Once Again, We Struggle To Identify The "Celebrities" In Houston's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Tomorrow brings the 59th Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in Houston.

As always, it brings with it the traditional question Houstonians ask about the event each year: Who are these so-called "celebrities" that we're supposed to be so excited about?

There's C-list celebs. There's D-list losers. And then there's the level of fame that sees you standing on a shaky float in the middle of godforsaken Houston on a Thanksgiving Day when you could be home with your family, or at least your posse.

It's a call an agent never really wants to make to a client: "Hey, babe, guess what? I got you the Thanksgiving Day Parade!!"

"Really? I'll get to see the Underdog balloon and perform in Herald Square?! That's great!! God, to tell you the honest truth, I thought you were going to try and stick me in Houston or someplace like that!"


As the saying goes, you can't tell the players without a program. So, in order to help you identify the strange people waving at you, smiling widely and cursing under their breath, here's this year's line-up:

Corky Ballas. Yes, the Corky Ballas. He is the parade's Grand Marshal, which cetainly gives a new meaning to the word "grand." The parade website says he is "a former contestant on ABC's Dancing With The Stars." But the thing is, he wasn't one of the "stars" -- he was a dancing partner to a "star." In this case, Cloris Leachman, who apparently is too big a star to appear in the Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Mitchel Musso. This is one of those tweener stars who might mean a whole lot to the OMG crowd, so there's a chance he's well-known. He's on Hannah Montana, for one thing. Then again, Miley Cyrus has been reduced to playing private parties, so this guy's 15 minutes may be almost up. He also, by the way, is the national spokesman for the Clean Hands Are Cool Hands program, which encourages hand-washing and is one of the most highly sought-after charities for celebrities (no one's ever heard of).

Deborah Duncan. Deborah Duncan?! Are you kidding? What, Whitney Casey wasn't available?

James Fortune. He is, we are told, an "internationally known" gospel artist. We'll take their word for that. He will "bring his smooth, inspirational tunes to the 2008 parade," the parade publicists say.

If that doesn't get you downtown tomorrow morning, nothing will.

-- Richard Connelly

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