
Wild cards: Could have trouble dealing with the demands on the competition when it comes to projecting sexuality: can he deal with the desire dances without destroying himself?
Results: In a season of horribly weak males, might make F3 just by default.
I'm so glad I'm sitting this one out.
Edited to add pairings.