The “Dancing with the Stars” cast for season 24 has been announced. As usual, the cast is an eclectic mix of athletes (Simone Biles, Bonner Bolton, David Ross, Nancy Kerrigan), iconic performers (Charo & Mr. T), Pop Stars (Fifth Harmony’s Normani Kordei) and reality stars (“The Bachelor” Nick Viall & “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Erika Jayne).
I will say after looking at the cast, on paper, it looks like the women have a leg up on the men in terms of dance ability. Heather Morris (“Glee”) danced with Beyonce, Kordei is known for her sexy dance moves, Jayne is a Billboard-charting dance recording artist, and Biles and Kerrigan both come from sports that typically do well on this show (gymnastics and ice skating, respectively).
What the men my lack in proven dance ability they sure make up for in personality. Former NFL star Rashad Jennings has the charm factor that has helped several past NFL stars take home the Mirror Ball Trophy, Mr. T is a beloved television icon, comedian Chris Kattan will bring humor to the dance floor and reigning World Series champ Ross will no doubt have the support of millions of Cubbies fans.
In anticipation of the season premiere on March 20 here are my rankings of the stars in order of their likeliness to take home the Mirror Ball Trophy.
1. Rashad Jennings (Pro: Emma Slater)
Typically, NFL players do extremely well on “Dancing With the Stars.” In fact, an NFL player has made it to the finals in seven out of the last 23 seasons, with Emmitt Smith, Hines Ward and Donald Driver winning their respective seasons. In addition, Rashad has the charm, athleticism, and personality to be the male star to break through a stacked roster of female stars.
2. Bonner Bolton (Pro: Sharna Burgess)
Every season on “DWTS” there are one or two stars that most people have never heard of. Bonner is that star this season. My reasoning for ranking him second is the fact that he has an inspirational backstory (he broke his neck while riding a bull back in January 2016). “DWTS” audiences love an inspirational story. Past contestants like Special Olympian Amy Purdy, injured military men J.R. Martinez and Noah Galloway, and dwarf Terra Jole have all pulled the heartstrings of America and have made it further than their better known cast mates — Martinez even won! So if Bolton is able to dance well look for him to be a potential dark horse.
3. David Ross (Pro: Witney Carson)
Ross holds the distinction as the first Major League Baseball player to appear on “DWTS.” I don’t think he will be that great a dancer, but he will definitely have one of the bigger fan bases, which we help keep him in the competition with the possibility of outlasting some of the more skilled celebrities.
4. Nick Viall (Pro: Peta Murgatroyd)
Nick will more than likely end up somewhere in the middle of the pack like other “Bachelors” before him. “Bachelor” stars rarely do well in terms of dance ability and tend to overstay their welcome, probably due to ABC promotional synergy and strong female fan bases. Unless Nick is unexpectedly a great dancer, except him to be eliminated at the halfway point of the competition.
5. Mr. T (Pro: Kym Johnson)
Mr. T represents the nostalgia star that fans love to rally behind. The only drawback for Mr. T will be his age. He could either go far in the competition like Tommy Chong and prove that age is nothing but a number, or he could be plagued with injuries early on like Billy Dee Williams.
6. Chris Kattan (Pro: Witney Johnson)
“DWTS” love to cast ringers as well as early elimination fodder. Chris Kattan would likely fall into the latter category. Comedians are often the first to go on “Dancing With the Stars.” That combined with the fact that he may not have the biggest fan base, dance ability, or inspirational story means he’ll probably be the first to go home.
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