On August 25th, Good Morning America officially announced the show's season seven celebrity contestants. They are:
1) Grammy winner Lance Bass;
2) TV Chef Rocco DiSpirito;
3) Olympic Gold Medalist (just crowned) Misty May Treanor;
4) Gold medalist sprinter Maurice Greene;
5) Broadway star and singer Toni Braxton;
6) Reality TV star Kim Kardashian (who seems to have just injured her foot);
7) Hannah Montana star (and youngest ever to be on the show; will be paired with Julianne Hough) Cody Linley;
8) Actress (fabulous, I might add, and excellent comedian, and, according to the Good Morning America broadcast, the oldest star ever to be on the show), Cloris Leachman;
9) Actor Ted McGinley (to be paired with new dancer Inna Brayer);
10) "Everything woman" Brooke Burke;
11) a comedian supposedly more raucous than Adam Carolla, Jeffrey Ross (who will be paired with Edyta Sliwinska, so possibly next season's poor, beleaguered Julianne Hough);
12) Football player Warren Sapp (paired with Kym Johnson, whom the annoyingly ingratiating Good Morning America host kept pronouncing "gorgeous, gorgeous");
and finally (and this is the first season the contestants number more than twelve, by the way)
13) probably the most famous actress in all of daytime, Susan Lucci. After making a big deal of her numerous unsuccessful Emmy nominations, said annoyingly ingratiating GMA host pronounced being accepted to DWTS "better than any award." Hmm.
Anyway, it appears DWTS producers have worked very hard to cover just about every major demographic base: young Linley should appeal to the teenagers, while Leachman and Lucci older women (though Leachman really should appeal to everyone; the woman is whacked, twisted hilarity uncontained). And with the football and Olympic stars they've got the sports fans covered. Braxton appeals to Broadway and music lovers, the reality TV stars to the twenty- and thirty-something crowds. And, in an attempt at creating nostalgic continuity, longtime actor McGinley should remind viewers of last season's lovable cutie Steve Guttenberg and Ross, the wisecracking Carolla.
Best thing about the Good Morning America broadcast by far: the mention of Maks Chmerkovskiy's return (who will be paired with Treanor). At least the silly TV talking heads haven't forgotten the pro dancers make this show.
Too bad the show didn't make more mention of the pro dancers. According to the TV Guide blog, Leachman is to be paired with ballroom legend Corky Ballas (newcomer to the show, and father of last season's Mark Ballas, who will be paired with Kardashian), Green will dance with many-times winner Cheryl Burke, DiSpirito with Karina Smirnoff, Braxton with Alec Mazo who is returning after a couple-season-long hiatus, Brooke Burke with Derek Hough, and Lucci with Tony Dovolani. Finally, according to TV Guide, Bass will be dancing with Lacey Schwimmer, a West Coast Swing champion who was also a finalist on last season's So You Think You Can Dance. Since the musician is gay, internet talk had revolved around whether the show's producers would give him a same-sex partner. Apparently that didn't come to fruition. Too bad: though a successful dance partnership in no way depends on sexual attraction or romance, it still would have been interesting, and a welcome change, to see same-sex partners on the show.
The new season begins with two two-hour-long segments on September 22nd and 23rd.