"Dancing with the Stars" is getting some old school indie film cred– along with an Osbourne, and Osmond and a former GOP bigwig.
ABC today announced the 16 celebrities who’ve signed on for the upcoming season of "Dancing with the Stars," and as always, it’s a diverse bunch featuring names both instantly recognizable (Aaron Carter, Donny Osmond, Kelly Osbourne, Macy Gray, Debi Mazar, Kathy Ireland, Michael Irvin) and a bit more obscure (Louie Vito, Mark Dacascos).
The oddest choice: Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a k a "The Hammer." No word on whether he’ll be spreading anti-health care reform diatribes between cha-cha-chas, but MoveOn.org will no doubt be watching closely.
Meanwhile, Mazar is the indie film darling waltzing into the reality arena. While she went mainstream years ago (she’s in "Entourage" after all), Mazar will always be something of a small film darling thanks to her work in films such as "Empire Records," "Jungle Fever" and "Inside Monkey Zetterland."
While there was never any credible evidence to suggest that Paula Abdul was being considered as a contestant on "DWTS" this season– a judge is what makes the most sense– we feel obligated to note that she’s not on the list of participants.
"DWTS" returns Monday, Sept. 21 and will air two-hour episodes on Mondays (8-10 p.m.) and a one-hour results show on Tuesdays.
The biggest news of the day is buried deep in ABC’s release: Among the new dance styles being introduced this season on "DWTS" is the Lambada. Guess it’s no longer forbidden.
Per ABC, here are this season’s dancers and their network-approved bios:
AARON CARTER — Triple platinum selling music artist/songwriter, producer, actor and younger brother of Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter, Aaron Carter has established himself worldwide as a pop and teen sensation. Beginning his career at the age of eight, he is currently the youngest solo artist to have four Top 40 singles. He has released four studio albums since 1997, two of which have been certified platinum, and has appeared on several television series, including "Lizzie McGuire" and "7th Heaven," as well as making his Broadway debut playing JoJo the Who in "Seussical the Musical" in 2001. He sang vocals on soundtracks for Disneymania ("The Lion King"), "Ella Enchanted," "Pokemon" and "Rugrats the Movie." In 2006 Carter starred in the E! reality show, "House of Carters," which featured all five of the Carter siblings living in the same house.
NATALIE COUGHLIN — Olympic swimming gold medalist Natalie Coughlin is the most decorated female athlete of both the 2008 Beijing and 2004 Athens Games. Coughlin has won a medal in every single Olympic event that she has ever entered, for a total of 11 Olympic medals. In 2008 she became the first American female athlete to win six medals in one Olympiad, in addition to becoming the first woman to win consecutive individual Olympic gold medals in the 100m backstroke. She is also the most decorated female swimmer in World Championship history, with 16 medals. Born and raised in northern California, Coughlin attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a BA in psychology in 2005.
MARK DACASCOS — Famously known as "The Chairman" and host of Food Network’s "Iron Chef America," Mark Dacascos is also a trained martial artist and an actor. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, his passion for martial arts began at an early age under the tutelage of his parents, who are both former national champions and teachers. After being discovered in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Dacascos began to establish a film and television career playing not only martial artists but a wide arrangement of other characters before joining "Iron Chef America" in 2005. He has appeared in several feature films, including the internationally acclaimed French epic, "Brotherhood of the Wolf," the cult classic "Only the Strong," "Cradle to the Grave", opposite Jet Li, "Only the Brave," "Nomad" and "The Lost Medallion," to be released later this year.
TOM DELAY — The former House Majority Leader is a prominent Republican and conservative firebrand. He was first elected to Congress in 1984, and when Republicans took control of the House, his colleagues elected him Majority Whip, and later Majority Leader. His leadership was characterized by his aggressive "Grow the Vote" method of party discipline, where he never lost a vote, leading the Washington Post to nickname him "The Hammer." He and his wife, Christine, also served as foster parents and founded a community in Texas that serves as a safe, permanent home for abused and neglected children. DeLay is currently president of First Principles LLC, a strategic political consulting firm based in Washington DC and Houston, Texas.
MACY GRAY — Macy Gray first burst onto the music scene with her debut album, "On How Life Is," and the hit single "I Try," both of which went to number one. She has gone on to sell more than 20,000,000 albums worldwide and has won and been nominated for five Grammy Awards and six MTV Video Music Awards. She has collaborated on stage and in the recording studio with some of music’s greatest artists, including Justin Timberlake, Carlos Santana, Erykah Badu, Fergie, will.i.am (Black Eyed Peas), John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) Nas and Natalie Cole. Gray has also appeared in numerous films, including "Spider Man," "Training Day," "Idlewild" (with Outkast) and the award-winning HBO Film, "Lackawanna Blues."
ASHLEY HAMILTON — Actor, songwriter, comedian and son of former "Dancing with the Stars" contestant George Hamilton, Ashley is a multi-talented, multi-hyphenate with experience in film, comedy and television. An accomplished singer, Ashley had a 2003 top 20 single released by Sony, and as a songwriter co-wrote the top 10 Robbie Williams hit entitled "Come Undone." He has writing credits for Hillary Duff among other top acts. Hamilton has made various television and film appearances in his career, including a starring role in "Sunset Beach." Since 2007 he has been performing stand-up comedy at the Laugh Factory, the Hollywood Improv, the Comedy Store and Room 5 in Los Angeles.
MELISSA JOAN HART — Known for her starring roles in the television series "Clarissa Explains It All" and "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," Melissa Joan Hart began her career at the early age of four with television commercials and various television appearances. She starred in the film "Drive Me Crazy" alongside "Entourage’s" Adrian Grenier, as well as the ABC Family Original Movie "Holiday in Handcuffs," opposite "Dancing with the Stars" alumnus Mario Lopez, which was the highest rated program in the history of the network. In 2009 Hart starred in another ABC Family Original Movie, "My Fake FiancÃ©" that also garnered huge ratings. In 1993 she started her own production company, Hartbreak Films, and is set to release her first thriller film, "Nine Dead," to DVD in January 2010. Hart and husband Mark Wilkerson are the proud parents of two sons, Mason, age three, and Braydon, 17 months.
KATHY IRELAND — Kathy Ireland the super model is now wife, mother of three, author, Sunday school teacher and fashion CEO of kathy ireland Worldwide® (KIWW)®. Forbes, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal celebrate KIWW® as a $1.4 billion design empire. Ireland powerfully supports many non-profits, including the Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation, Feed the Children and the Alliance for Christian Education. UCLA has named her as one of the Top Ten Women’s Health Advocates in America.
MICHAEL IRVIN — Regarded as one of the most successful wide receivers in the history of the NFL, former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin is a three-time Super Bowl champion and former broadcaster for ESPN’s "NFL Countdown." Known as "The Playmaker" and one of "The Triplets" alongside fellow Cowboys Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith, Irvin was a recipient of the Dallas Cowboys’ Ring of Honor in 2005. In 2007 he was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame and has appeared in various television shows, as well as co-starring in "The Longest Yard" with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. Last fall Irvin executive-produced/hosted the reality TV series "4th and Long" for Spike TV, in which one football hopeful was given a shot at making the Dallas Cowboys roster. Most recently he appeared on the Hall of Fame inductions on the NFL Network, and he hosts his own radio show in Dallas for ESPN Radio.
JOANNA KRUPA — Polish-born Joanna Krupa was born in Warsaw and raised in Chicago. After high school she moved to LA to pursue a career in modeling and acting. Her hard work and positive spirit led her to become one of the most requested models/covergirls in the world. PETA’s "I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign featuring Krupa became a phenomenon. She’s been featured in E!’s The Sexiest as one of the sexiest women in the world. In 2009 she was selected as the cover model for Ocean Drive magazine, and Maxim voted her among their TOP 100 women in the world. Film and TV credits include "Six Days in Paradise," due in the fall, "Ripple Effect," "Las Vegas" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." Most recently she competed in ABC’s "The Superstars," teaming with Buffalo Bills NFL star Terrell Owens.
CHUCK LIDDELL — Chuck Liddell is the face of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the icon of Mixed Martial Arts — the fastest growing sport in America. In 1998 he won his first UFC Mixed Martial Arts fight. Soon after, Liddell rose through the ranks to become the light-heavyweight champion of the world. In July of 2009, he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. He is tied for the most wins by a UFC fighter, with 16, and also holds the most knockout wins with 10. In 2008 Liddell penned his autobiography, Iceman: My Fighting Life, which quickly became a New York Times bestseller. He has a BA in Business/Accounting from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he also wrestled.
DEBI MAZAR — Debi Mazar’s feature film debut in Martin Scorsese’s "Goodfellas" set the stage for an extensive career in both television and film. She has consistently worked with notable directors — including Oliver Stone, Spike Lee, Woody Allen, Michael Mann and Joel Schumacher — often portraying a sharp-tongued New Yorker in both dramas and comedy. Her television credits include "Friends," "Ugly Betty" and her own sitcom, CBS’ "Temporarily Yours." Mazar presently stars as publicist Shauna on HBO’s hit series "Entourage." She also co-hosts "Under the Tuscan Gun," a successful internet show focused on Tuscan cuisine, with her husband. The couple have two young daughters and presently reside in both Los Angeles and Tuscany, Italy.
MYA — Grammy Award® winning multi-platinum artist Mya, became a star at the age of 18 with her eponymous debut album which yielded three Top 10 singles. In addition to releasing five full length albums, one of which went platinum and another gold, she starred in the acclaimed film "Chicago." Since then Mya has appeared in several other movies and signed a modeling contract. Her fourth and fifth studio albums, "Liberation" and "Sugar & Spice," respectively, have been released in Japan, and her sixth studio album is due to be released on her independent label. A longtime advocate for young women, Mya founded The Mya Arts & Tech Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing disadvantaged youth growth and opportunity through arts & technology education, where she serves as both executive director and teacher.
KELLY OSBOURNE — A singer, actress and media personality, Kelly Osbourne’s father is rock icon Ozzy Osbourne, and her mother is well-known TV personality Sharon Osbourne. Kelly got her start at the age of 16 in the first-ever "celebrity reality" TV show, "The Osbournes," with her famous family, which garnered an Emmy Award® for Outstanding Reality Program in 2002. That same year, Kelly released her debut music album, "Shut Up!," which included a cover of Madonna’s "Papa Don’t Preach." Her second album, "Sleeping in Nothing," was released in 2005 with its first single, "One Word," hitting No. 1 on all three Billboard Dance charts simultaneously. She made her dramatic acting debut in a starring role on the ABC series "Life As We Know It". In recent years Osbourne has worked primarily in the UK, where she’s done theatre (including a successful run in "Chicago" in London’s West End in 2007), hosted her own weekly radio show on BBC Radio and presented numerous UK TV projects, including "Project Catwalk," the UK’s version of "Project Runway."
DONNY OSMOND — Donny Osmond won the hearts of millions as both a member of the Osmonds and, with his sister (and "Dancing with the Stars" alumna) Marie, as the youngest co-hosts in primetime history on the iconic ABC variety series, "The Donny & Marie Show." He and Marie are currently performing at the Las Vegas Flamingo Hotel through 2012. For nearly five decades, Donny has been a singer, musician, Broadway and film actor, talk show and game show host, bestselling author, and even a champion race car driver.
LOUIE VITO — Professional snowboarder Louie Vito is among the U.S.’ elite snowboarders favored to make the 2010 Olympic team. Competing in both the Pipe and Slopestyle disciplines, Vito continues to train for the Grand Prix qualifying. The 21 year-old native of Bellefontaine, OH turned pro in 2006 and has competed in multiple Winter X-Games competitions. He is also a two-time winner of the USSA Grand Prix Halfpipe Series.