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'Dancing with the Stars' Lineup Reflects the Pop-Culture Emptiness of 2020

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 2, 2020 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 2, 2020 |


When folks look back on pop culture in the pandemic year of 2020, what will they remember? Tiger King? Has anything else really broken out in a big way this year? We’ve had some minor hits — Lovecraft Country, Little Fires Everywhere, I May Destroy You — but the embarrassing reality is that f**king Tiger King and the Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance will be the two things we will remember most about one of the darkest periods — if not the darkest period — in our lifetimes. (That, plus Jada and Will talking about her affair).

Enter the next season of Dancing with the Stars, which has ditched Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews and replaced them with Tyra Banks, which is probably an upgrade, to be honest. The upcoming season, which is somehow moving ahead despite the pandemic, and despite the fact that social distancing is impossible between dancers, has announced its roster of “celebrities.” In many ways, those celebrities reflect the era in which we have been stuck, Groundhog Day-like since March.

First off, Carole Baskin — who murdered her husband??? — is one of the contestants.

On the other hand, Charles Oakley — a former NBA star featured in The Last Dance — will also be a contestant, alongside a number of other forgotten stars and barely stars. Here are the other contestants:

Kaitlyn Bristowe, “The Bachelor” (Season 19), “The Bachelorette” (Season 11).
Jeannie Mai, “Holey Moley” sideline correspondent; host of daytime talk show “The Real”
Anne Heche
AJ McLean, Backstreet Boys
Monica Aldama, “Cheer”
Johnny Weir, Olympic figure skater
Vernon Davis, former NFL star
Justina Machado, One Day at a Time
Chrishelle Stause, Selling Sunset
Jesse Metcalfe, Desperate Housewives
Skai Jackson, Disney Channel’s Jessie
Nev Schulman, host, Catfish: The TV Show

Brief thoughts: Justina Machado is awesome and doesn’t need this. I can’t believe that John Tucker Must Die is 41 already; I can’t believe that Nev Schulman is only 35; and I’m glad I won’t have Vernon Davis on my fantasy team this year trying to predict which 2 weeks out of the season he’ll have a monster day while dealing with goose eggs for the rest of the season; and Anne Heche?! Come on, now! Did you know she’s dating Thomas Jane, who looks like he just spent the night in the drunk tank.


Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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