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 / Comedians & Goofballs / Reality Stars / Wild Cards / Nostalgic Icons / Physically Challenged / Beautiful People / People We Hate / Quirky C-Listers / Disney Stars

Pop Stars is a data-dense category. Other than Elite Athletes, Pop Stars have 1) been represented most often (Fifteen out of 16 seasons) and 2) performed better than almost any other category out there with three Mirrorball winners, second only to the Elite Athletes’ seven. But lots of data means lots of noise, so let’s dig in and find the signal! Here’s the complete list of people I’ve classified as Pop Stars that have previously appeared on DWTS:[ref]As always, my classifications are capricious, subjective and sometimes terribly, terribly wrong.[/ref]

Pop Star Table

And here’s the breakdown:

32%     Boy band / Girl band[ref]Sherzinger, Fatone, Mel B, McIntyre, Bass, Carter[/ref]
23%     R&B[ref]Mya, Mario, Braxton, Gray, Brandy[/ref]
14%     Rap[ref]Master P, Romeo, Lil Kim[/ref]
14%     Country[ref]Judd, Wicks, Evans[/ref]
9%       Nostalgic Choice[ref]Carlisle, Bolton[/ref]
9%       Wild Card[ref]Ford, DeGraw[/ref]


This category is clearly dominated by Boy Banders and Girl Banders, followed fairly closely by R&B artists. This explains to a great degree why this category does so well on the show–they’re competent dancers because of their day jobs. Some people call that “ringer” action, but let’s face it. In order for the show to work it has to boil down to at least three damn good dancers. The same way that DWTS casts Comedians & Goofballs expecting to throw them under the bus? They cast Pop Stars expecting them to carry the load.

Some specific commonalities:

  • Over half of the Pop Stars on the show have come from either the R&B or Boy Band arenas.
  • All of the R&B artists have been African American and all but one have been women.

The Choices that Make the Most Sense Predictive Criteria Wise: Nick Lachey,[ref]closing the loop on an exotic “brothers” connection with Drew Lachey[/ref] any N*Sync-er, NKOTB-er, Backstreet Boy, or Boys II Men boy/man that has yet to accept the invitation they have inevitably received.

The White Whales: Harry Styles, Robin Thicke

Note: Stevie Wonder appeared as a guest on DWTS last year and joked that he couldn’t wait to get out on the dance floor himself. He may just show up again in the “Physically Challenged” category. THAT would be a White Whale, my friends. A blind White Whale.

The Be-Careful-What-You-Wish-For Whale: R. Kelly

The Blue Whales: Hunter Hayes, Jessie J, Miguel, Ashanti, Miranda Lambert, Bruno Mars, either of the guys from LMFAO, Michael Buble, Lionel Richie, Reba McIntyre

The Sterotypical Ready-for-Reality TV Choices: Psy, Carly Rae Jepsen

The Courageous Choice I Bet They Wouldn’t Regret: Frank Ocean, Bjork

The Plan B/Deep Cuts: a Hanson Brother