ABC has announced the 16 (that’s more than ever before!) couples for season 9 of Dancing With the Stars, which premieres Monday, September 21. It’s way too early to make “accurate” guesses at how they’ll place without having seen anyone pull a groin, fall on her head, or suffer a tender/annoying emotional breakdown during a rehearsal package…let alone successfully traipse down a day-glo staircase in four-inch heels! That said, here is my completely uninformed ranking, from most likely to get booted first, to probable winner. Considered factors include estimated dance talent (pshaw!), hotness, familiarity (especially to viewers over 50), likability, popularity of pro (x1000), and whether the Star is a retired NFL superstar.
Louie Vito and Chelsie Hightower He is a snowboarder.
Kathy Ireland and Tony Dovolani I love you, Tony, but there are two models this time, and Derek got the other one.
Ashley Hamilton and Edyta Sliwinska Super-tan genes can only get you so far!
Tom DeLay and Cheryl Burke I can’t see people voting for him — even/especially after a rousing cha cha set to “Hammer Time” — but I do see them voting for Cheryl.
Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van Amstel Picturing some high-intensity meltdowns until people get sick of the drama…
Macy Gray and Jonathan Roberts She’ll try.
Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff Nobody cares about Aaron Carter, but come on, it’s Karina! Plus, they might actually dance well. (I know, I know, it’s not about the dancing.)
Natalie Coughlin and Alec Mazo Yes, she’s an Olympian, but Alec hasn’t seen a finals week since season 1…
Chuck Lidell and Anna Trebunskaya Depends on if the Ultimate Fighting champ becomes this season’s fish-out-of-water fave, a la season 8’s Ty Murray.
Debi Mazar and Maksim Chmerkovsky Her personality rules. His is okay.
Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough She is a model. But he is Derek.
Mya and Dmitry Chaplin She’s already an amazing dancer. It’s kind of all over YouTube.
Mark Dacascos and Lacey Schwimmer The hilarity of the guy who dances at the beginning of Iron Chef being a Dancing With the Stars contestant probs won’t wear off too quickly. Plus: Lacey.
Michael Irvin and Anna Demidova Football player alert; plus, fans could be rooting for new pro Anna for underdog reasons.
Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas She’ll feel out of character as he explains it all to her, and this will be her hurdle. I think she’ll get over it!
Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson I’ve made peace with it. Please don’t be annoying.
Rank ’em yourself in the comments, DANCMSTRs!