Dancing With The Stars Preview: The Men
With only a few days until the premiere of Dancing With The Stars, it's time to start picking favorites. Brett already gave you his analysis of the ladies, and now it's the men's turn to be evaluated. This season we have an athlete, a comedian, a recording artist, a magician, a Latin heartthrob, and an 80's film star--a little something for everybody. So, who's a front runner and who has an uphill climb ahead of them? Read on to find out!
Gallery: Dancing With The Stars: The Men
Adam Carolla - The TV and radio host has the advantage of being partnered with Julianne Hough, who is fresh off her second consecutive win. Julianne will have to work a little harder to bring home another victory this season. Unlike Julianne's previous partners, Carolla is not a disciplined athlete. I'm also afraid that he'll take the same casual approach to dancing as his former Man Show co-host, Jimmy Kimmel.
On the other hand, there's always one contestant per season that surprises me with their work ethic. Perhaps Adam Carolla is more competitive than he seems. The athletes might not be as comfortable on camera as Carolla is, either. If he avoids taking on Kenny Mayne's persona and has a good sense of rhythm, he could go far. If not, expect him to be eliminated early.
Cristián de la Fuente - The TV actor is a hot Latin guy with the ability to charm an audience. Where have we seen that before? He's had great success on several Spanish language programs, and recently appeared on popular American shows like Ugly Betty and Psych. I suspect that de la Fuente has a decent following, but even if he doesn't, he has a great partner.
Like Julianne Hough, Cheryl Burke has also won two seasons of Dancing With The Stars, and knows how to play up her partners' strengths. She was eliminated early in last season's competition, and I'm guessing that she really wants another win. If de la Fuente is half the dancer that I think he is, he and Cheryl will stick around for a long time.
Steve Guttenberg - This is a tricky one. Guttenberg was in tons of popular 80's movies and has an all-around nice guy quality. Even if he's not a fabulous dancer, I'll vote for him in the first week. He's too young to go the "charming older gentleman" route like Jerry Springer, but he probably can't match the energy level of younger competitors like Jason Taylor and Mario. He and Anna Trebunskaya will have to include an equal amount of technical difficulty and entertainment value into their routines. Focusing on just one element or the other will be a losing strategy.
There's always the variable of the fan base to consider. Marie Osmond's fans carried her to the Top Three last season, even though her skill level was (arguably) below that of her competition. Guttenberg might not have to the best dancer if he gets the voters on his side early on.
Penn Jillette - As a successful illusionist who has done countless Vegas shows and a Showtime series, Penn Jillette will easily master the performance aspect of the show. He's used to being onstage, under spotlights, and knows how to work a crowd. On the downside, he does not have a traditional dancer's physique. He might lack the the rhythm and the athleticism of his fellow competitors.
In the past, Kym Johnson has been able to package less-than-stellar dancers as entertaining crowd-pleasers. She should have no trouble showcasing Jillette's natural stage presence and personality. I just hope that Kym and Penn don't overuse the magic props in their routines. Jillette's another contestant that could make up for relatively lower scores with fan votes as well. He and Teller have a had a show in Vegas since 2001, so he's likely to have a considerable following.
Mario - I'm not familiar with Mario's music, but past seasons have proved that every musician comes with a built-in fan base. Contestants like Billy Ray Cyrus and Master P went far on the show largely due to fan votes. Mario also has youth on his side, and he's at ease with being on stage to boot. He's less likely to be worn out by frequent rehearsals or troubled by previous injuries than his older competitors.
Is there such a thing as too young in the minds of Dancing With The Stars voters? Youth wasn't on Sabrina Bryan's side last season, even thought she was a seriously gifted dancer. Ditto for Monique Coleman, whose High School Musical following wasn't enough to get her into the finals. If Mario's young fans don't watch the show, the star will have to start charming the older viewers fast.
Jason Taylor - Football players have had tremendous luck on Dancing With the Stars in the past. Jerry Rice reached second place, and Emmitt Smith won the mirror ball trophy back in Season Three. Again, I have to plead ignorance when it comes to sports stars. He's earned major recognition in his football career (Defensive Player of the Year and the Walter Payton Man of the Year award) and is in incredible shape.
Part of me wants Taylor to win just so his partner, Edyta Sliwinksa, can get a victory. Edyta's been on every single season of the show and has never won. She's never gone farther than third place with her previous partners. She's proved that she can work with a wide variety of personalities and skill levels. Give the woman a break already! With a successful and popular athlete on her arm, this could be Edyta's year. Jason Taylor has both history and youth on his side.
My pre-season favorite (among the men, at least) is definitely Cristián de la Fuente. He and Cheryl have the best celebrity-professional pairing by far. Julianne is the reigning professional champion, but she has too much work to do with Adam Carolla. Football hero Jason Taylor is a close second.
Among the men, either Adam Carolla or Steve Guttenberg will be the first to leave. My money's on Adam Carolla going the way of Kenny Mayne and being eliminated first. He doesn't have the fan following of an athlete or a film star. Julianne can only do so much.
Be sure to check out Brett's analysis of the female celebrities. As usual, AOL has extensive Dancing With The Stars coverage, including videos, polls, and a live chat. AOL also has an interview with Marlee Matlin, in which the contestant shares her thoughts on the show.
|Adam Carolla||145 (32.5%)|
|Cristian de la Fuente||24 (5.4%)|
|Steve Guttenberg||64 (14.3%)|
|Penn Jillette||171 (38.3%)|
|Jason Taylor||17 (3.8%)|
|Adam Carolla||42 (9.8%)|
|Cristian de la Fuente||92 (21.4%)|
|Steve Guttenberg||51 (11.9%)|
|Penn Jillette||49 (11.4%)|
|Jason Taylor||128 (29.8%)|