As fans gear up for Season Nine of Dancing With the Stars, casting rumors are fast and furious, with virtually every person who has ever been famous and is currently a bit underemployed being mentioned. These rumor lists are typically somewhat reliable, though, so it's not too soon to look at some of the most widely mentioned dancing wannabes, and guess at how they might fare on the show.
Update: What's real and rumor? Check out the official new cast of Dancing With the Stars.
Dean McDermott and Tori Spelling: Would DWtS take this married couple? The precedent was set last season with Ty Murray and Jewel, and it's not like either of them ever get jobs apart from the other at this stage. Even for the show that cast Chuck Wicks last spring, McDermott is really pushing the definition of "star," but he wants to compete and could easily fill the stock DWtS role as handsome but ultimately forgettable cannon fodder. The question is whether the series can also get Spelling, who seems to wind up on these rumor lists every season.
Lou Ferrigno: Who could resist a hook like "The Incredible Hulk learns to dance?" If Ferrigno wants the gig, the producers would be crazy not to take him. The question about Ferrigno would be whether he can pick up the "you have to give him credit for trying" vote, a key fan bloc on DWtS. Viewers always seem to latch onto one contestant who they know isn't going to win, but who they want to see come back in order to continue their personal journey of growth. You can't discount the appeal of nostalgia, and Ferrigno has been a genial presence in his occasional recent TV work, such as on The King of Queens. If he's on the show, he's getting to midseason at the worst.
Audrina Patridge: She is eager to appear, but MTV has reportedly told her no on the grounds that the DWtS taping schedule conflicts with her duties on The Hills (never mind that it airs just prior to The Hills on Monday nights and could give the aging and Lauren-less series a boost). She hasn't been seen dancing on MTV except in club scenes, and at any rate, Audrina seems like the sort of person that DWtS viewers just love to vote out. Very pretty young women who can't really bring it always leave early, and sometimes first. MTV might as well relent; it's not like Audrina would miss much time at all.
La Toya Jackson: Wherever there are cameras in Hollywood, there's always a chance La Toya is going to show up. And given the renewed prominence of her family in recent weeks, it may be now or never for her as a DWtS contestant. Though she's far from the most talented Jackson, one has to believe that something must have rubbed off along the way. The big drawbacks against her are age (it's easy to forget given what she has done to her face, but La Toya is 53) and her status as the second weirdest Jackson sibling. But if she is put on the show, she'll no doubt work the Michael sympathy angle as far as it will take her.
Kurt Angle: Since there's no more reliable path to success on DWtS than to be an active athlete, Angle, the Olympic gold medalist turned professional wrestler, would instantly become one of the favorites to win if he winds up on the show. Strange as it may seem, there could be a relationship between the moves one has to learn in order to simulate a pro wrestling match and learning dance steps. Angle, who turned 40 not long ago, has talked about transitioning to acting, and an appearance on DWtS would be an excellent way to introduce himself to a new audience, and hopefully bring along some new rowdy fans to the show.
Aaron Carter: The onetime teen pop star who infamously started a feud between Lindsay Lohan and Hilary Duff is apparently a sure thing for the cast. He may have some dancing talent that we haven't been made aware of, but I'm not bullish on his chances for success. Unlike previous DWtS success story Lance Bass, he did not have the sort of boy band training (unlike older brother Nick of The Backstreet Boys) that would give him a leg up on learning choreography. And his trainwreck of a reality show House of Carters gave him a lasting image as a spoiled, dissolute jerk. This is not a competition where antiheroes tend to prosper -- just ask Steve-O.
Vera Wang: Whether she really has enough spare time to spend several weeks on the show is questionable, but the fashion designer has come up as a strong possibility for Season Nine. Wang is without question a famous name, and one likely to be worshipped by the typical DWtS viewer. But there's the "older woman" problem; such women (Wang is in her late 50s) tend to only get so far on the show. Unless she's remarkably good (who can really tell?), she would be a strong candidate to be the first out.