“Dancing with the Stars” Season 13 kicks off tonight with a brand spanking new set, a shiny new cast, and some fresh faces amongst the pros (hello Val, Tristin and Petra!).
While the Vegas odds makers have already chimed in on whom they are betting — Elisabetta Canalis is the frontrunner and Chaz Bono is the long shot, so far — we thought we’d give our first impressions on the new cast.
Let’s take a look…
Ron Artest, 31, LA Lakers Forward
Partner: Petra Murgatroyd
Strength: As we saw in the cast announcement last month, he certainly looks good shirtless and that will go over nicely with the ladies. And, again, athletes typically do well so he’s got that going for him too.
Weakness: He told us after his first practice that it’s really hard to remember “the pattern of the feet and trying to get your feet down and keeping up with her.” And, he said, “My hips are pretty tight. Worst hips in the history of hips.”
David Arquette, 40, Actor
Partner: Kym Johnson
Strength: Many cast mates think he’s the one to beat because he’s a natural performer, a true showman, funny, fearless, and has that quirky charm people adore.
Weakness: Might he be too quirky for mainstream voters?
Chaz Bono, 42, Cher’s Transgender Son
Partner: Lacey Schwimmer
Strength: We hear he can dance. And, the LBGT community might just come out in droves to vote him through given all the crap he’s taken lately in the media.
Weakness: Carrying a few extra pounds doesn’t bode well for being light on your feet on the dance floor and his knees area already giving him trouble. And, the narrow minded viewers who are against him might vote double-time for anyone else.
Elisabetta Canalis, 32, George Clooney’s Ex
Partner: Val Chmerkovskiy
Strength: The Italian TV star said she has some dance experience. She’s in amazing shape. Male viewers will want to catch a view of the hottest new naked PETA model in action. The “George Clooney’s ex” curiosity factor might help her out too with voters.
Weakness: The language barrier might make her not connect as well with the audience or when she interacts with the judges And, the fact that George’s new flame, Stacy Kiebler, placed third on Season 2 might be causing her nightmares and throw her off her game. We’ll see.
Kristin Cavallari, 24, “The Hills” Reality Star
Partner: Mark Ballas
Strength: Young, flexible, high energy, and able and willing to work her already-taught tushy off. And, she’s got a little something to prove to her recent ex. At, 24, she’s the youngest and historically, the young ones do quite well.
Weakness: She’s admittedly scared to death of live TV and if her nerves get the best of her I episode one, it’ll likely be a downward spiral from there.
Nancy Grace, 51, CNN Host
Partner: Tristan MacManus
Strength: Moms and grandmas nationwide who call into her show simply adore this woman. The rest of America….
Weakness: … not so much. She’s a polarizing personality and at 51 and a tad bit overweight, she might not be as agile and flexible as the other women.
Robert Kardashian, 24, Reality Star
Partner: Cheryl Burke
Strength: The world’s obsession with all things Kardashian has got to rub off on the little brother of the bunch at some point, so why not now? “Keeping Up with the Kardashian” viewers are soooo tuning in.
Weakness: Lazy, out of shape, subdued personality. Wait, what? Yes, we just said that. Sorry, Rob. We’ll believe the reports that you’re not putting it all into practices and pissing off Cheryl until you prove us wrong.
Carson Kressley, 41, Fashion Expert
Partner: Anna Trebunskaya
Strength: The former “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” star looks great in a suit, can play the debonair card well in a waltz, and will likely be super funny (the good funny) in a flamboyant Paso Doble – throw in some over-the-top flamenco hand claps and he’ll have my vote.
Weakness: His personality might be too over-the-top for voters (not for equally wacky judge Bruno Tonioli, of course) and he’s admittedly “scared to death” like Kristin.
Ricki Lake, 42, Actress
Partner: Derek Hough
Strength: We think her “Hairspray” experience gives her more of a leg up than she thinks. Couple a little experience with wanting to win “real bad” and a winning partner in Derek Hough and she’s looking good.
Weakness: No strong weaknesses are coming up, but if we had to pick one, it would be that most of the ladies, except for Nancy Grace, might be in better shape than Ricki and this is a physically challenging show.
JR Martinez, 28 “All My Children” Star/War Vet
Partner: Karina Smirnoff
Strength: Anyone who can survive an attack in the Iraq War, can survive “Dancing with the Stars” and he has Karina Smirnoff as a partner – she’s long overdue for a win. His motivational message will surely win over voters, as well.
Weakness: Little experience, not a lot of confidence. “It’s been a while since I’ve moved like that,” he told us. “My mind believes I can do it, however let’s see if my feet and body can catch up.”
Chynna Phillips, 43, Singer
Partner: Tony Dovolani
Strength: She’s a natural performer. The stage is no stranger. And, Wilson Phillips shined at the end of one of the year’s funniest films, “Bridesmaids,” breathing new life into the artist and group.
Weakness: She fears the saucy dances. “I don’t have a whole lot of Latin going on inside of me. I fear the Cha Cha a bit,” she admits.
Hope Solo, 30, Soccer Star
Partner: Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Strength: Athletes typically do well and a soccer goalkeeper in particular surely has some amazing footwork that will translate to dancing. Athletic, great physical shape and endurance, and a strong work ethic – and she’s hot to boot- and Hope might actually have the best shot of them all.
Weakness: Being the least famous of the bunch doesn’t always bode well with voters.
Bodog’s Vegas odds:
Elisabetta Canalis: 3 to 1
Carson Kressley: 4 to 1
Kristin Cavallari: 5 to 1
Chynna Phillips: 6 to 1
Robert Kardashian: 7.5 to 1
Hope Solo: 8 to 1
Ron Artest: 10 to 1
David Arquette: 10 to 1
J.R. Martinez: 12 to 1
Ricki Lake: 15 to 1
Nancy Grace: 18 to 1
Chaz Bono: 20 to 1
“Dancing with the Stars” Season 13 kicks off Monday, September 19 on ABC from 8 to 10 p.m./EST.