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New ‘Dancing with the Stars’ lineup has twelve great contestants and another guy

The latest contestant on "Dancing with the Stars" is Tommy Chong. Guess Cheech wasn't available.
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Spike TV

One of the most popular and entertaining television programs to brighten up Monday nights has been “Dancing with the Stars.” The caliber of the host, Tom Bergeron, the truly fun and helpful judges, Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli, add so much to the program. On Sept. 4, 2014, the Hollywood Reporter announced the ABC lineup for Season 19, which will include NASCAR pro, Michael Waltrip, soap opera superhunk Antonio Sabato, Jr., popular actress Lea Thompson, and gentlemen author and talk-show host, Tavis Smiley. That’s some of the good news.

Then, viewers will enjoy creative designer Betsey Johnson, teen YouTube star Bethany Mota, Olympic favorite Lolo Jones, martial arts pro Randy Couture, and “Mean Girls” actor Jonathan Bennett, along with “Pretty Little Liars” actress, Janel Parrish, more good news. Then there’s a young lady, Sadie Robertson, of the “Duck Dynasty” family as the youngest star of the season. And then there’s Maude.

Or Tommy Chong, that is, entertainer resume (?) that he brings to the show. That the less talented half of the 70s “Cheech & Chong” duo is one of the “stars” chosen to participate in this season’s competition has just lowered the limbo bar to an all-new “how low can you go?” Everyone loves the acting of Richard Anthony “Cheech” Marin, who has been a voice talent in addition to popular television actor. For five seasons he was Inspector Joe Dominguez in “Nash Bridges” with Don Johnson. He appeared in 20 episodes of “Judging Amy” and even played the voice of Buck the dog in “Married with Children.”

Chong, aside from all the Lou Adler produced “Cheech & Chong” movies, has had a handful of talent-stretching roles. He did play the Squirrel Master in “Half Baked.” There’s that. Plus he played Leo, the photo shop owner, in “That 70s Show.” Plus the challenging break from character in portraying Ganja Pete on “The Millers”; well, no, that’s not a stretch. Who picked Tommy Chong? Was it Sr. Mary Elephant? Heavens to poor Peta Murgatroyd, his professional dancing partner.

The new couples to dance going for the gold, or mirror ball, include:

Randy Couture and Karina Smirnoff
Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater
Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy
Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas
Antonio Sabato, Jr. and Cheryl Burke
Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson
Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd
Jonathan Bennett and Allison Holker
Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev
Tavis Smiley and Sharna Burgess
Lolo Jones and Keo Motsepe
Bethany Mota and Derek Hough
Betsey Johnson and Tony Dovolani

Alfonso Ribeiro is a fantastic dancer, and Lolo Jones and Tavis Smiley should do well. Double-clutch Waltrip has coordination so he should hang in there many weeks, and Derek Hough plus anyone usually will see the finals.

Allison Holker, Artem Chigvintsev and Keoikantse Motsepe are adding their dancing talents paired with the celebrities this season. New participants, celebrity and pro encourage people to return to the program, keeping things fresh, and getting back in the mood for some fantastic fox trots, some quick steps, and some tremendous tangos.

Set your DVRs to watch the premiere of "Dancing with the Stars" on Monday, Sept. 15 at 7 pm (CST) on your local ABC stations.

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