What do Ricki Lake, Chaz Bono, Nancy Grace, Ron Artest, Chynna Phillips, David Arquette, Rob Kardashian and Kristin Cavallari all have in common? They will be this season's star dancers on the ABC hit, Dancing With the Stars (DWTS).The season is getting a lot of buzz because of the all-star, high-profile cast - which also includes USA Women's Soccer goalie Hope Solo, George Clooney's ex-girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis, and Carson Kressley, former fashion expert on Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." DTWS host Tom Bergeron called the bunch "our most surprising cast yet."
Ricki LakeLake, who in 1988 was the star of Hairspray and recently announced she was engaged, said she is "terrified" and will look to Kirstie Alley for inspiration on how to succeed on the show. Lake posted a YouTube video Monday night announcing to her fans and Twitter friends that she is joining the cast of Dancing With The Stars.
"I was faking it - I am not a trained dancer," Lake said of her dancing moves on Hairspray. "I have no idea what I am doing. And I am hoping to channel Kirstie Alley because she was a big inspiration to me last season. She looked amazing, she's a beautiful dancer, I'm hoping I do half as well as shedid."
genConnect recently spoke with Lake at BlogHer'11, when she talked to us about her upcoming talkshow, how her documentary The Business of Being Born sparked a birthing revolution, and what she realized when she turned 40.
J.R. MartinezOne of the least well-known names but perhaps, the most inspirational cast members this season, is J.R. Martinez. Martinez, 28, is an Army Iraq war vet who sustained burns to more than 40 percent of his body, including his face, after hitting a land mine in Iraq in 2003. He has undergone 33 cosmetic and skin graft surgeries. But now, he's a motivational speaker, and actor on ABC's "All My Children," and works with Iraq Star Inc., a national nonprofit that provides reconstructive surgeries to other war vets.
Nancy Grace, the well-known legal commentator who hosts her own show on HLN and contributes to CNN, noted that the Michael Jackson murder trial is starting around the time DWTS starts - which will make her an extremely busy woman. "I think it will probably be a lot easier to report the live news than be the live news - such as falling on your booty. So let's try to avoid that," she said.
"My personal style is, I just like to boogie, like get down, get down, but that has no room in this competition," said Arquette.
Chaz BonoBono, the transgendered son of Sonny and Cher and gay-rights activist, was asked whether he would have danced with a man on the show. "I wouldn't have danced with a male partner … I wouldn't have done the show," he said. Chaz was the subject of the recent documentary Becoming Chaz, which aired on OWN and is nominated for three Emmys. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation applauded ABC for including Bono and Kressley in its 13th season.
"Chaz Bono joining the cast is a tremendous step forward for the public to recognize that transgender people are another wonderful part of the fabric of American culture," GLAAD said in a statement. "Appearing on such a high-profile show will allow millions of Americans to get to know him in a whole new light."
The new DWTS season will premiere on Monday, September 19, in a two-hour show, from 8-10 PM ET/PT.
Tell us: Will you watch this season's Dancing With the Stars? Who are you most looking forward to seeing dance?For related stories on genConnect:
- Ricki Lake Talks Work, Love and Oprah (VIDEO)
- Talk Show Host Ricki Lake: 'I Am a Twitterholic' (VIDEO)
- Women's Soccer World Cup Final: A Game of Determination & Heart
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