Aug. 30, 2011 at 10:29 AM ET
The guesswork, rumors and leaks are over. Thanks to Monday night’s cast reveal, we now know exactly which stars, near-stars and not-really-stars are set to take over television’s big ballroom bash.
Now the question is, what can “Dancing With the Stars” fans expect to see from this latest batch of wannabe soft shoes? Sure, the celebs haven’t even had their first spray tans, much less showed off the best moves, but it’s never too soon to size up the competition.
Some stars just seem like they’re made to move. Maybe it’s their fearless style, maybe it has to do with a background in dance, maybe it’s because they’re trained athletes already accustomed to grueling workouts and memorable routines — no matter what the reason, there are always a few early standouts.
Topping the list of ones to watch this time around is Hope Solo. If the 30-year-old’s soccer strengths weren’t enough to recommend her, then the fact that professional hoofer Maksim Chmerkovskiy considers her a possible perfect partner certainly says something.
Others in the early running? NBA great Ron Artest could offer Solo some stiff competition. Chynna Phillips of Wilson Phillips fame has musicality on her side. And as anyone who’s ever watched '80s flick “Hairspray” can tell you, despite any recent dancing denials, Ricki Lake can cut a rug.
Of course, “Dancing” isn’t strictly a talent competition. Smooth moves are important, but fan bases and big personalities can take a star a long way. And personalities don’t get much bigger than Nancy Grace. Love her or loathe her, the polarizing prosecutor-turned-TV host will grab attention even if she doesn’t grasp the moves.
Fashion expert Carson Kressley isn’t so polarizing, but his knack for over-the-top commentary and lack of shyness means he won’t be ignored. The same goes for outrageous actor David Arquette. And while soap star and war vet J.R. Martinez has a much quieter personality, he has the makings of a sentimental favorite.
The mystery men and women
The rest of the mix? They’re a complete mystery. Can Chaz Bono dance? Who knows? But here’s hoping for Cher’s son's sake that rhythm and musicality don’t skip a generation.
Reality TV stars Kristin Cavallari and Rob Kardashian are question marks where the dance floor is concerned, too. The same goes for George Clooney’s ex-gal pal, model Elisabetta Canalis.
Heck, even if Canalis can dance, she’ll have to beat the ballroom’s model curse – you know, the one that sent Albert Reed, Paulina Porizkova, Petra Nemcova and other pretty faces home well before their time.
Ballroom fans will get a chance to see the stars show off their fancy or flubbed footwork with Viennese waltzes and cha-cha-chas when the 13th season of “Dancing” kicks off on Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Which star are you ready to root for? Vote in our poll (above) and be sure to share your comments on our Facebook page.