Dancing With the Stars: 12 Unexpected Twists to Reignite the Ratings Fire
Hosts With the Most
RuPaul. Cat Deeley. Phil Keoghan. Ellen DeGeneres. Anderson Cooper. Imagine a whole lineup of fabulous folks who emcee their own reality or talk shows taking it to the ballroom! We might even consider throwing Tom Bergeron’s hat in the ring, except for the fact that he’d totally win in a landslide.
Weight Loss Spectacular!
Dozens of celebs (including Kirstie Alley) have praised DWTS for its ability to trim the fat and tighten up the waistline. We’d love a season, though, comprised only of stars competing for the Mirrorball as well as bragging rights on the scale and with the tape measure!
Bitter Rivalries Edition
From Stallone-vs.-Willis to Behar-vs.-Hasselbeck, the celebrity world is full of sniping twosomes — many of whom would welcome the chance to quickstep all over their rivals while keeping their names in the headlines, too. Which is why we rather dig the idea of a season where every single contestant has at least one archnemesis in the pool to ensure there’s no lag in motivation.
Athletes, Athletes and More Athletes! (Who Aren’t Football Players or Olympians)
How about a baseball great (hi, Derek Jeter!) and a jockey (like Chantal Sutherland) and a hockey pro (like Sean Avery) and even [insert your athlete of choice here] to give Season 17 a less-predictable vibe? And frankly, with an entire lineup of sporting stars, the huffing and puffing would be kept to an absolute minimum.
Funny People Only
It’s always a bummer when we get robbed of extra dancefloor time — or at least hilarious behind-the-scenes packages — with the elimination of a Carson Kressley, Margaret Cho or Andy Dick. And while a “Comics Only” edition might not yield the highest level of samba or paso doble, we’d probably be too busy laughing to notice.
Nothing But Ringers!
Every year we grumble a little when someone with a serious dance background like Nicole Scherzinger or Mya or Zendaya is thrown in against the Niecy Nashes and Nancy Graces and Gavin DeGraws of the world. One nifty way to fix the imbalance would be a season where every contestant is a ringer — or at least enters the ballroom knowing the difference between a tango and a Viennese waltz.
Former Child Stars Only
OK, OK, maybe we don’t really want to see Mary Kate or Ashley grinding up against Mark Ballas, but a season focusing on formerly famous kids — think Haley Joel Osment, Jenna von Oÿ, and Marques Houston — would hit all our nostalgia buttons and serve as a nifty “Where are they now?” feature. [Bonus points if producers can somehow score Jodie Foster or Neil Patrick Harris.]
Image Rehab Extravaganza
With all apologies to Oprah’s Next Chapter, we think a few months of cha cha cha-ing and smackdowns from Len Goodman might be the best public-relations remedy for folks like Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Lance Armstrong and James Frey.
Desperately Seeking Showmance
DWTS has a long history of are-they-or-aren’t-they relationships between its celebs and pros (i,e, Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Erin Andrews). Which is why we’re intrigued by the idea of an entire season built around singleton celebs and dancers — to see if anyone’s chemistry extends past the dancefloor. Surely, Tristan MacManus would be willing to put his engagement on hold to make the fans happy, yes?
Once upon a time, Steve Guttenberg and Jonathan Roberts pulled off an all-man tango — or rather, a mango — on a DWTS results show. So perhaps a season of guy-on-guy and girl-on-girl pairings isn’t so far-fetched. Might I begin the brainstorm by suggesting Idris Elba and Dmitry Chaplin as a (strictly ballroom) couple?
Battle of the Reality-Show Veterans
Coming off a win by American Idol alum Kellie Pickler, how about a season where graduates of The Voice, Top Chef, the Real Housewives franchises, Survivor, and all of E!’s celebreality crapsterpieces battle for ballroom supremacy?
Oh, come on now, I’m kidding! LeAnn and Eddie love it when I tease them like this (as long as I spell their names correctly).