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Image: Kirstie Alley
Evan Agostini  /  AP file
Actress Kirstie Alley will be one of the contestants on the new season of "Dancing With the Stars."
By
updated 2/28/2011 10:52:03 PM ET 2011-03-01T03:52:03

A boxing great, a model who survived an Indian Ocean tsunami and a grown-up "Karate Kid" will be hoofing it on the 12th season of "Dancing With the Stars."

Welterweight champ Sugar Ray Leonard, model Petra Nemcova and Ralph Macchio of the hit 1984 karate movie will be among 11 celebrity contestants when the ABC show returns March 21.

The cast was announced Monday by "Dancing" hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke in segments that aired during an episode of ABC's "The Bachelor."

"Forget the rumors. The moment of truth has arrived!" Bergeron exclaimed.

Also hitting the dance floor will be Kirstie Alley; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward; professional wrestler Chris Jericho; "Loveline" radio show co-host Mike Catherwood; onetime rap prodigy Romeo (former Lil' Romeo); Chelsea Kane of Disney Channel's "Jonas"; talk show host Wendy Williams and reality star Kendra Wilkinson.

Alley suggested the contestants' focus would be to "try not to fall on our butts the first week out. That's what I'm going for."

Leonard had a holistic description of his competitive approach.

"I think it's all psychological. I think it's spiritual," he said. "I think it's all the mental preparation."

Quipped Bergeron: "Have you ever watched the show?"

The star-professional dancer pairings will be announced Wednesday.

Ex-Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell will not be a contestant. O'Donnell said last week that she had been invited to compete. But the Republican and tea party favorite said she wasn't sure she should accept because she has two left feet and a book about politics to complete.

O'Donnell said on her website Monday night she was honored to be invited but that she would instead work on her book.

Last season's champ was "Dirty Dancing" actress Jennifer Grey, who was paired with dancer Derek Hough.

The show also featured former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol, as a contestant and became something of a political lightning rod because of the family connection.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: 'Dancing With the Stars' cast

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  1. Time to dance

    "Dancing with the Stars" hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke announced the 11 celebrities heading to the dance floor this season during a live news conference. As always, the cast includes athletes, models, actors, and a few people whose names aren't recognizable to your average American. (Adam Larkey / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Sugar Ray Leonard

    Retired boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, who has a cameo in the Oscar-winning film "The Fighter," surely had fast feet in the boxing ring, but can he fit in to the ballroom?

    Leonard is paired with pro Anna Trebunskaya. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Petra Nemcova

    Czech-born model Petra Nemcova is perhaps most famous for surviving the 2004 tsunami resulting from an earthquake in the Indian Ocean. Her then fiance died in the tsunami, while Nemcova broke her pelvis and managed to cling to a palm tree for hours before being rescued.

    Nemcova is paired with pro Dmitry Chaplin. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Ralph Macchio

    Ralph Macchio came to fame as the star of "The Karate Kid" in 1984. He was a teen idol of the 1980s, but has played only minor roles in film and TV since.

    Macchio is paired with pro Karina Smirnoff. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Kirstie Alley

    When Shelley Long left the hit sitcom "Cheers" in 1987, Kirstie Alley stepped in as bar manager Rebecca Howe. Recently her yo-yoing weight has become a public issue, as she was a spokesperson for Jenny Craig and starred in a show called "Fat Actress."

    Alley is paired with pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Hines Ward

    Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward was voted MVP of Super Bowl XL in 2006. He is half Korean and half African-American, and has worked as an advocate for biracial youths in South Korea.

    Ward is paired with pro Kym Johnson. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Chris Jericho

    Chris Jericho has had plenty of success in the wrestling ring, but he's also served as a radio and television host as well as a rock musician.

    Jericho is paired with pro Cheryl Burke. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Mike Catherwood

    Mike Catherwood, known as Psycho Mike, is assistant producer for the syndicated radio show "Kevin and Bean," and is also co-host of "Loveline" with Dr. Drew Pinsky. A former addict, he uses his own experiences to help callers.

    Catherwood is paired with pro Lacey Schwimmer. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Romeo

    Rapper Romeo withdrew from the second season of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2006 and was replaced by his father, Master P, who is infamous in "Dancing" circles for barely moving his feet. He's now back for the 12th season.

    Romeo is paired with pro Chelsea Hightower. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Chelsea Kane

    Chelsea Kane is an actress who is best known for playing Stella Malone in the Disney Channel sitcom "Jonas L.A.," and has also appeared in other Disney shows and original movies.

    Kane is paired with pro Mark Ballas. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Wendy Williams

    Wendy Williams hosts her own syndicated talk show, "The Wendy Williams Show," and is a former New York radio DJ.

    Williams is paired with pro Tony Dovolani. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Kendra Wilkinson

    Kendra Wilkinson is best known as a former girlfriend of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, and as such starred on the reality show "The Girls Next Door." She is now married to Minnesota Viking Hank Baskett and has her own reality show, "Kendra."

    Wilkinson is paired with pro Louis Van Amstel. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
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