Entering its 13th season this fall, the reality TV show has gained record-breaking viewers in recent years, with season 12 peaking at 22.5 million viewers (up four percent from season 11), reports the L.A. Times.
Premiering on Sept. 19, the cast may be the show's most eclectic group yet, with its first ever openly transgender contestant, George Clooney's ex and a loudmouthed HLN host leading the way.
Here's a look at the 2011 cast of Dancing with the Stars (in no particular order):
Chaz Bono: Formerly Chastity Bono, the 42-year-old is the only child of Sonny Bono and Cher. In May 2010, Chaz Bono legally changed his gender and name, following a two-year physical and social transition from female to male. The documentary, Becoming Chaz, premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, earning Bono three Emmy nominations.
Ricki Lake: While Ricki Lake ran for eleven seasons, the show's host chose family over work when the series wrapped in 2004. Ricki Lake has been out of the spotlight in recent years, only appearing on the occasional television show (King of the Hill, Drop Dead Diva) and the 2007 remake of Hairspray (she played the original Tracy Turnblad in 1988). The 42-year-old is set to return to her talk show host duties in 2012, thanks to a recent deal with Twentieth Television. On Aug. 11, Lake used Twitter to announce her engagement to fiancé, Christian Evans.
Kristin Cavallari: Gone are the days of Laguna Beach and her feud with fellow reality TV star Lauren Conrad. Kristin Cavallari has starred in a number of forgettable films, including 2009's National Lampoon's Van Wilder: Freshman Year. In July 2011, the 24-year-old Colorado native made headlines when her then-fiancé, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, called off their engagement. Cavallari was left to deal with embarrassing photos of her posing in various wedding gowns in a magazine that had already been published.
Elisabetta Canalis: The gorgeous Italian model is perhaps most famous for her two-year relationship with Hollywood heavyweight George Clooney. In her pre-Clooney days, Elisabetta Canalis, 32, co-hosted the Italian version of Total Request Live and appeared in films including Virgin Territory with Hayden Christensen and Tim Roth. Canalis studied foreign languages at Università Statale in Milan.
Ron Artest: Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest is also a rapper. Yes, a rapper. The 31-year-old Queens, NY native released an album called My World in 2006, followed by a mix tape called Ball'n in 2011. In July 2009, Artest signed a five-year, $33 million deal with the L.A. Lakers, after one season with the Houston Rockets. The outspoken player was involved in a 2004 brawl with the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and their fans, when Artest (then a member of the Pacers), entered the crowd after a drink was thrown at him from the stands.
Rob Kardashian: The baby brother of Kourtney, Kim and Khloé, Rob Kardashian has been on the E! reality TV show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians since 2007. Rob, 24, was named after his biological father, Robert George Kardashian, who died in 2003. The younger Kardashian is also a model. He recently posed alongside Glee stars Mark Sailing and Chord Overstreet in a fashion spread for the outdoor apparel brand Op.
Chynna Phillips: One-third of Wilson Phillips, Chynna Phillips first rose to fame in the '90s, thanks to the group's hit Hold On. Their debut album, Wilson Phillips sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, earning the girl group four Grammy Award nominations. Phillips left the group in 1992 following the release of their sophomore album, Shadows and Light. She went on to appear in a handful of made-for-television films, including 1995's Bye Bye Birdie. Phillips, now 43, has been married to William Baldwin for more than 15 years. They have three children.
Nancy Grace: The always entertaining and outspoken Georgia native has been the host of HLN'S Nancy Grace since 2005. Grace, 51, was also a prosecutor for nearly ten years, before she was approached by Court TV. In her colorful career so far, Grace has covered the 2006 Duke University lacrosse case, the suicide of Melinda Duckett and the death of Caylee Anthony.
David Arquette: The 39-year-old actor was married to Friends star Courtney Cox for more than a decade, before the couple announced their separation in 2010. David Arquette has starred in more than 40 films, including the Scream series. The actor has also dipped into side projects including World Championship Wrestling (2000) and a clothing line with musician Ben Harper. Arquette most recently appeared in 2011's Scream 4, reprising his role as Sheriff Dwight Dewey Riley.
J.R. Martinez: In 2003, while serving in Iraq, J.R. Martinez received severe burns to more than 40 percent of his body. Now 28, Martinez is a motivational speaker when he's not acting on the ABC soap opera All My Children, which he has been on since 2008. On the show, the Louisiana native plays Brot Monroe, a member of the U.S. Army who was injured in combat, much like Martinez's real life story.
Carson Kressley: Formerly a member of the Fab Five from the hit Bravo reality TV show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Carson Kressley has since appeared on a number of projects, including How to Look Good Naked on Lifetime, Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants and True Beauty. In 2008, Kressley worked as the Masters of Ceremonies on Cyndi Lauper's True Colors tour. The actor, fashion designer and author is currently the host of Carson Nation on Oprah Winfrey's network, OWN.
Hope Solo: The only other athlete of the cast, Hope Solo hails from the competitive world of women's professional soccer. The 30-year-old goalkeeper currently plays for the Boca Raton-based magicJack team, which includes the likes of Marian Dalmy, Christie Rampone and Tina Ellerston. In July, Solo and the U.S. women's soccer team lost 3-1 in a heartbreaking penalty shootout to Japan in the FIFA World Cup tournament.