Ralph Macchio will be on the 12th season of "Dancing with the Stars." Big news? For Twitter fans, definitely. He was out-trending everyone -- including Sugar Ray Leonard --last night. Tomorrow's wrap on the jump, followed by the ABC news release . . .
Sorry, "Dancing with the Stars" fans: No new Bristol. No controversy. No major surprises. It looks like the 12th season -- bowing March 21 -- will take a breather after last season's Bristolpalinpalooza. But for Long Island viewers, there is a bonus. There are two contestants with Island connections.
Here's the full cast, with quick predictions:
-- Kirstie Alley: Rebecca Howe from "Cheers," but in recent years a plus-size star who's fought the pounds (on her own TV show as well.) Should be popular; long-shot to win.
-- Petra Nemcova: Model whose fiancé was killed in 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami; since founded the Happy Hearts fund. Not much name recognition, but that could instantly change; she is engaged again.
-- Chris Jericho: Major WWF and WWE star and would-be reality TV star. And hails from Manhasset. Reportedly matched with Cheryl Burke, who always confers an instant advantage to her partner.
-- Chelsea Kane: You may remember her as Chelsea Staub, but she changed her name recently. Kane's a Disney Channel star ("Jonas LA," currently voice in "Fish Hooks) so "DWTS" has reason to keep her around. Bright personality could score well.
-- Romeo: Interesting addition. Rapper and son of Master P -- Percy Miller -- was scheduled to appear in season 2, but dad did instead, creating a sublime spectacle of dancing awfulness. Romeo should do better.
-- Kendra Wilkinson: Former star of E!'s "The Girls Next Door," who lived in the Playboy mansion. This addition sounds ratings-gimmicky, no? Longest of shots unless Kendra has some secret dance moves.
-- Wendy Williams: Talk show star, who may know how to dance or may not; but plenty of name recognition. That should help through the early rounds.
-- Sugar Ray Leonard: Welterweight champ for many years; more recently chairman of Walk for a Cure, the juvenile diabetes research foundation. Should end up in top three, if not win.
-- Ralph Macchio: Huntington's own and the original "Karate Kid." Has the charm, the looks, and should have dance-floor durability.
-- Hines Ward: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver. Everyone in Pittsburgh will vote for him. "DWTS" loves athletes (winners of seasons 3,4,5,6,8). He could win this, too.
-- Mike Catherwood, radio host, and "Loveline" host. Unknown feet.
The release . . .
All 11 couples will dance for the first time on live national television on MONDAY, MARCH 21, with couples either performing the Foxtrot or the Cha Cha Cha. The couple with the lowest combined judges’ scores and public votes for their performance will be sent home the following week on the season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show,” TUESDAY, MARCH 29 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET). The 11 celebrities heading to the dance floor this season, as announced tonight by “Dancing with the Stars” hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke in a live press conference during “The Bachelor,” are as follows:
KIRSTIE ALLEY – Kirstie Alley has emerged as one of the great actresses of her generation, proving time and again that she is capable of great depth and range, as well as possessing comedic timing second to none. Kirstie’s work in television has earned her seven Golden Globe and eight Emmy nominations, winning one Golden Globe, two Emmys and three People’s Choice Awards. She co-wrote and starred in Showtime’s critically acclaimed comedy “Fat Actress,” and played the title character, as well as serving as executive producer, on the NBC sitcom “Veronica’s Closet.” In 1994 Kirstie showcased her dramatic range starring in the CBS TV movie “David’s Mother,” for which she won her second Emmy. In 1987 she joined the cast of the long-running hit NBC sitcom, “Cheers,” as the neurotic Rebecca Howe. Kirstie received critical accolades and won both an Emmy for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Comedy Series in 1991. She made her movie debut in 1982 in “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan,” in which she played beautiful Vulcan officer Lieutenant Saavik. In 1999 Kirstie starred in the dark comedy film “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” a cult-classic mockumentary that follows the contestants in a beauty pageant in Minnesota. She starred in Woody Allen’s “Deconstructing Harry,” and alongside John Travolta in the hit films “Look Who’s Talking,” “Look Who’s Talking Too” and “Look Who’s Talking Now.” Some of her other film credits include “Shoot to Kill,” “Summer School,” “For Richer or Poorer” and “Champions.” In 1995 Kirstie was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She served as the spokesperson for Pier One from 2000 to 2004, and Jenny Craig from 2005 to 2008. In 2010 Kirstie worked with experts in science, nutrition, and medicine to develop Organic Liaison, which includes Rescue Me, the first ever USDA certified organic weight-loss product.
“PSYCHO” MIKE CATHERWOOD -- Born and raised in Los Angeles, Michael Catherwood (aka Psycho Mike) has an eclectic background from the city that made him the person he is today. Michael is a mixed-race Hispanic who immersed himself in the Los Angeles punk and hard rock scene. He moved to the east coast to study theatre at Rutgers University, where he spent most his time enjoying the emerging Jersey punk scene. After finishing school, he returned to L.A. to become a member of the top-rated “Kevin & Bean Morning Show” on KROQ-FM. Known to listeners as “Psycho Mike,” he has developed many of the radio show’s most well-known and talked about characters and segments. His often controversial music has garnered him worldwide notice and acclaim. In addition to the “Kevin & Bean Morning Show,” Mike is the co-host of Loveline Radio (Westwood One) with Dr. Drew Pinsky, and has guest hosted on E! Entertainment’s “The Daily 10” and most recently on “Live with Regis & Kelly.” He has also done numerous successful voiceover and commercial campaigns for such clients as Major League Baseball, TNT, Discovery Channel and AT&T.
CHRIS JERICHO -- A six-time WWE world champion, two- time New York Times best-selling author, lead singer of the rock band Fozzy and host of the ABC game show “Downfall,” Chris Jericho began wrestling at age 19 and is one of the most popular performers in wrestling history. In 2001 Chris was the first ever Undisputed Champion of the WWE, and he is the only performer to have held six different titles in the 44-year history of World Wrestling Entertainment. He became a New York Times best-selling author in 2007 with his autobiography, A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex, and is currently on the list again with his follow-up, Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps, his second autobiography. Chris’ rock band, Fozzy, has sold a quarter of a million CDs worldwide.
CHELSEA KANE – Chelsea Kane (formerly Chelsea Staub) is a versatile young actress and musician. She currently stars in the web series “The Homes” on Lockerz.com. She is also the voice of Bea in Disney Channel’s animated comedy series, “Fish Hooks,” the imaginative story of three tween fish navigating high school. Chelsea recently starred as Stella Malone, the longtime friend and style guru to the Lucas brothers in the Disney Channel comedy series, “Jonas.” The Phoenix, Ariz., native has been acting professionally since the age of nine. She landed her first role as Young Kim in the national Broadway tour of “Showboat,” and went on to star in the productions “Peter Pan,” “The Wiz,” “Cinderella,” “Oliver,” “Annie,” “Titanic,” “The Sound of Music,” “Schoolhouse Rock,” “A Christmas Carol” and “The Secret Garden,” among others. Chelsea starred in the Disney Channel Original Movies “Minutemen” and “Starstruck,” and guest-starred on Disney Channel’s hit series “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Cracking Up,” “Summerland,” “Listen Up” and “The Bill Engvall Show.” On the big screen, she landed her first role in the family film “Arizona Summer,” and had a starring role in the motion picture “Bratz.” During her free time, Chelsea enjoys hitting the concert circuit with her Polaroid camera and her favorite musician friends.
SUGAR RAY LEONARD – Sugar Ray Leonard is one of the legendary sports icons of the 20th century whose very name epitomizes boxing and conjures the image of a champion. He was host and mentor for the first three seasons of the series “Contender” on NBC & ESPN, by Dreamworks Television and Mark Burnett Productions. Ray recently appeared in the Paramount Pictures feature film “The Fighter,” and served as a consultant on the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures film starring Hugh Jackman, “Real Steel,” being released in the fall. Ray will release his first autobiography (Viking Books) entitled "The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring" on June 7, 2011, developed with veteran author Michael Arkush. Having learned to box at age 14, Ray’s career includes three National Golden Gloves titles, two Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) championships and the 1975 Pan-American Games crown. After winning a gold medal in boxing at the 1976 Olympic Games, he turned professional to help his family deal with mounting medical bills incurred because of his father’s illness. The late Howard Cosell called Ray the “new Mohammed Ali.” In 1977, at age 20, he won his first professional fight, setting the stage for a collection of some of the most memorable fights in history. He went on to defeat some of the finest boxers of the modern era, including Wilfred Benitez, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler, from whom Ray won the world middleweight title. During his 20-year professional career, he also won world titles in the welterweight, junior middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, becoming the first boxer to win world titles in five different weight classes, a record that stands to this day. Ray has been a successful television broadcaster for NBC, ABC, HBO and ESPN, and has fostered commercial endorsement relationships with companies including EA Sports, Track Inc., Ford, Carnation, 7-Up, Nabisco, Coca-Cola, Revlon and numerous others. He is also among the most sought-after motivational/inspirational speakers in the world. His speech, entitled “POWER” (Prepare, Overcome, and Win Every Round), is consistently booked with major Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Ray has always been devoted to the community and for many years has been the international chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk for a Cure. He also participates in a variety of national and international causes benefiting children’s charities. Ray has four children and lives in Southern California with his wife, Bernadette.
RALPH MACCHIO – An actor, writer, director and producer, Ralph Macchio first gained world recognition for playing the title role in the popular classic “The Karate Kid” and its successors, “The Karate Kid II” and “The Karate Kid III.” His extensive list of film credits includes Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Outsiders” and the hit film “My Cousin Vinny.” Among his multiple television credits, Ralph had a two-season arc on ABC’s “Ugly Betty,” a comedic guest star lead on the series “Psych,” as well as a dramatic guest lead character on ABC’s drama, “The Whole Truth.” He was seen as a guest star on the hit series “Entourage,” as well as the comedy “Headcase.” Ralph recently appeared in a funnyordie.com viral video sensation, “Wax On, #### Off,” which has gathered rave reviews from critics and viewers since its release this past summer. On the New York stage, he made his Broadway debut starring opposite Robert DeNiro in the sold-out Joseph Papp production of “Cuba and His Teddy Bear” at the Longacre Theatre.
PETRA NEMCOVA – Born and raised in Karvina, in the Czech Republic, Petra Nemcova took the modeling world by storm after being discovered by a modeling scout on the streets of her native country. Petra has graced the pages and covers of magazines such as Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Shape, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. In 2004 she suffered a broken pelvis and severe internal injuries while on vacation in Thailand during the devastating Tsunami. After her recovery, Petra created the “Happy Hearts Fund” (www.happyheartsfund.org), a charitable organization and campaign dedicated to improving children’s lives through education and sustainable programs in natural disaster areas. Happy Hearts Fund, founded in 2006, has rebuilt 47 schools and kindergartens, with eight more on their way, and has presence in nine countries, including Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Sri Lanka, Haiti, India, Chile and Hurricane Katrina-affected areas of the United States. One-hundred percent of all donations received are directed to children’s programming.
ROMEO – Percy Romeo Miller Jr., better known by his stage name, Romeo, is an American entertainer, actor, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the son of businessman and music mogul Percy Miller. Romeo has sold over 10 million records as a multi-platinum music artist and has been awarded an American Music Award and a Grammy®. Named in 2010’s “Top 5 Sexiest Men in the World,” he is the youngest chief executive of the multi-million dollar record company No Limit Forever, and is the youngest entertainer to top the Billboard charts, at age 10. Romeo has dedicated his life to giving back to the community and helping at-risk youth with his foundation, Urban Born.org. His acting credits include his No. 1 television show, ”Romeo!,” on Nickelodeon, ”The Defenders” and “The Cape.” He starred in the movie ”Honey,” with Jessica Alba, and co-stars in the upcoming film ”Jumping the Broom,” with Angela Bassett. Not only an entertainer, Romeo is also studying business and film at the University of Southern California. As a freshman, he and his basketball team made USC history by winning their first Pac-10 championship. He understands the importance of education, so he remains a student at USC while he pursues his entertainment career and business. Romeo is also the founder and president of P. Miller and College Boyys clothing.
HINES WARD – A four-time Pro Bowler, three-time Super Bowl participant, two-time Super Bowl Champion and Super Bowl XL MVP, Hines Ward holds virtually every record in Steelers wide receiving history and will go down in the record books as the Steelers’ all-time leading wide receiver. He was given the honor of being named to the Steelers’ 75th Season All-Time Team, and this fall will be entering his 14th season with the Pittsburgh Steelers as the longest tenured wide receiver with the same team in the NFL. Considered by many the best blocking wide receiver to ever play the game, he is fresh off an outstanding performance in a close loss to the Green Bay Packers in this year’s Super Bowl a few weeks ago. Hines is a fierce competitor with a big smile and a big heart; Beyond his NFL career, he is a symbol of success and good will to the Korean community and all of Asia. His Helping Hands Foundation is devoted to the fight against bi-racial discrimination in the United States and Korea. The program in the U.S. focuses on improving literacy among children and provides programs and services to better equip them for achieving success in life. In Korea the program focuses on raising awareness for the problem of biracial discrimination and providing inspiration to the mixed race children in that country. Mr. Smile himself, Hines is an ambassador of hope to children everywhere.
KENDRA WILKINSON – Television personality and glamour girl Kendra Wilkinson is best known from her self-titled E! hit reality series, “Kendra.” Just wrapping its third season, the show follows Kendra, NFL player husband Hank and son Hank IV through their crazy lives. Portraying life in the spotlight and the challenges of raising a toddler son and being an NFL wife, the show is a fun-filled, action-packed look into the real world of Kendra Wilkinson. She got her start on one of E! Entertainment’s highest rated television shows, “The Girls Next Door,” co-starring on the reality hit for five seasons, until 2009, when she closed that chapter in her life and opened a new one. That year Kendra got married, welcomed the birth of her son and, of course, debuted her show, “Kendra.” At 25, she is a self-described tomboy and avid sports fan who loves watching boxing and rooting for her favorite football team, the San Diego Chargers. Since the debut of “The Girls Next Door,” Kendra has appeared on the cover of numerous magazines and has enjoyed television and movie appearances. In 2007 she was part of the cast of MTV’s reality series “Celebrity Rap Superstar,” where she proved to be an audience favorite, finishing in 2nd place in the competition. In August 2008, Kendra was featured in the movie “The House Bunny,” along with “The Girls Next Door” co-stars Holly Madison, Bridget Marquette and Hugh Hefner, and in January 2009 she was featured on the CBS hit series “How I Met Your Mother.”
WENDY WILLIAMS – Called a “breakthrough in daytime” by The New York Times, Wendy Williams burst onto the national talk show scene in July 2009 with the launch of her daily, syndicated program, “The Wendy Williams Show.” Touted by People Magazine as one of the “best shows of 2009,” the critically-acclaimed series now has the distinction of being “must-see TV.” A mother, wife and best-selling author, Wendy built a devoted cult following from her years as one of radio’s most popular personalities. In addition to her daytime television success, she will host GSN’s new original series, “Love Triangle,” slated to premiere April 2011. Wendy was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame (only the second African-American woman to be honored by the organization) in November 2009. She is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, "Wendy’s Got the Heat" and "The Wendy Williams Experience."