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"Dancing with the Stars" has more familiar faces than usual

Published February 28, 2012 11:22 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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.