Be brutally honest, Johnny Weir.
Weir will be one of the judges on ABC’s Skating with the Stars, which premieres tomorrow night at 9 p.m. Eastern.
ABC announced its celebrities lineup a few weeks ago during the 200th episode celebration of Dancing with the Stars, including Motley Crue’s Vince Neil, Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley, and Real Housewife Bethenny Frankel. It likely proved difficult to find suitable candidates for the ice version of Dancing with the Stars, considering it takes weeks and months to even get comfortable with crossovers and single jumps – and that’s provided that the rookies are adventurous.
The pros, however, include even more obscure names (even to a skating fan). Those tuning in hoping for a Kristi Yamaguchi or a Michelle Kwan will likely be surprised. And that’s besides the fact that Yamaguchi doesn’t do much skating these days and the Kwan was never a pairs skater. But that’s not to say that it’s not a group of strong skaters – there are three U.S. champs in the mix, Keauna McLaughlin, Denis Petukhov, and Brooke Castile.
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The skating reality show has yet to take off in the States as it has in Great Britain, where Dancing On Ice has been wildly successful, partially a testament to what Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean had done for figure skating in the 80s. Fox’s short-lived Skating with Celebrities (what an awful name) attempted to ride the wave of the Torino Olympics but was not renewed after the first season.
In an era when American ladies’ figure skating hasn’t quite captured the American public’s attention like it used to, Johnny Weir is easily one of the sport’s most recognizable figures. ABC has made a wise choice in putting Weir on the panel, which will also include two-time Olympic champion Dick Button. Olympic silver medalist Tanith Belbin is expanding her television cred as one of the hosts of the show.
With Button and Weir handing out the scores (with third judge being dancer/choreographer Laurie Ann Gibson), ABC is looking to put together a likeable yet knowledgeable panel – complete with three-name female judge – ala the one on DWTS. Basically, Button is to Len Goodman as Weir is to Bruno Tonioli, though I can’t imagine Weir gyrating his pelvis in front of Button like Tonioli has done to Goodman in seasons recent.
Or can I?
Skating with the Stars lineup
– Real Housewives of New York City Bethenny Frankel and Ethan Burgess
– Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil and Jennifer Wester
– All My Children actress Rebecca Budig and Fred Palascak
– Disney star Brandon Mychal Smith and Keauna McLaughlin
– Blade Runner Actress Sean Young and Denis Petukhov
– Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley and Brooke Castile
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