ABC has selected its latest group of people who once had dreams and corralled them into a squeeze chute, to be forced out into that celebrity abattoir of arabesque known as Dancing With The Stars. The reality series’ 19th season of dancing like no one was watching its contestants in anything else will kick off Sept. 15, bringing its regular troupe of faded TV and movie stars, sort-of-familiar faces from reality shows, athletes who are probably going to win but no one would watch that on their own, and token oddballs there to provide viral videos of them moving stiffly through routines based on things they were once famous for, like an endless variety show staged in Hell’s dinner theater or Branson, Missouri.
This year’s Billy Dee Williams will be Tommy Chong—whom you’ll note we did not refer to as a “tokin’ oddball,” because there are so, so many more pot puns to come. Perhaps Chong will do an awkward shuffle to “Pass The Dutchie” that will briefly amuse you on a Thursday morning. Or perhaps that honor will fall to Alfonso Ribeiro, who rose to fame dancing alongside Michael Jackson and did “The Carlton” on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, back when dancing heralded the beginning and apex of a career, not its desperate plateau.
Rounding out the cast is Lea Thompson, whose dancing alongside a smartmouthed duck will soon seem like a distant, Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire dream; Expendables star and MMA fighter Randy Couture; political commentator Tavis Smiley; Olympian Lolo Jones; Mean Girls sort-of-star Jonathan Bennett; person who somehow has not already been on Dancing With The Stars Antonio Sabato Jr.; designer Betsey Johnson; YouTube personality Bethany Mota; and other people whose names, occupations, and accomplishments are soon to be lost beneath the flurry of stamping feet, as these dancing horses are brought out for the dressage of vying not to be put down.
According to ABC, competitor Sadie Robertson, daughter of the Duck Dynasty clan, is afraid of frogs. So, that’s something about her as a person you can relate to and therefore root for while she trains to do a tango or whatever.