Monday, March 09, 2009

What To Look For On New Season of Dancing With The Stars


March 9, 2009

TV host Nancy O'Dell - considered one of the favorites - and pop singer Jewel have dropped out of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." Replacements for at least one of the women could be announced during tonight's ABC premiere.

Both women sustained injuries during training for the show that prevent them from continuing the competition, the network announced. Jewel was diagnosed with a fractured tibia in both legs, while the "Access Hollywood" host will need surgery to repair a torn knee cartilage, the network said.
"Obviously this has caught us a bit by surprise," said executive producer Conrad Green. "The show will go on," Green said. "But really, our thoughts are with Jewel and Nancy. It's such a tough blow for them and just horribly bad luck.

"Usually the drama happens once the show has begun, not before the it starts," he said.

Jewel and O'Dell are still slated to appear tonight. Jewel's husband, rodeo champ Ty Murray, remains a contestant on the program, though he said it's "a huge bummer" that his wife had to withdraw.

"That's a big part of the reason why we did the show," he said. "It was chance for us to work together and go through this together."

O'Dell's departure makes Olympic gold-medalist Shawn Johnson the early-line favorite.

Johnson is a quick study who is picking up ballroom quickly, Green said. She is paired with former champ Mark Ballas, who can do a backflip.

"They'll be pushing the envelope physically," Green said.

New York Giant football legend Lawrence Taylor is having the hardest time.

"I think he was completely thrown by it," Green said. "He hadn't watched the show much. He just thought it'd be fun." Green says the contest is going to be difficult for Taylor, although he has trained more than any other football player at this stage.

Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Go's has had an issue getting dizzy during the waltz. "Can she get through the routine without throwing up on live television?" Green asked. "That's a first I'd rather not have."

To fill the Cloris Leachman/oddity role, the show has reality star Steve-O. "He's so crazy. It's a family show, but he's sobered up," Green said. "He wants to prove he can entertain people without being self-destructive." Steve-O also has physical skills after training as a clown.

Funnyman David Alan Grier will perform well and carry the audience along with him, Green predicted.

One couple with sizzle will be Rapper Lil' Kim paired with reigning champ Derek Hough. Green called her funny and upbeat. Their routines? Dynamite, Green said.

Actress Denise Richards asked to be paired with Maksim Chmerkovskiy. "They've got great chemistry," Green said. "I'm hoping she'll really be good. The difficult thing for her has been balance and finesse."

"Sex and the City" actor Gilles Marini is paired with two-time champ Cheryl Burke. "With Cheryl, it will be sheer sexiness," Green said. "Gilles is enormously charming and fun. Every woman who meets him goes red in the face."

Country singer Chuck Wicks will dance with girlfriend Julianne Hough, a two-time champ. Don't think they have an advantage. They didn't start training until after everyone else because Wicks was performing across the country, Green said.

"It's an interesting dynamic to see a couple talking to each other about dance," Green said. "It feels very intimate. It's nice to see that side of Julianne. He's one of the funniest people we've ever had on the show. I don't know how good he'll be as a dancer."

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