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Competitors in the new season of Dancing with the Stars are: Melissa Gilbert (left), Sherri Shepherd, Martina Navratilova, Maria Menounos, Gladys Knight, Jaleel White, Donald Driver, Roshon Fegan, Gavin DeGraw and Jack Wagner. Missing from the picture are Katherine Jenkins and William Levy. (SUPPLIED)
Sometimes reality catches up with comedy.
And no, that's not another Kardashians joke.
In this case the reference is to Dancing with the Stars, that seemingly unsinkable reality-competition series that lurches into its 14th season Monday, March 19 on ABC and CTV Two.
The truth is, it's no mystery why Dancing with the Stars has endured. It's pure escapism, lots of colour and movement, with a loyal female-heavy fan base.
A friend of mine pointed out a couple of years ago that the best thing ever to happen to him was Dancing with the Stars, because it meant his wife didn't give a damn what he was up to on Monday nights, which freed him to go out to a bar and watch sports.
Anyway, for a long time the level of stardom required to be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars has been fodder for comedians, prompting monickers like "Dancing with the D-list celebrities," blah blah blah.
But as we were saying about reality catching up with comedy, this season, honestly and truly, it's a barely glittering level of stardom that's set to take the dance floor. Of the 12 celebrity participants, we had to look up who more than half of them are.
That's not a good ratio.
The fiercest behind-the-scenes competition in TV must be between the producers of Dancing with the Stars and the producers of The Celebrity Apprentice. "They've just upped their offer to Debbie Gibson, we have to counter!" You know, that kind of thing.
Sure, it's easy to sit here and throw stones. But sifting through this year's cast of Dancing with the Stars, could we have done any better?
Well, uh, maybe:
Participant: Former tennis great Martina Navratilova. Better choice: Former tennis great and primary Navratilova rival Chris Evert. Okay, that's just cruel.
Participant: Little House on the Prairie alumnus Melissa Gilbert. Better choice: Her far more saucy sister Sara Gilbert.
Participant: Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers receiver - heck, he's not even the best receiver on his own team, let alone the best amateur dancer in North America. Better choice: Terrell Owens. We all know he needs the money.
Participant: Singer Gavin DeGraw. Better choice: Actor Gavin MacLeod, a.k.a. Captain Stubing and Murray Slaughter.
Participant: Disney star Roshon Fegan. Better choice: Former Disney stars Lindsay Lohan or Miley Cyrus. Would keep them off the streets.
Participant: Opera singer Katherine Jenkins. Better choice: Actress Katherine Heigl. It might mean one less rom-com foisted upon the world.
Participant: Singer Gladys Knight. Better choice: The surviving Pips.
Participant: Telenovela actor William Levy. Better choice: Eugene Levy, but he may have wrecked his body for dancing by playing Dr. Tongue's hunchback assistant Bruno for all those years on SCTV.
Participant: TV host Maria Menounos. Better choice: Menudo. Halfway through the competition they could be replaced by younger, cuter dancers.
Participant: Comedienne Sherri Shepherd. Better choice: Comedienne Sarah Silverman. We'd just be looking forward to her wide-eyed, foul-mouthed tirade if she were eliminated.
Participant: Singer and soap opera star Jack Wagner. Better choice: Jack White. The show instantaneously would just be way, way cooler, don't you think?
Participant: Jaleel White, a.k.a. Urkel. Better choice: Screech!