‘DWTS’ All-Stars: Kate and Bristol and Carson? Oh, My!

Kate Gosselin on 'DWTS' (Photo: ABC)

Next season’s “Dancing with the Stars” promises to be the most exciting ever as it’s the All-Stars edition featuring the best dancers and most colorful characters from seasons past.

And although the cast has yet to be selected, xfinityTV is already hearing tantalizing hints of who might be back in the ballroom in September.

“Many past winners of the show have been mentioned, including Emmitt Smith and Donny Osmond, who telegraphed their enthusiasm by sitting in the audience for this week’s Season 14 finale,” an insider said. “And it seems like a no-brainer that war hero J.R. Martinez, who was such an emotional winner in Season 13, will come back to compete with his partner Karina Smirnoff, and “Dirty Dancing” star Jennifer Grey will reprise her big moves from Season 11 with Derek Hough.

“Other potential all-stars could be skater Apolo Anton Ohno and race car driver Helio Castroneves, but they would have to be paired up with new partners as their winning pro, Julianne Hough, has hit the movie big time and won’t be coming back to “DWTS.” When asked if she’d do it, Julianne recently joked, “There’s an All-Stars?” She loves the show that made her famous but obviously, her schedule is jam-packed with other projects now. It remains to be seen whether Apolo and Helio would do the show with other female pros.”

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But you can also bet that stars who came close to winning—but finished second or third—will jump at the chance to try again for the mirror ball. That list includes hunky French actor Gilles Marini, who lost a squeaker of a contest to gymnast Shawn Johnson in 2009. Gilles’ partner Cheryl Burke has said she’d love to give him another crack at the title. Other also-rans viewers would like to see are Melissa Rycroft, Lance Bass, Mel B., Kelly Osbourne, Kirstie Alley, Mario Lopez, and Evan Lysacek. Dancer Mark Ballas has told reporters he’d like to hit the floor with Chelsea Kane or Cheetah Girl Sabrina Bryan, who had the most shocking elimination in “Dancing with the Stars” history when she was abruptly booted off in Season 5 after weeks of great performances.

But what everyone is dying know is which offbeat celebrities will return. “Producers decided that if they were going to make the All-Stars a true ratings bonanza, they’d have to bring in not only the stars who can really dance—and who finished 1, 2, or 3–but also open it up to colorful and controversial competitors,” the insider says. “They think fans of the show really want to see variety.” And that means “DWTS” will pursue Kate Gosselin, Bristol Palin, Carson Kressley, and Marie Osmond.

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Although sources say the cast and crew disliked Kate’s diva ways–and her partner Tony Dovolani publicly dissed her, saying he needed “a lot of therapy” after they worked together–the insider says, “There’s no doubt Kate boosted the ratings during Season 10–and she’s sure to cause a lot of controversy on the All-Stars. She’s the woman everyone loves to hate!”

Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol’s surprising popularity on Season 11 despite questionable dance skills will make her a good “get,” while Carson’s comic relief and unexpected performing ability thrilled fans. “Carson made so many friends doing the show—he has visited the set often and all the pro dancers want him back!” His hysterical parody of Madonna’s Vogue on the Season 13 finale has been one of the show highlights. And the fact that Carson is currently starring in the Las Vegas edition of “DWTS” should also make him a strong contender for All-Stars!

While Donny looks like a probable, could it also be a brother-sister act next season with his sister Marie? During Season 5, the singer/actress gave “DWTS” its most shocking on-camera moment when she fainted while listening to the judges. Marie also raised eyebrows with one of the show’s all-time strangest dances, in which she played a living doll. “There was a lot of drama around Marie,” the insider notes. “And there’s no doubt she was also a fan favorite and strong dancer, finishing 3rd in 2007. Producers would love to have her back if she’s willing and they could play up the love and rivalry between Donny and Marie.”

While fans might hold out hope for Season 7’s Cloris Leachman, the show’s oldest and funniest competitor, her current age of 86 makes this seem highly unlikely.

Who else WON’T be returning to the ballroom? Shannon Elizabeth, who had a romance with her partner Derek Hough while they competed together in Season 6, recently admitted she hasn’t gotten the call because “I wasn’t good at it!” And insiders think it will be 9021-NO for Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty, and Ian Ziering, who have all competed on “DWTS” but didn’t cause enough stir to come back. Fans won’t be begging to see singer Michael Bolton, who continually whined about the judging, or Aaron Carter, who appeared arrogant. And just plain terrible dancers such as Macy Gray, Kenny Mayne, Master P, Monica Seles, and Meta World Peace (aka Ron Artest) will have to wait for a show we’d really like to see—Dancing with the Stars, the Worst!

Stay tuned, “DWTS” fans! The cast announcement is expected in August and the All-Star Season 15 will kick off September.

“The bar is going to be set very high for the All-Stars,” the insider predicts. “You either have to be a great dancer or have a big personality or back story. It’s going to be an incredible season!”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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