Opinion Brief

'Dancing with the Stars:' The most 'underwhelming' cast yet?

While the show has never pulled in A-listers, some say the new season's group of hoofers feels particularly short on star power

The new crop of contestants for the 12th season of "Dancing with the Stars" — announced last night on ABC — seems more like "Dancing with the Never-heard-ofs," notwithstanding the presence of a few familiar names such as actress Kirstie Alley, boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, and Karate Kid star Ralph Macchio. (Despite ABC's best efforts, failed Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell resisted the opportunity.) Fans have reacted to the line-up sourly; 57 percent of voters in a CBS online poll pronounced the cast "totally boring." Is it really so bad? It can't top last season: "I am a little underwhelmed," says Kate Torgovnick at The Frisky. Sure, Kirstie Alley will be "fun to watch," since she'll be "a fish out of water." And it'll be interesting to see if Sugar Ray Leonard's "boxing moves transfer into dance steps." But overall, this cast "feels like a shadow of the awesomeness of season 11," which featured an "insane mix of big personalities" — from Bristol Palin to David Hasselhoff. "'Dancing With the Stars' season 12 lineup just not as juicy as the last"

This promises to be stultifying: The new cast includes "Kendra Wilkinson, Hines Ward, Mike Catherwood and Romeo — zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz," says Ree Hines at MSNBC. There's something missing: the familar archetypes that usually fill out the show, like the "obvious shoo-in for the win, "the polarizing public figure," and "the train wreck." Without those reliable characters, this could be a really boring season."Is new 'Dancing' cast dream come true or dud?"

At least the athletes will be fun to watch: "It seems like a good handful of the B- or C-list stars are famous for either being pro athletes...or for playing one," says Maressa Brown at The Stir. These hopefuls, including wrestler Chris Jericho, NFL star Hines Ward, and Karate Kid actor Ralph Macchio, will make for good television. Athletes are natural competitors, and these guys are "definitely gonna bring it.""2011 'Dancing With the Stars' cast is filled with not-so-dumb jocks"

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