Stunt casting is an abomination, except when an entire show is built around it, as is the case with “Dancing with the Stars.” With last season’s carefully crafted cast still fresh in our minds, we’ve dreamed up a fantastical but not-impossible list of stars we’d like to see doing, you know, whatever dances they want to do. Honestly, we’re mostly about the electoral intrigue and fun costumes. The real cast announcement will come next year. For now, here are the dancers who would fill our dream cast:
Why not aim high? It's a dream list. This might be beneath him, sure, but a former house majority leader has already done the show. Plus Barack Obama has already become the first commander-in-chief to break the presidents-can’t-dance-on-TV barrier. And really: Is it any weirder than the "Hangover 2"?
Pros: He’d be so great at this.
Cons: His time is better spent helping people recover from earthquakes, fighting AIDS and taking over the White House press room.
The “Wonder Years” star who sets search engines ablaze with every move (married! pregnant! delivered!) is the girl-next-store for a whole generation of dudes who, because of apartment layouts, exurban migrations, or growing up on the tundra, didn’t have a girl next door. Plus, audiences love new moms, and she can pretend her appearance has something to do with teaching girls math. And she could fill the former-star-of-an-ABC-show role previously filled by half the contestants on the show.
Pros: We’ve outdone ourselves; this is a scarily good idea.
Cons: The show could maybe slightly undercut her position as a math-teaching role-model figure-person.
W. Axl Rose
He’s only slightly less likely to do this than Bill Clinton. Also, casting a semi-recluse with a famously terrible temper and reputation for going on stage around whenever would add serious new drama: Will Axl even show up for the finale episode? (Yes, in our dream, he makes it to the finale episode.)
Pros: The snake dance.
Cons: He would never do it.
If America were perfect, she would be its queen and Willie Nelson its king.
Pros: Great sense of rhythm and stagecraft, and – do we really have to make a case here?
Cons: None. Do this.
The 11-time NBA All Star would bring big personality and coordination to the floor, if only he could somehow be lured back from playing professional basketball in Turkey.
Pros: Given his past erratic behavior and “Wow, that’s disappointing”-style rap lyrics, his appearance could be presented as some kind of redemption. He also fills the athlete/rapper slot previously filled by Master P.
Cons: He fills the athlete slot, yes, but unfortunately not the “huge lumbering athlete you would never expect to be good at this” slot. He's incredibly agile, we're saying.
You’re lying to yourself if you don’t think she’s been the producers’ dream get for years. America’s 88-year-old sweetheart has done everything it’s possible for a celebrity to do, aside from this and hosting the Oscars. Why not cross it off the list?
Pros: Who in America wouldn’t watch?
Cons: It’s too obvious. And she’s too busy.
Yeah, that’s right. The slimmed-down musical provocateur has done the Spice Girls movie, “Austin Powers,” and “Two and a Half Men.” So don’t assume he’s too nose-in-the-air for "Dancing." His father was a big-band singer, so he’s steeped in ballroom tradition. And he could use the show to teach America about the music he loves.
Pros: A perfect meeting of high art and mainstream culture.
Cons: He could write three solid albums in the time it would take to do the show.
Her daughter was the ultimate stunt-cast, and the result was the first season of “Dancing” that made people who read “The Nation” care about the show. Palin, an avid runner, certainly has the athleticism for dancing, and she’s a controversy magnet, which, we’re told, sometimes makes for good television. Plus there’s a voting apparatus in place. Does it matter that this would never, ever, ever happen?
Pros: She would be by far the most jaw-dropping choice, because she’s the only one on our dream list who’s likely to again run for office.
Cons: It would severely undercut her credibility to run for President in 2012 — but lots of viewers wouldn't consider that a con.
When the show picked Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak for the eighth season, we know who their first choice was, right?
Pros: A great way for the apparently healthy Jobs to show off his stamina.
Cons: The reality distortion field that surrounds him may make it impossible for the judges to tally accurate scores on their iPads, while listening to music on their Nanos and checking their iPhones.
Sometimes cyberspace gossipers are absolutely right. We have no idea if the show’s producers are really reaching out to her, but they should be. The Disney alum and part-time pop star can dance. (See: "Jingle Bell Rock" sequence of "Mean Girls.")
Pros: “Dancing” could be exactly the kind of distraction a rehabbed Lohan needs – and a nice cozy comeback vehicle.
Cons: She’s reportedly not interested.
He’s a cameo king, no one doubts his athleticism, and a way to express himself artistically might be just what the newly vegan, deeply reflective Tyson needs.
Pros: He’s a champion. He could win. And his Animal Planet show proves his openness to TV.
Cons: None. The 2008 documentary “Tyson” proved him to be as compelling watchable as ever.
She would handily fill the comedian position recently held by Margaret Cho and Jeffrey Ross.
Pros: If she can balance “Dancing” with her late-night show, she seems together enough to be a serious contender.
Cons: Why would she want to do that?