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Lean mean dancing machine

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Okay, so I only got two right. Still, there were a LOT of surprises when the lineup for season 7of "Dancing with the Stars" was announced today. The new season kicks off Sept. 22 on ABC, with a three-night dancing premiere extravaganza. Each couple is slated to peform two dances, but one unlucky couple will be booted off on night two of the competition, so the carnage starts early.

Let's cut to the chase: Here's the mix vying for that coveted mirror-ball trophy:

Susan Lucci, 62, daytime soap's reigning diva, Home Shopping Network superstar, (partnered with the suave Tony Dovolani). Even if she's eliminated early on, she's mastered the art of the gracious but fake "I'm so glad you won instead of me" look from decades of Tony nominations (and losses).

Misty May-Treanor, 31, Gold-medal beach vollyball champ in Beijing (partnered with . Maksim Chmerkovskiy). She's a pistol. Plus, she's already used to being on television in skimpy getups. She's got the stamina to handle the grueling dance rehearsals, and plenty of coordination on the ever-shifting sands. Let's see if she can handle dance shoes. And rhinestones. And spray-on tans. She and the feisty Maks will be a force to be reckoned with.

Kim Kardashian, 27: Reality show personality. Partnered with Mark Ballas. She's suffering from a serious cut on her toe after an altercation with the glass table in her New York hotel room (that required an overnight hospital stay), but the little darling of "Keeping Up wiht the Kardashians" says she'll be up on her dancing toes very soon. Can't wait to see the meltdowns she has when she realizes Karina Smirnoff's tan is darker than hers.

Lance Bass,29, former 'N Sync boy bander. Plenty of controversy has been brewing after rumors floated that Bass, now openly gay, would be partnered with a male pro. He gets pro newcomer Lacey Schwimmer (fresh from "So You Think You Can Dance" and her own line of tube socks). So there.

Cloris Leachman, 82, Oscar-, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actress (partnered with Corky Ballas), and the oldest competitor ever on the show. Best known for her role as the pesky Phyllis on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," Leachman is known for her rowdy personality If she's got the stamina and the moves, she could be a real surprise. But at 82, she seems more a producer's ratings gimmick than a serious choice. Her partner Corky is Mark Ballas' dancing dad, himself a former world champion of Latin Dance. Here's to the senior circuit!

Cody Linley, 18, actor. He's the boy of Hannah Montana's dreams on the hit Disney series, and the youngest competitor in the history of "Dancing." And as host Tom Bergeron quipped earlier today, finally Julianne Hough (Linley's partner) can be the older woman. The token "Disney" star will bring in hordes of "Hannah" fans. Can you say ratings bonanza?

Ted McGinley, 50, actor. (partnered with Inna Brayer). Most famous for TV roles in "Married With Children" and "Hope and Faith," he's got the comedic snap to liven up things a la George Hamilton. His partner is a U.S. Amateur 10 dance champ, with over 60 competitive dance titles to her name.

Toni Braxton, 40, singer. (partnered with Alec Mazo). The sultry chanteuse has had a tough going in real life, and has proven she can conquer whatever challenges come her way. She's got the drive and could be one of this season's big surprises.

Warren Sapp, 35, former NFL star (partnered with Kym Johnson). What can I say, this show loves its former NFL stars (Jason Taylor, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith). He's been campaigning for a slot on the show for a long while, so let's see if this defensive lineman has what it takes to make his NFL bretheren proud.

Rocco DiSpirito, 41, chef (partnered with Karin Smirnoff). The charming and highly acclaimed celebrity chef (and star of an ill-fated reality show several years back) is no doubt the show's attempt at wooing more female viewers. Could be a spoiler if he's as good with his feet as he his with his food processor.

Maurice Green, 34, Olympian sprinter (partnered with "Dancing olympian" Cheryl Burke): The gold medalist in track and field might just be the one to beat this season. He's got the moves and Burke is every bit the competitor he is. That mirror-ball trophy would look smashing alongside his two Olympic gold medals.

Jeffrey Ross, 42, comedian (partnered with Edyta Sliwinska). Any way you slice it -----"The Roastmaster General" or "The Meanest Man in Comedy," Ross is not one to mince words or attitude. He also served as a judge on "The Next Best Thing." So he has plenty of experience with crushing criticism. Let's just see if he can take what he's famous for dishing out.

Brooke Burke, 36, TV personality (partnered with Derek Hough). The former model has hosted a variety of cable shows including the E! travel series "Wild On!" (1999-2002) and the dismal "American Idol" wannabe "Rock Star" (2005-2006). She's posed nude for Playboy and nearly so for Maxim, so the skimpy getups of "Dancing" will prove downright constricting. She's also a video game goddess, as "Rachel Teller" from EA's Need for Speed: Underground 2." And, just to make the rest of us not-so-physically uhm "fit" females vomit with jealousy, she's also the proud mom of four!!! She follows a long line of leggy celeb eye candy, including Shannon Elizabeth and Stacy Keibler.

Let the dancing begin!

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This page contains a single entry by Miriam Di Nunzio published on August 25, 2008 10:30 AM.

IFC rolls out red carpet for Joan Rivers ... on a sitcom was the previous entry in this blog.

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