Today's cuppa: Scottish breakfast tea (with breakfast)
The cast for the ninth cycle of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," premiering Sept. 21, was announced this morning, and here is a rundown of my gut reactions:
Aaron Carter: He's the younger brother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and a pop teen sensation in his own right. Got no opinion on this one, other than he's young and will have boundless energy (and will give pro dancer Derek Hough a run for his money in the floppy-blond-hair category).
Natalie Coughlin: The Olympic swimmer has earned 11 medals, including six in one Olympiad in 2008. She also has a B.A. in psychology, which will likely come in handy in this venue. Also no strong feelings here, except to say that Michael Phelps would have been way funnier.
Mark Dacascos: Known as "The Chairman" and host of Food Network's "Iron Chef America," Dacascos is also a martial artist and actor. He's in his mid-40s, but should be in phenomenal shape. The martial arts may help his power in the paso doble, but could prove a hindrance in the more elegant foxtrot and waltz.
Tom DeLay: Nicknamed "The Hammer" during his stint as House Majority Leader, the former Republican congressman from Texas has had a colorful life, from his high-living bachelor days to his religious conversion to his rise to power in Washington, D.C., to his fall from grace and resignation in 2006. Whether he can reclaim that inner Lone Star State wild man for the Latin dances remains to be seen, but anyone who's spent that much time in Congress has done a quickstep or two.
Macy Gray: The raspy-voiced singer/songwriter is celebrated for her musical ability, but she's not known for flashy on-stage dance routines (have to go to Tina Turner, Janet Jackson or Madonna for that, and wouldn't any of them be awesome on this show?). But she's sure to have an innate musicality, and she's done some acting, so that should be useful in the more dramatic dances.
Ashley Hamilton: The actor/singer-songwriter is the son of former "Dancing With the Stars" competitor George Hamilton and the stepson of rock idol Rod Stewart — and he was married to Shannen Doherty — so he knows a bit about dancing, singing and high drama.
Melissa Joan Hart: The "Clarissa Explains It All" and "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" star has two sons, aged three and 17 months, so she'll be juggling the roles of wife, mother and dance novice. But if recent pictures are to be believed, she's not doing "Dancing" to lose that baby weight.
Kathy Ireland: She's a former supermodel turned wife, mom, author, Sunday-school teacher and fashion CEO of kathy ireland Worldwide, along with supporting several non-profit organizations and being a prolific Twitterer. Models historically have done poorly on "DWtS," so Ireland has a chance to prove that to look good is to move good.
]]>Michael Irvin: Nicknamed "The Playmaker" during his stint in the NFL, this former Dallas Cowboy has a lot to live up to, since NFL players have a great track record on "DWtS." He's also a radio and TV sports commentator, but considering how miserably sports commentator Kenny Mayne did on "DWtS" — being eliminated in week one — Irvin would probably rather I didn't mention that.
Joanna Krupa: The Polish-born beauty is a celebrated model and actress, but again, considering that models have been more wooden than wow on "DWtS," let's mention instead that she competed in ABC's "The Superstars," teaming with Buffalo Bills star Terrell Owens. With any luck, a little of that NFL magic rubbed off.
Chuck Liddell: He's a top Ultimate Fighting Champion and a star of Mixed Martial Arts, which makes him a scarier version of Mark Dacascos. He's known as "The Iceman," so we'll have to see if he can heat it up in the Latin rounds.
Debi Mazar: The Queens-born actress is known for playing tough-talking New Yorkers, so she should feel right at home in this cast of tough guys. And, the blue-eyed brunette is prettier than all of them (OK, maybe not Aaron Carter, but he doesn't seem all that tough).
Mya: The R&B singer-songwriter, record producer and actress is also a dancer and choreographer, so I'm tempted to cry "ringer!" Add to that the facts that she's young and beautiful, so we could be looking at a formidable competitor.
Kelly Osbourne: Whether ivory-skinned brunette or bleached blonde, the singer/actress daughter of "The Osbournes" is used to the limelight and to reality TV, and if she needs tips on dealing with judges, she can ask mom Sharon, who's on the judging panel for NBC's "America's Got Talent." Of course, she may not want to ask her mom to rate her performance, as those "AGT" buzzers are LOUD …
Donny Osmond: The long-time musical star, actor and TV host follows sister Marie onto the show, and, I hope, won't follow her to the floor in a dead faint. Upside — if host Tom Bergeron goes down in the line of duty, Osmond could grab the mike and fill in at a moment's notice.
Louie Vito: Who? (Oh, pipe down, you know a lot of you said the same thing.) Apparently he's a top pro snowboarder, favored to make the 2010 Olympic team. One hopes that the "Dancing" schedule won't interfere with his training to go for the gold. Upside, he's cute as a bug and no doubt tough as nails, but that knit cap will have to go.