The "Dancing With the Stars" casting spoilers are few and far between for its upcoming 17th season, but one name that keeps popping up is former Food Network star Paula Deen.
While the celeb chef has made her feelings on competing on the show known (in an interview with Extra, Deen once said she turned down an offer to appear on "DWTS" due to her "catfish arms" and "muffin top") that was before the racial slur scandal that sent her empire toppling.
Now, the "Dancing with the Stars" pros are talking about their feelings on the possibility of a dancing Deen.
During a recent a recent appearance on "Live With Kelly and Michael," Paula Deen appeared as a guest alongside four-time "DWTS" champ Derek Hough. The segment featured heavy flirting (the TV chef referred to Hough as "precious" and "that little dancer guy") and the suggestion from Hough that Deen should come on the dancing competition so "they could show her a little something." Hmm…is that a volunteer to partner with her?
Cheryl Burke told Entertainment Tonight Canada she thinks the 66-year-old foodie would be a great addition to the "DWTS" dance card. "I think it would be great," the two-time mirrorball winner said. "I think you would probably see a different side of her, and I think she would be a great addition to the cast. Right now, lots of controversial things are happening around her and her situation, and I think coming on something light and fun would be good for her."
Of course, that's easy for Burke to say. After all, she wouldn't be a partnered with the controversial contestant.
Because no matter what happens, longtime "DWTS" pro Mark Ballas says the show's professional dancers have no say on whether or not they want to partner with Deen -- or anybody, for that matter. Ballas told TMZ, "The thing is, whether they had a problem or not we don't have a say or the prerogative to have a problem. For us that's our job…and you get paid to do it and you just do it."
When asked if he could protest a pairing with a controversial contestant like Deen, Ballas said he "can't put up a fight" if he is placed with her.
But if she's tapped for the show, the "Paula's Home Cooking" star may have a willing partner regardless. After Deen's diabetes diagnosis but before her recent scandal, Louis Van Amstel told HLN's Showbiz Tonight he'd be happy to dance with her. "If Paula Deen goes on 'Dancing with the Stars,' I would love to have her as my partner and she is going to become an inspiration! How about it?" he said.
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