Laney’s Look: The New “Dancing With The Stars” Cast Is Heading To The Ballroom

This is one of my favorite times of the year. Saturdays are filled with Marshall University and University of Kentucky football, and Monday nights are spent in the ballroom on “Dancing With The Stars”. There is definitely a unique cast this season. That coupled with the fact that Len Goodman is not returning to the judge’s panel adds to what could be an interesting competition.

As always, I’m here to give my take on the competition each week. However, in full disclosure, I’ll admit that I’m slightly biased this season with the Backstreet Boy’s Nick Carter as part of the line-up. As you may remember from my post Laney’s Look: The Story Of A Fan Girl, I’m a die hard Backstreet Boys fan, so Nick will definitely be receiving my support. I don’t have any issue with calling him out, though, if he doesn’t do well.

All of that being said, here’s my initial observations of this season’s cast, as well as early predictions.

Alek Skarlatos (Lindsay Arnold): Alek immediately has my respect because of his service to our country, and there is no denying that many will have that same respect. On a competition level, though, he’s relatively unknown. Had it not been for making headlines for thwarting a terrorist attack last month on a train from Amsterdam most would not know who he is. He may survive the first eviction, but I don’t believe he will be a long-term contender in the competition unless he comes out and blows everyone away.

Alexa Penavega (Mark Ballas): On paper Alexa has a lot going for her. She has a diverse background in acting as well as dancing. I am drawn to the fact that she’s competing against her husband. It similarly reminds me of when Meryl Davis competed against her skating partner Charlie White two seasons ago. While I don’t believe early on that Alexa will make it to the finals, I do think she will have a long run on the show.

Andy Grammer (Allison Holker): I can’t say or type Andy’s name without singing “Honey I’m Good” and remembering his performance on the show last year with Derek Hough and Nastia Liukin. He is a contestant that I think will be very likable. We know he has rhythm. My prediction is he will make it through at least the final four.

Bindi Irwin (Derek Hough): Bindi is, in my opinion, going to be the show’s sweetheart. We’ve all watched her grow up, and of course there are probably few that don’t remember her late father, Steve Irwin. I think she’ll be timid coming out of the gate, but I think fan support will help keep her in the competition no matter what.

Carlos PenaVega (Witney Carson): I’ll admit that I know little about Carlos, but, from what I can see, he has a lot going for him. There is of course the fan base of “Big Time Rush” and his experience there. That also grants him experience with dance. Carlos will probably stick around until final five or six.

Chaka Khan (Keo Motsepe): Here we have this season’s “legend”. In all honesty, she could come out and fall on her face and she would still be back simply because of who she is. That being said, she’s not a contender for the trophy. We’ll see her survive probably four or five weeks of competition before being eliminated.

Gary Busey (Anna Trebunskaya): And here is this season’s comedy relief. People love him, people are annoyed by him. He is really a wild card when it comes to life in the competition. He could hand in there with the likes of Bill Engvall and Tommy Chong, or he could be one of the first to go. I can’t even begin to make a prediction on this one.

Hayes Grier (Emma Slater): This would be another one that I know very little about. He has a huge social media following, so that should definitely help him with fan support. He’s young and will definitely have the energy for the competition. The key will be to win over the older voters. that will determine exactly how far he will make it in the competition.

Kim Zolciak Biermann (Tony Dovolani): While I’m not a fan of any of the “Real Housewives” franchise, I know who Kim is. From what I can tell she is equally loved and hated. Going by show history, though, reality stars don’t tend to fair well. She could be gone as early as the first week. I don’t see her lasting beyond three weeks.

Nick Carter (Sharna Burgess): Yes, as I mentioned earlier, I’m partial to Nick in this season’s competition. Even as a non-fan, though, he has redeeming qualities coming into the competition. He has dance experience and musicality. I have seen him a little stiff at times, so that could hurt him, but overall I think he has the ability to do well in the competition. He also has a fan base to support him, including Backstreet fans that never watched DWTS in the past. Nick has the ability to take it all.

Paula Deen (Louis Van Amstel): Let me start this one by saying that I’m so excited to see Louis returning to the ballroom. As for Paula — she has a large fan base, despite controversy in the media. There’s not enough, tough, to keep her in this for the long haul. I think she’ll be neck-in-neck with Chaka Khan in terms of elimination.

Tamar Braxton (Valentin Chemerkobskiy): It’s hard to not know Tamar from “Braxton Family Values” as well as her many other ventures. Her sister, Toni, previously competed on DWTS. While I believe Tamar has talent, I don’t think she’ll last longer than her sister did, who was eliminated in the fifth week of the competition. In fact, I am leaning toward her possibly leaving earlier, not far behind Kim.

Victor Espinoza (Karina Smirnoff): This is a first… to have a jockey as one of the contestants on the show. I’m honestly not sure how Victor will fair. While athletes typically do well in the competition, he is not a household name. (I actually had to look up who he was because I forgot.) For that reason alone I’m predicting that he won’t last too long in the competition, but I could very well be proven wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time!

Going off of these observations, my extremely early prediction for final three is: Andy Grammar, Bindi Irwin, and Nick Carter. I’m looking forward to seeing all of the dancers take to the floor tonight for the first night of competition.

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