‘Dancing With The Stars’: Handicapping The New Cast

Though we don’t yet know who their partners will be (which, let’s face it, is an important factor in deciding who can win and who can’t), the celebrity contestants for the new season of “Dancing With the Stars” have been announced. Ever since the launch of the show back in 2005, it has evolved from a charming summer replacement show into one of the most popular reality programs on television.

At this point, they’ve figured out exactly how to cast these things. In fact, you can even tell how everybody is going to finish based on the role each person plays in the cast. Check out the predictions below.

The Ringer
Role: The professional performer (usually a musician with some kind of dance background) who provides the gold standard for the rest of the contestants. These people are usually the finalists.
Past Versions: Mya, Nick Lachey, Nicole Scherzinger, Aaron Carter
This Year’s Model: Brandy. As Mya proved, a little R&B pedigree goes a long way.

The Football Player
Role: Twofold. First, for the sheer hilarity of seeing huge guys doing the cha cha. And second, to (theoretically) get men interested in the show. These guys tend to overachieve because of a combination of the above.
Past Versions: Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Jason Taylor, Warren Sapp
This Year’s Model: Kurt Warner. Expect the quarterback to get pretty deep into this one.

The Other Athlete
Role: To prove that athletic prowess doesn’t necessarily translate into greatness on the dance floor.
Past Versions: Clyde Drexler, Floyd Mayweather, Chuck Liddell
This Year’s Model: Rick Fox. Considering the guy retired from NBA competition with bad knees, his chances are not great.

The Athlete Who Is Actually A Ringer
Role: To fool you into thinking there isn’t a second ringer on the show. These people tend to win outright.
Past Versions: Kristi Yamaguchi, Apolo Anton Ohno, Shawn Johnson, Helio Castroneves
This Year’s Model: Change the word “athlete” to “actress,” and you’ve got Jennifer Grey.

The Old Person
Role: To prove that age ain’t nothin’ but a number (except when it keeps you from winning, save for one case).
Past Versions: Buzz Aldrin, Donny Osmond, Cloris Leachman, Jane Seymour
This Year’s Model: Former “Brady Bunch” star Florence Henderson, who checks in at 76 years old.

The Underdog
Role: The person everybody knows can’t win but roots for anyway.
Past Versions: Kelly Osbourne, Ty Murray, Melissa Joan Hart, Marie Osmond
This Year’s Model: If you think people won’t be really, truly pulling for Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, then you’ve got another thing coming.

The Mystery
Role: The person who really makes you question the word “stars” in the title.
Past Versions: Cameron Mathison, Gilles Marini, Sabrina Bryan, anybody from “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette”
This Year’s Model: Kyle Massey is probably well-known to the under-13 set, but he’ll have an uphill battle with the folks who tune in and vote every week.

The Comedian
Role: Comic relief and (typically) an early exit.
Past Versions: Niecy Nash, Jeff Ross, Adam Carolla
This Year’s Model: Margaret Cho. Expect her to get her jokes in and exit before the checks hit the table.

The Politician or Business Mogul
Role: Generally, to make you feel conflicted about the types of people who hold elected office and control vast quantities of wealth.
Past Versions: Tom DeLay, Mark Cuban, Steve Wozniak
This Year’s Model: This show had to settle for Bristol Palin, who doesn’t hold an office but still somehow makes her way into American political life (much to the chagrin of everybody at lefty papers).

The Babe
Role: To look attractive. The show always wants to have a little eye candy mixed in with the dancing to properly take advantage of all those flimsy costumes.
Past Versions: Stacy Keibler, Shanna Moakler, Shannon Elizabeth
This Year’s Model: Sexy, sexy Audrina Patridge, who was “Dancing With the Stars” veteran Erin Andrews’ pick as this year’s dark horse favorite.

The Guy Who Will Totally Take Over The Show
Role: To take over the whole show.
Past Versions: None.
This Year’s Model: Look, we just really think Hasselhoff is going to kill this thing, OK?

The Person Who Goes Home First
Role: To go home first.
Past Versions: Penn Jillette, Belinda Carlisle, Tucker Carlson
This Year’s Model: Sorry Michael Bolton, but you’ll be home before your soup gets cold.