02/28/2012 03:58 pm ET Updated Feb 28, 2012

'Dancing With The Stars' Cast Formula: Ballroom Champion Predictions

Professional athlete? Child star? Disney cutie? Check, check and check.

If you thought that this season of "Dancing with the Stars" would break away from the tried-and-true formula, think again. With their genre bases covered, the talent show delivers its audience a tasting menu that will leave just about anyone satisfied. Now, with 13 seasons in their back pocket, is their formula a recipe for spoilers? Before the contestants take the ballroom floor for their first dance, we've already got our eye on a few frontrunners.

THE CHILD ACTOR: Melissa Gilbert, Jaleel White
The "Little House on the Prairie" actress and "Family Matters" star join the ranks of child actors who have introduced themselves to a younger generation and later re-introduced themselves to the "DWTS" target audience. But a former child actor has yet to experience the glory of wielding the mirror ball trophy. Once an after-thought, always an after-thought? But with contestants like Tatum O'Neal (ninth place) and Joey Lawrence (third place), the jury's out on whether a former young actor can really make a comeback.

When you have new kids on the block, like this fresh-faced Disney star, competing against legends like Gladys Knight, you'd think that they wouldn't stand a fighting chance. But these kids can dance! Former Disney Channel contestants like Cody Linley (fourth place), Chelsea Kane (third place) and Kyle Massey (second place) know how to ham it up for the cameras and we have a feeling that Fegan will do the same to land in the top three.

THE LEGEND: Gladys Knight
It's lights out for Gladys Knight's competition. How can you compete with the "Midnight Train to Georgia" songstress? Although it's doubtful that Knight will be gliding away with a win, previous contestants like 85-year-old Cloris Leachman (seventh place) and 65-year-old Susan Lucci (sixth place) nearly made it to the top five. We have high hopes for this 67-year-old soul singer -- if history is any indication, she'll be around after quite a few rounds of elimination.

THE UNDERDOG: Gavin Degraw, Katherine Jenkins
Both Degraw and Jenkins have an isolated fan base. Sure the pop-rock singer-songwriter has had a few hits, but he's no teen heartthrob -- like the cougar-beloved Drew Lachey, who emerged as champion on season two. Similarly, Jenkins may find it difficult to connect with a younger audience, although her partner, Mark Ballas, has a fan base that could serve her well. Either way, there's always a certain appeal that comes along with being the underdog -- although that didn't seem to help magician Penn Jillette, actor David Hasselhoff or Go-Go's member Belinda Carlisle, who all finished in last place during their respective seasons.

THE WILD CARD: Maria Menounos, William Levy, Jack Wagner
They're sexy and they know it. Where else do celebrities get the chance to shake it in barely there sequin numbers and shirtless getups? Menounos, Levy and Wagner will certainly be giving their professional partners a run for their money when it comes to sex appeal. And with Nicole Scherzinger (champion), Brooke Burke (champion) and Drew Lachey (champion) as their witnesses, sex sells.

THE SPITFIRE: Sherri Shepherd
There's nothing funny about the rough go comedians have had on "DWTS." From Adam Corolla (ninth place), Jeffrey Ross (13th place), Ashley Hamilton (16th place) and Margaret Cho (10th place), "Dancing" viewers seem to be less than pleased with the funny set. But Sherri Shepherd is one funny lady who can keep up with the likes of Tracy Morgan and Barbara Walters.

THE ATHLETE: Martina Navratilova, Donald Driver
When it comes to the sheer number of mirror ball trophy wins, professional athletes take the cake. With almost half of the "DWTS" champions (six out of 13) being professional athletes, it would be wise to place your bets on tennis star Martina Navratilova and Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver. From the football stadium and the race track to the gymnast's ring and the ice rink, athletes like Hines Ward, Hélio Castroneves, Shawn Johnson and Kristi Yamaguchi have all taken home top honors. It looks like Navratilova and Driver are already poised for a win.

Check out the season 14 "Dancing with the Stars" contestants below:

'Dancing With The Stars' Season 14 Cast