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 other categories for this season: Elite Athletes / Pop Stars / Comedians & Goofballs / Reality Stars / Nostalgic Icons / Physically Challenged / People We Hate / Beautiful People / Quirky C-Listers / Disney Stars

The Wild Card category: The King of Categories.

Wild Cards have appeared on 10 of the 15 non-All Star seasons, a full two thirds. I must admit, if I’m a producer, I LOVE THIS CATEGORY. How far abreast can my imagination fly? In any direction I look, I see possibilities. Look how many delightful and tangentially famous people might be able to dance!

Here’s the complete list of people I’ve classified as Wild Cards that have previously appeared on “Dancing with the Stars”:

Wild Card Table

So what do we know from analyzing the Wild Card data? 

There’s only one tiny bit of commonality to be seen here and that’s the recurrence of “host” as a Wild Card. I get it.  Hosts are generally good looking, generally cooperative, generally good personality, probably good TV. I also believe that sometimes the producers are probably forced to choose wild cards because sometimes they just need to fill their slate. Looking back, these are likely some of their favorite choices ever and some of their most milquetoast choices ever.

Other than the Host Brigade, it seems as if every Wild Card they’ve chosen is in an effort to check off another box, to parade some new, exciting and exotic element that their viewers have never seen before.  I am actually really hoping to see a non-“Host” Wild Card this year. The non-hosts are super fun.


The Choices that Make the Most Sense Predictive Criteria Wise: Anderson Cooper, Kathie Lee Gifford, and / or Hoda Kotb

The White Whales: Katie Couric, Martha Stewart

The Blue Whales: Vera Wang, Aaron Sorkin, Brian Williams, Andrew Mason (ex-Groupon CEO), Tory Burch, Tony Kornheiser, Kay Cannon, Conan O’Brien

The Be-Careful-What-You-Wish-For White Whale: Richard Branson

The Sterotypical Ready-for-Reality TV Choices: Meghan McCain, Gerard Depardieu

The Courageous Choice I Bet They Wouldn’t Regret: Michael Moore, Dan Harmon

The Deep Cuts:  Steve Harvey, Tyra Banks