When he and two buddies subdued a gunman on a Paris train less than three weeks ago, the very furthest thing from the mind of Oregon national Guardsman Alek Skarlatos — but clearly not on his mind at all — was the kind of newspaper celebrity that led to the kind of instant low-grade celebrity that leads to …. season 21 of “Dancing with the Stars.”
But there he’ll be.
After wrestling a suspected terrorist on a train from Amsterdam to Paris, he’ll be trying to do a passable cha cha for Bruno Tonioli and others for the long running ABC reality show, with a professional dancer named Lindsay Arnold.
Such is the definition of celebrity needed for “Dancing with the Stars,” where more often stars go as a last ditch effort to boost careers, or young performers go to get fans from older viewers.
The odd thing is that Skarlatos isn’t the oddest choice for the season that begins Sept. 14.
It includes spacey actor Gary Busey, controversial chef Paula Deen, soul icon Chaka Khan and “Crocodile Hunter” heiress Bindi Irwin. Stars of reality shows are on as well, from “Real Housewife” Kim Zolciak Biermann to Tamar Braxton. Former boy band member Nick Carter will be part of it as will Carlos PenaVega of the band Big Time Rush and his wife, actress Alexa PenaVega.
Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza will take part as will singer Andy Grammer. And there’s a guy from social media, Hayes Grier.
Some of these people are not famous as the show’s judges, which also include Carrie Ann Inaba and Julianne Hough, who will be returning. One who will not be returning is Len Goodman.