Dancing With the Stars: Our Fantasy (Ringer-Free) Cast for Season 18

We’re less than a week away from Dancing With the Stars‘ Season 18 cast announcement (set to happen live on Good Morning America on March 4) — and rumors are beginning to percolate about who’ll put the spray tan in “tango” this time around.

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Real Housewives‘ breakout NeNe Leakes, sitcom vet Candace Cameron Bure and NHL alum Sean Avery (a TVLine suggestion from last August) are among the names already surfacing as potential successors to Glee star Amber Riley’s throne.

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But with ratings and buzz slipping for ABC’s reality-show staple, we thought we’d cook up a list of offbeat contestant suggestions — a roster entirely free of “ringers” bolstered by extensive dance backgrounds (and an automatic pairing with Derek Hough).

So click through the gallery below for our picks, then hit the comments and tell us who you’d love to see battling in the ballroom for Season 18.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. MK204 says:

    I don’t even know who some of those people you mentioned are. BTW…Ru Paul looks ill in that photo. Didn’t Danny Gokey once say he’d like to be on DWTS? Reality Steve seems to think Bachelor star Juan Pablo Galvais is headed for the show. I’d like them to get Lacey back, Dmitri back, Chelsea back, Anna back and adios to a certain blonde haired ego driven pro.

  2. Mick says:

    Michelle competed on the British version of the show I am pretty sure. I remember watching a clip of Kelly Rowland surprising her.

  3. Meg says:

    Michelle Williams would absolutely be considered a ringer.

  4. Riana says:

    They don’t have the money for Simon.

  5. Tom says:

    Michelle Williams actually took part in the UK version of the show in 2010… and wasn’t all that great. She was eliminated early on in the competition, as well. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strictly_Come_Dancing_(series_8))

  6. Societal scourge, LOL.

    Your fantasy cast list is about on par with what Dancing With the “Stars” has been putting out lately: it’s 50% people I have never heard of, 40% people I don’t care about, and the remaining 1 is not worth watching an entire hour for.

    In other words, a pass of a season. I’ve passed on about 4 seasons now…

  7. Edward says:

    That video of Michelle brought me to tears.Thank you Slezak.

  8. Tahoe Mike says:

    If you are going Food Network, I’ve got one name for you: GIADA

  9. j says:

    I have a funny feeling that Paula Deen said yes this time…

  10. Angela says:

    RuPaul would be highly entertaining :D. And the idea of Naomi and Maks together amuses and terrifies me all at the same time :p. I also like the idea of Simon being judged for a change-that’d be fun.
    Amusing list. Wouldn’t mind seeing a few of these faces show up.

  11. Sugar says:

    I would love to see Carla (originally from Top Chef) from the Chew, wouldn’t she be fun? Do you think the Chew could do without her for a few weeks? (unless she is really good and goes the distance).

  12. Daya says:

    Mark! *happy sigh*

    Quite possibly the best thing since watching Andy Dick dance for a few weeks, just to see the Loathe of My Life (Eric Roberts) in the audience. ;)

  13. Diz says:

    What a terrible list. None of those would make me want to watch.

  14. David4 says:

    Maybe next time you can find an even worse picture of Ru Paul?

  15. Tammy says:

    I second the Carla Hall suggestion. She would LOVE to be on the show. Plus it’s the same network. Where is the token Disney star?

  16. Patricia says:

    I like your suggestions. Ru Paul would be awesome. Please no Juan Pablo. And give Tristan MacManus someone under age 30!! No more Derek or Mark B either. So over them both.

  17. Stormy says:

    My list:
    Nathan Fillion
    Stana Katic
    Jon Bon Jovi
    Mark Harmon
    Rachel Ray
    Sean Hayes
    Angie Harmon
    Ashton Kutcher
    Mila Kunis
    Garth Brooks
    Carrie Underwood

  18. andy j says:

    My vote for winter Olympian is Slovenian skier Tina Maze. She’s pretty, she’s a gold medalist, and she already has released a pop song. Methinks she’d be perfect.

  19. Patti says:

    Ashley Simpson
    Brian Austin Green or Luke Perry
    Cindy Lauper
    Rosie O’donnel
    Rachel Ray
    Brian Bloom
    Jordon Knight (New Kid on the Block)

  20. Stormy says:

    Oh heck, the entire cast of Castle. Nathan and Stana, James Brolin and Susan Sullivan, Jon Huertas and Tamala Jones, Seamus Deaver and Molly Quinn. etc.

  21. Jeff says:

    Glad to see baby death advocate Jenny McCarthy on here.

  22. Jinjoen says:

    Give me Robert Gant on the show and after three years of not watching it I’m gonna watch it every Monday! He’s very handsome and has wonderful personality. Cast him asap, DwtS bosses!

  23. AGB says:

    Yeah, like Simon is going to do this…

  24. Alia says:

    Gus Swoonworthy! I might actually watch the show (or, okay, some youtube clips) if he were on it.

  25. Eddie Glacken says:

    I love jenny mccarthy! Lol. Why the hate Matt?

  26. Elizabeth says:

    It doesn’t look like a very promising line up to me. I heard Juan Pablo won’t be on DWTS.

  27. Nancy Badolato says:

    Chris Harrison & Jenny McCarthy would certainly make it fun!

  28. Sam says:

    I will watch. Just to see NeNe fall on her big ***… NENE has forgotten where she came from. Her head got big. I don’t like the way she treats the other girls on RHOA….

  29. Random says:

    Gus Kenworthy needs to go on this show!