Saturday, July 28, 2012 | 9:03 a.m.
ABC on Friday announced the all-star lineup of Season 15 of “Dancing With the Stars,” and the roster features champions and fan favorites, some of whom are Las Vegas regulars.
And, as with any reality TV show, there’s a twist: America will vote the 13th contestant onto the ABC juggernaut. The rundown of the 12 announced contestants:
Kirstie Alley: The Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning star of “Cheers” competed in Season 12 with “Le Reve -- the Dream” choreographer Maksim Chmerkovskiy and finished 2nd to Super Bowl champion Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers and pro partner Kym Johnson.
Pamela Anderson: The “Baywatch” babe and former Strip headliner competed in Season 10 with Damian Whitewood and finished 6th. With more style than technique, the blonde bombshell was always fun to watch on the dance floor.
Helio Castroneves: The charismatic racecar driver, who has made headlines with tax issues, raced to victory in Season 5 with Las Vegas darling Julianne Hough.
Joey Fatone: The former member of ’N Sync who has popped up all over Las Vegas in recent months -- guest hosting on “The Price Is Right Live!” at Bally’s and performing in “Dancing With the Stars: Live in Las Vegas” at the Tropicana -- was the Season 4 runner-up with Johnson to Olympic champion speed skater Apolo Ohno and Hough.
Shawn Johnson: The pint-sized Olympic champion gymnast, who attempted to make the 2012 London Olympics squad, flipped and spun her way to victory in Season 8 with Mark Ballas, upsetting favorite and then-unknown French heartthrob Gilles Marini and pro partner Cheryl Burke.
Drew Lachey: The 98 Degrees singer, sibling of band mate Nick Lachey and guest host of “The Price Is Right Live!” at Bally’s, won Season 2 with Burke. (Incidentally, 98 Degrees singer and founder Jeff Timmons performs his show “Wired” at Green Valley Ranch on Fridays and Saturdays.)
Gilles Marini: The dark-haired hunk, who appeared full frontal in the big-screen adaptation of “Sex and the City,” sizzled in Season 8 with Burke on their way to a 2nd-place finish. Marini enjoys partying in Las Vegas -- with his clothes on.
Kelly Monaco: The “General Hospital” actress is the Kelly Clarkson of “DWTS,” as she was crowned the first champion with Alex Mazo. Trivia: The first season of “DWTS” in 2005 featured six couples; every season since has featured 10 or more competing couples.
Apolo Ohno: One of the most decorated Winter Olympians with eight medals (two gold, two silver and four bronze) in speed skating, Ohno dazzled in Season 4, winning with Hough and performing one of the best freestyle performances, ever, to Young MC’s “Bust a Move.”
Bristol Palin: The dark horse of Season 11, daughter of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and baby mama with Levi Johnston (unbelievably) finished 3rd with Ballas with week after week of awkward performances. Mama Palin cheered her on in the audience; Johnston did not.
Melissa Rycroft: The famously dissed contestant on “The Bachelor” finished 3rd with Tony Dovolani in Season 8. Her wedding to Tye Strickland included fun in Las Vegas, and she is now a TV correspondent.
Emmitt Smith: The NFL’s all-time rushing leader and three-time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys won Season 3 with Burke, defeating superior dancer Mario Lopez and his partner Karina Smirnoff. Smith was effortlessly charming on the dance floor.
Back to that twist: actor Kyle Massey, fashionista Carson Kressley or actress Sabrina Ryan will be (unlucky) contestant No. 13 as voted on by the public. “Good Morning America” will reveal the winner on Aug. 27 (voting ends Aug. 24). Go to ABC’s website to vote.
Kressley currently hosts “Dancing With the Stars: Live in Las Vegas,” and Fatone, Ryan and Massey are featured in the popular Tropicana show. Final trivia question: Which pro has the most wins? It’s Derek Hough with three, followed by Ballas, Burke and sister Julianne Hough with two apiece.
Don Chareunsy is editor of VegasDeLuxe.com and senior editor, arts and entertainment, of LasVegasSun.com.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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