Though she adores the show, the 64-year old Romney cited her age and a lack of "flexibility" as the primary reasons behind her decision to decline ABC's invitation to compete during season 16 of the hit reality dance competition.
As a prominent and decidedly controversial political figure, Romney would've served as both a polarizing force and a likely ratings booster had she opted to participate. She would have followed in the recent footsteps of teen activist and fellow Republican Bristol Palin, who took part in the Fall 2012 All-Star season with pro Mark Ballas after finishing an impressive third at the close of season 11.
Whether the conservative Romney would have sparked the same level of ire as Palin did among some liberal viewers is unknown. One man was so enraged by Palin's 2010 presence on the show that he fired a gun at his television screen, prompting a stand-off with police.
Without Romney, the incoming cast of "DWTS" celebrities is a mild one, compromised of a slate of athletes and entertainers who seem unlikely to inspire much controversy. The most potentially polarizing figure is "Real Housewives" star Lisa Vanderpump, whose planned participation alongside new pro Gleb Savchenko drew support from fellow reality stars Brandi Glanville and Kyle Richards.
"Dancing with the Stars" 2013 premieres March 18 on ABC.