Nancy Grace, Ron Artest Among New Cast of ‘Dancing with the Stars’

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What would Dancing with the Stars be without a weird mix of athletes, reality-TV personalities, talk-show hosts and C-list actors?

May we never have to find out. The list of the latest celebrity participants has just been announced, and, no surprise, the “star” status of several of them is dubious. But this shouldn’t adversely affect its popularity, which has always been steady and high — the show had the third highest ratings of last year, losing only to American Idol and Sunday Night Football.

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The professional dancers who will come to the stars’ rescue will be announced on ABC’s Good Morning America on Aug. 31. For now, here is this season’s lineup of people you might have heard of:

  • Carson Kressley: On Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, he doled out advice for sloppy dudes, which led to a slew of hosting gigs including his own talk show Carson Nation.
  • Chaz Bono: Sonny & Cher’s only child together is a transgender rights advocate and the subject of an acclaimed documentary about the female-to-male sex change he recently underwent.
  • Chynna Phillips: Another offspring of famous musicians (The Mamas & the Papas’ band members John and Michelle Phillips), she was part of the ’90s pop band Wilson Phillips.
  • David Arquette: He is best known for playing the hapless cop in the Scream movies, but turns out he’s also been busy producing and directing with (reportedly estranged) wife Courteney Cox.
  • Elisabetta Canalis: In the U.S., this Italian actress and model is mostly known as the brunette George Clooney dated for two years.
  • Hope Solo: The U.S. women’s soccer goalkeeper has an Olympic gold medal and happens to be a bombshell with a cool name.
  • J.R. Martinez: An Iraq war veteran, Martinez also plays a combat veteran on soap opera All My Children and gives motivational talks.
  • Kristin Cavallari: She found fame as the protagonist of MTV’s Laguna Beach, and later also appeared on The Hills.
  • Nancy Grace: The opinionated HLN host who led a crusade against Casey Anthony is donating all her Dancing with the Stars earnings to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
  • Ricki Lake: Her eponymous talk show that spanned a decade from 1992 included episodes called “I’m a Queen in Drag Who is Fat and All That” and “My Daughter Dates Married Men.”
  • Rob Kardashian: He is best known as the brother of Kourtney, Kim and Khloe. Actually it’s all he’s known for. Which is not such a bad thing.
  • Ron Artest: The Los Angeles Lakers forward — and, let’s not forget, rapper — was part of a big courtside brawl a few years ago. Let’s hope this competition doesn’t get that heated.

Dancing with the Stars premiers on ABC on Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Central).

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