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Breaking: Alaska writer liberated from 'Dancing With the Stars' duty

Maia Nolan-Partnow

Dear readers,

It is with no small amount of relief that I write these words: There will be no Alaskans on the new season of "Dancing With the Stars."

Last year, when ABC announced that Wasilla's Bristol Palin would compete for the "coveted" Mirror Ball Trophy, I casually (and naively) volunteered to follow young Ms. Palin's progress on the reality show. I assumed I would spend a couple of weeks watching B-list celebrities tackling the tango before our girl B was sent home and I would have my Monday nights back. At the time, I was unprepared for two things:

1. With the help of a motivated (and controversial) voting bloc, Bristol went all the way.

2. "Dancing With the Stars" doesn't air on Mondays. It airs on Mondays AND Tuesdays. For two hours at a time.

I don't regret a moment of the time I spent tracking Team Ballin's progress on the show. It was fun for me, it was fun for you, and it looked like it was fun for them. But a four-hour-a-week commitment (just for the watching; forget about the extra hours of writing) isn't something a girl should undertake when she's also trying to plan a wedding and, you know, have a life. I was relieved to have my weeknights back to myself.

And then I started hearing the rumors: That ABC really, really wanted Todd Palin to do "DWTS." And that made me nervous. Between "Dancing" and "Sarah Palin's Alaska," I was starting to establish a dangerous precedent of recapping any and all Palin-related reality TV. In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say. I didn't see any way to get out of recapping the First Dude's dancing adventures. 

So it was with trepidation that I followed Monday night's announcement of the cast for the new season of "Dancing," which premieres March 21. And while I will admit to eventually learning to enjoy "DWTS" (wine helps a lot), I can't tell you how very, very happy I was to see the last competitor's name appear without having seen any boldface names from the Last Frontier.

In case you're curious, here's who WILL be dancing:

Chelsea Kane -- Some sort of Disney star (a la Kyle Massey, the onetime object of my disdain who eventually redeemed himself).
Petra Nemcova -- Tsunami-surviving supermodel.
Ralph Macchio -- The Karate Kid. I guarantee you he will incorporate The Crane before the season is over. 
Romeo -- The artist formerly known as Lil' Romeo.
Sugar Ray Leonard -- Boxing legend, filling the "world-class athlete dances awkwardly" plot requirement on which "DWTS" seems to thrive.
Wendy Williams -- Talk show personality. (I had to look that one up.)
Mike Catherwood -- I honestly have no idea who this is; apparently, his job title is "Psycho Mike."
Kirstie Alley -- Star of "Cheers," "Look Who's Talking," and a reality TV show about herself called "Fat Actress."
Chris Jericho -- A professional wrestler who, according to Wikipedia, goes by the name "The White Liger."
Kendra Wilkinson -- Football wife, lover of Olive Garden, and former girlfriend of Hugh Hefner.
Hines Ward -- Ditto Sugar Ray Leonard but with football instead of boxing. 

If anyone at ABC is reading, I'd just like to say thank you. Really -- really, thank you. My dog thanks you. My fiance thanks you. My liver thanks you. Have a great season. And if you're looking for another political family member to dance the season after this one, I hear Meghan McCain's available.

Contact Maia Nolan at maia(at)alaskadispatch.com.