Dancing With the Stars is, amazingly, back for a fourth installment, pitting more athletes and C-list celebrities against each other for another round of tango-to-the-death with a whopping two-hour season premiere. I've got nothing against dance shows. I was a big fan of Dance Fever and Danny Terrio. And you couldn't go wrong with Solid Gold. (NOTE: Excluding Dancin' On Air from this was shameful of me. I agree. I even had an Eddie Bruce autograph when I met him after a Sha Na Na show at the Valley Forge Music Theater. That's even more shameful. )Hey, there's a reason I won the Churchville Elementary school moonwalk competition in 5th grade. And did it in sneakers, not socks. If I had practiced enough spin moves on a broken down cardboard box or my parents ever bought me those parachute pants I begged for, I could've been the white Turbo.
Emmitt Smith's remarkable victory over A.C. Slater last season has legitimized DWTS as a way for other former athletes to make some extra money post-retirement. She-boxer Laila Ali, speedskater Apollo Anton Ohno and Clyde Drexler have all signed up to battle for a shot at soft-shoed supremacy. But the most interesting addition to this year's cast has got to be the one-legged wonder that is Heather Mills. She's been, um, pegged the "sentimental favorite" by host Jerry Springer, due to her deformity, and it seems a bit unfair that she'll go in there with that kind of emotional advantage. If she starts doing a Riverdance routine, is there anyway the judges could vote against her?
And if she does win, well, that would open up next season's DWTS to an even more diverse group of competitors. Like, handicapped athletes, for example.
So, this week, I'm firing up my Rascal, repositioning my neck halo and placing odds on some of the next Dancing With the Stars athletes you'll see in future seasons.
Let's Paso Doble, after this jump.
Mark Zupan: 3/1
Coming off the success of Murderball, Mark Zupan doesn't have to prove anything to anybody. Would you fuck with this guy? Not really. And he's proven he can do more sitting in a chair than most people can do ... sitting in a chair. However, can he rumba? Absolutely. He's also confident enough in his own masculinity just to go out there and prove that there's nothing he can't do. And one poor grade from the judges, and he's ramming that wheelchair of his right into their table. You don't give Mark a "7" in the cha-cha. Not a chance.
Kenny Walker: 4/1
Even though he's legally deaf, Kenny Walker overcame his disability and spent a couple years in the NFL, infuriating coaches by staying on the field too long, but otherwise, proving to be a serviceable defensive lineman as a Denver Bronco. What would stop him from joining DWTS? Surely he's seen Mr. Holland's Opus. All he has to do is put his head to the ground right before the music starts and then he can show off his swift movements to the vibrations. His partner can let him know when the music's stopped so he can dip her and direct him when he starts fox trotting even though he's supposed to be waltzing.
Bobby Martin: 5/1
Bobby Martin says I'll see Heather Mills' one leg and raise you ... no legs. Even though most of his routines would probably be performed while stuffed in a knapsack that would be attached to a baby harness of his partner, Martin could still win some points for creativity by performing the meringue while sitting on his hands. The capper to the routine could be when he lays on his back, holds a scarf between his teeth and then is spun on the floor by his partner like a human dreidel. Let's see Ian Zeiring do that.
Jason McElwain: 6/1
Made famous for his 20-point performance as member of Greece Athena High School last year, J-Mac has become a symbol of hope to many autistic people all over the world. His inspirational story and his nifty jump shot makes him a perfect DWTS candidate. Obviously, he'll need a partner who's strong enough to pull him through some of the routines just in case he starts head butting her midway through the song or chewing on her frilly costume. However, if he does become distracted and spastic, he should have a partner savvy enough to improvise the routine. I'm thinking the chest-thumping, pogo-stick routine popularized by Chris Penn's character in Footloose. That'll get the crowd pumped.