"Dancing with the Stars" has more familiar faces than usual
Published: February 28, 2012 11:22AM
Updated: February 29, 2012 10:19AM
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GOOD MORNING AMERICA - "Dancing with the Stars" hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet announced the 12 celebrities, with their professional partners, heading to the dance floor this season on ABC's "Good Morning America." This season's dynamic lineup of stars will perform either the Foxtrot or the Cha Cha for the first time on live national television with their professional partners during the two-hour season premiere of "Dancing with the Stars," MONDAY, MARCH 19 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/RICK ROWELL) MELISSA GILBERT, SHERRI SHEPHERD, MARTINA NAVRATILOVA, MARIA MENOUNOS, GLADYS KNIGHT, JALEEL WHITE, DONALD DRIVER, ROSHON FEGAN, GAVIN DeGRAW, JACK WAGNER

The cast of the upcoming season of "Dancing with the Stars" set a record - at least for me.

I've heard of more members of this cast than any other in the show's previous 13 seasons. Eight out of 10, as a matter of fact.

I'm not saying all of these people are actually stars, but there does seem to be a higher percentage of those than usual as well.

I'm not familiar with Katherine Jenkins, the Welsh opera singer, although she did appear in an episode of "Doctor Who." And, given that I don't speak Spanish, it's probably no surprise that I'd never heard of telenovela star William Levy.

And were it not for the fact that I write about television for a living, I probably wouldn't be aware of Disney Channel actor/singer Roshon Fegan ("Camp Rock" and "Shake It Up!").

But the rest of the list is filled with familiar names:

• Gavin DeGraw, singer

• Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers receiver

• Melissa Gilbert, actress (best known for "Little House on the Prairie")

• Gladys Knight, Grammy-winning singer

• Maria Menounos, TV host ("Extra")

• Martina Navratilova (tennis star)

• Sherri Shepherd (actress and TV host - "The View")

• Jack Wagner, actor (best known for "General Hospital" and "Melrose Place")

• Jaleel White (actor, best known as Urkel on "Family Matters")

"Dancing with the Stars" remains an entertainment show masquerading as a competition. It's all about popularity, and talent is secondary.

But the show clearly has its fans. And it succeeds better as entertainment than it does as competition.