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'Dancing with the Stars' cast season 17 includes Snooki, Bill Nye, Valerie Harper

NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson and reality star

NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson and reality star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi have joined the cast of "Dancing with the Stars." (Sept. 4, 2013) Credit: AP

Here's what you live for, or not: The cast of the 17th, and truncated one-night-per-week, season of "Dancing with the Stars," back Sept. 16, and just for the biggest surprise here right off the bat: Bill Nye the Science Guy??!  But of course the biggest name here is Valerie Harper's ...

Here's your list with predictions ...

Snooki: Actually kind of like her chances here for reasons that are probably not good ones; call it a hunch, or call it ignorance — willful because, really, who wants to know too much about Snooki? She won't win, but won't be the first to go either. Maybe not a Top Fiver, but at least to the middle rounds?

Keyshawn Johnson: Normally I give former athletes high ranking but Keyshawn has been out for so long — eight years, I think — that he's more of a professional talker (ESPN). He should do OK.

Valerie Harper: Interesting, maybe the most interesting cast member because, really, how can one be in remission from a terminal form of brain cancer that doctors only mere months ago said would kill her by this point? After months of chemo, what sort of strength does she have left? Harper gets the sympathy vote — likely not the judges' one in the long run though.

Brant Daugherty from "Pretty Little Liars"  is the in-house ABC star and they almost always do well — if they are women. Daugherty is a complete unknown to most viewers of "DWTS" — who are not young and have never, ever, heard of "Pretty Little Liars." That said, he should be around for quite a while.

Christina Milian: Well, she has Mark Ballas, which is huge so even though voting fans have no idea who she is, or what songs she's sung, or what shows she's had cameos on, she should go very far. I've learned over the years that lack of star power can sometimes be a real advantage here. Not always, of course, but I like her chances.

Bill Nye: Could the Science Guy win "DWTS?" Seems like a wild stretch, but wilder stretchier things have happened. But I just don't see this as long term proposition.

Elizabeth Berkley: Former bombshells best known for their porn role in a porn flick — and not for their big break in "Saved by the Bell" — have never won this show, though are usually cast (former or current bombshells that is) to entertain the husbands in the viewing audience who are forced to watch with their spouses. Berkley is probably a very good hoofer; she should go reasonably far. Not a winner.  

Corbin Bleu: The former "High School Musical" star should do very well. I see him in the Top 3.

Amber Riley: Clearly "DWTS" sees Mercedes Jones  as someone who could win this — why give her Derek Hough as a dance partner if they did not? Maybe she can dance, maybe not, but by the end of this season, most viewers will agree — she can dance.

Bill Engvall: The comic has never won, and usually goes down pretty early.

Jack Osbourne: Well, his sister did well ...

Leah Remini: Why do I think Leah Remini could win "DWTS?" I have no idea — really, I have no idea. But I think she could. She has the personality to carry votes, and most voters know who she is, or fondly remember "King of Queens." At 43, she's the right age as far as voters go, if not as far as her legs go. Solid partner too — Tony Dovolani and a "DWTS" original.

So — my top three: Corbin Bleu; Leah Remini; Amber Riley, with maybe Milian and Daugherty sneaking in here ... And a friendly reminder — do not place bets on my picks. They are probably wrong ...

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