ABC announced the latest lineup of contestants for the 16th installment of Dancing with the Stars last Tuesday. The semi-annual unveiling brings with it the usual questions, such as, "How the hell have they had 16 seasons of this show?" And, "Are they using any actual 'stars' this time around?"
And in this case, the answers are "I have no idea" and "Not so much, no."
A gold-medal figure skater, a country music legend and a kooky comedian are stepping their way onto ''Dancing With the Stars.'' ABC says Dorothy Hamill, Wynonna Judd and Andy Dick are among 11 contenders for the mirrored ball on the new season of the celebrity dance competition.
Other famous faces in the show's 16th edition include standup comic and actor D.L. Hughley, Baltimore Ravens football player Jacoby Jones and former "American Idol" contestant Kellie Pickler.
Hamill won her gold medal 37 years ago, Wynonna hasn't released an album in four years and Andy Dick...well, every season needs its freak show.
But the fact remains, DWTS's ratings have declined 43 percent since 2006 among the all-powerful 18-49 demographic, and trotting out contestants most recognizable as "that one Ido contestant who got the boob job" or "that gymnast not named Gabby Douglas or McKayla Maroney" isn't going to turn things around.
There are a number of reasons for the show's decline: overexposure, for example, and the predictability of various routines. (I'm just aping what I've heard; I've never actually seen the show.) Chief among these, however, is the lack of actual "stars" to draw viewers. Well, here are some ideas.
Dancing with the Porn Stars It's a no-brainer, really. Several adult performers (like Jenna Jameson and Sasha Gray) are already household names. Others are at least as recognizable as your average DWTS contestant, thanks to Charlie Sheen and increased mainstream coverage of the industry. In fact, I'm willing to bet Bree Olson and Lisa Ann are more recognizable to the 20+ non-child-rearing crowd than Zendaya Coleman. And it isn't like there's no precedent. Pamela Anderson was on Season 10.
Plus, you could totally do that Big Brother After Dark thing where you show uncensored "behind the scenes" coverage on Showtime or Cinemax. Granted, the Big Brother stuff is mostly just night-vision footage of people whispering in bed or standing around the kitchen (or so I've heard). But porn stars do all kinds of *crazy* things like spend hours on Twitter or give each other hepatitis vaccines.
The exceptional flexibility of the women and awesome stamina of the men would lead to some epic contests, all culminating in the "money shot" of Tom Bergeron dropping dead of a heart attack when Alexis Texas and Eva Angelina did their interpretation of the "Booty Shake."
Slam Dancing with the Stars Obviously you'd have to get some new "pros," preferably ones who grew up on Discharge or Fear.
Keep the current crop of "stars," however. Why let an opportunity to see Andy Dick's cheekbone shattered by an elbow go to waste?
Dancing with the Stars: Supermax Thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, the infamous are thrust upon us around the clock. Whereas in the past it might have been possible to avoid national events by simply not reading the newspaper or avoiding the evening news. These days, unless you give away your TV, shun the radio and avert your eyes every time a search aggregator opens up on the Internet, you're probably familiar with names like Theodore Kaczynski, Eric Rudolph and Richard "Shoebomber" Reid.
We're not very interested in dancing here, so interest would hinge on waiting to see which inmate snapped and had to be pulled screeching off of Cheryl Burke. There would also be the possibility of armed guards having to shoot one of them, which is always entertaining.
Sadly, all Supermax inmates are male, so in order to mix things up genderwise, we'd have to go after Susan Smith and maybe Casey Anthony, who's probably ready for more publicity. For added celebrity, get Woody Harrelson's dad.
Contestants will be promised everything from an increase in privileges to early release, but the winners will be summarily put to death in a separate, season-ending special event, Executing the Stars.
Dancing with the Animal Stars Everybody likes animals, right? Do a cross-promotion with the Westminster Dog Show (even though you'd have to limit the number of dog and cat entries). Horses might have a clear natural advantage, but exotics would provide that wild-card factor.
The random deposits of feces on the parquet floors would present an added degree of difficulty, especially if any of the contestants actually fell in it. Pity Tom DeLay's already been on the show.
Dancing in the Dark with the Child Stars This sounded dumb even as I was typing it. Never mind.