DANCING WITH WHAT STARS: With the latest season of Dancing With The Stars recently finished, it’s about time for the annual DWTS ritual of speculating just who might deign to appear on the next season of the show. Last fall, after season three ended, speculation was rife that Fergie, aka Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess Of Windsor, was a virtual lock to appear on season four; instead we got Heather Mills.


Season five prospects have been rumoured to include former Spice Girl Melanie "Scary Spice" Brown, boxer Oscar de la Hoya and Beverly Hills 90210 alumnae Tori Spelling and Jenny Garth, but Time magazine upped the ante last week with next season’s biggest rumour. In an interview with the newsmagazine, none other than Al Pacino answered a question from a reader in Minneapolis wondering if the actor, who tangoed memorably with Gabrielle Anwar in 1992’s Scent Of A Woman, would appear on the show.


“Actually, I would consider it,” Pacino responded. “All due respect and trying to be as modest as I can be, I am a dancer. But I don't think I would be on Dancing with the Stars mainly because I would be too shy.” That, and Pacino’s agent would be reduced to a smoking hulk if his client ever seriously considered appearing on the c-list spectacle – his career might have survived Dick Tracy and S1m0ne, but not this.


Last week, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest told the Globe & Mail that, as far as he was concerned, blame for the drop in ratings during the last season of American Idol could be placed at the feet of one person. “Well, the knee-jerk reaction would be Simon,” he said, adding that “Clearly there’s an over saturation of his character.”


So it wasn’t the awful production numbers, the dismal song choices, the mawkish charity “event” in the middle of the season, the increasingly obvious sense of manipulation, and the confounding voting procedures that relentlessly squeezed out the three most talented singers at regular intervals in favour of a pair of unremarkable mediocrities? No – let’s blame the only judge who – at least until the final episodes, when he’s obliged to make nice with the twee beneficiaries of the show’s demoralizing machinery – actually manages to seem critical. Glad we cleared that up.

In related Simon news, there’s a clip making the rounds at YouTube from Britain’s Got Talent, a UK copy that reverses the usual reality TV trend by modeling itself after the American reality/variety talent show. Paul Potts, a lumpish mobile phone salesman from Cardiff, haltingly makes his way to the microphone and says he’s going to sing opera, a prospect that Cowell and fellow judges Piers Morgan and actress Amanda Holden regard with resigned trepidation. He opens his mouth and comes out with a stunning version of the aria Nessun Dorma that reduces the judges to tears and stunned stares and makes the audience go wild. It’s the sort of thing that this sort of show can usually only dream of capturing and, frankly, I’m still doubting that it actually happened.