Each season, Kat Gotsick undertakes the world’s dumbest statistical analysis in order to predict who the producers of “Dancing with the Stars” might cast. Based on that analysis, the producers choose all their contestants from 11 different categories in seven different tiers of priority. Check her predictions in the other categories for Season 17: Elite Athletes / Pop Stars / Comedians & Goofballs / Reality Stars / Wild Cards / Nostalgic Icons / Physically Challenged / Beautiful People  / Quirky C-Listers / People We Hate

Like with last season’s cast predictions, the Disney Star category is the one that I’m hardest pressed to predict. I’m STILL a childless, middle 40s-ish woman who STILL  frequents Wrigleyville bars. I have no core Disney knowledge other than the most mainstream, which, with the the progression of Miley Cyrus into a decidedly un-Disney-fied, pole dancer-ish, raunchy twerking unicorn, is at an all time low. Add to that that last season’s Disney Star, Zendaya, completely dismantled the small-ish predictive criteria I had been able to cobble together and I am truly at sea. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Here’s the complete list of Disney Stars that have previously appeared on DWTS:

Disney table


They are an “every other year” proposition. So far anyway. There’s a lot of rumors about attempting to “age down the show’s demographics” by grabbing a “younger, sexier cast.” So we might see another one sooner rather than later.

Proximity to a big name is a big deal. Well, it was before Zendaya. Wikipedia tells me these Disney Stars have appeared in the following: “High School Musical” (Coleman), that Jonas Brothers sitcom (Kane), “Cheetah Girls” (Bryan), “Hannah Montana” (Linley), “That’s So Raven,” (Massey) and the Jonas TV movie juggernaut “Camp Rock” (Fegan). It seems the main criterion for a Disney Star to appear on DWTS is that they have to very close to the mainstream Disney Stars without actually being a mainstream Disney Star. The closer you can get to the big dogs, the better your chance to dance with stars. As I mentioned above, Zendaya’s selection threw that criteria out the door. Before Season 16, no one ever heard of Zendaya who wasn’t a tween.

These kids can dance! Percentage wise, this category KILLS in terms of talent. Three of the seven stars in this category, a full 42 percent, have been finalists on their season, challenging Elite Athletes in that stat category and outmatching Pop Stars outright. Sabrina Bryan is infamous in DWTS lore, having been eliminated way too early on both Season 5 and All Star Season 15, causing shockwaves through the Mirrorball-a-verse. Additionally, DWTS painfully jumped the shark last year when it became an issue that Zendaya was a way better hip hop dancer than her pro partner and brought in her own choreographer for the semi-finals. But a Disney Star has never taken home a Mirrorball. Until soon. You see . . .

Twitter and Facebook voting changes everything. Last year–the first year that Twitter and Facebook voting became a thing–Zendaya dominated every single Twitter challenge. Who should be prom queen? #Zendaya. Who should get the encore dance? #Zendaya. Vote for what dance you want to see the semi-finalists do! #HipHopZendaya. Right up until the final Twitter vote last year, (which gave Kellie Pickler the encore dance in the finals) Zendaya won 100 percent of the Twitter activity.


The Buzz: There’s a lot of Internet buzz about Ross Lynch, who is both a Disney Star (“Austin & Ally”) and a cousin to the Hough siblings, Derek and Julianne. That may or may not work in his favor.

The Choices that Make the Most Sense Predictive Criteria Wise: I sincerely have absolutely NO IDEA anymore (not that I had any idea before).

The White Whale: Zac Efron

The Blue Whales: Any Jonas except Frankie, Selena Gomez, Brenda Song, Ally (turns out her name is Laura Marano)

The Be-Careful-What-You-Wish-For Whales:  Miley Cyrus

The Sterotypical Ready-for-Reality TV Choices:  Raven Symone, Corbin Bleu

The Courageous Choice I Bet They Wouldn’t Regret:  No courage required in this category.  Everyone’s a winner.

The Deep Cuts: Again. Totally lost.  However, like last season, I looked at this list of Disney Stars and I am still most hopeful that they cast Larramie Doc Shaw from “The Oogli Stick.”  Not only  is his name Larramie Doc Shaw and his TV show called “The Oogli Stick,” but he, Larramie, is the only child of Larry and Tamie Shaw. His parents are either delightful or insufferable, and I wish to meet them.