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Twelve stars have been tapped to compete in the new season of “Dancing With the Stars,” which begins tonight on ABC. The batch includes athletes, comedians and reality-TV stars, but who is the favorite to win the Mirror Ball trophy?

Try Olympic gold medal winner Aly Raisman, one of the members of the U.S. “Fierce Five” gymnastics team at last summer’s London Olympics. Las Vegas oddsmaker Johnny Avello pegs Raisman to be the early front-runner, giving her odds of 5 to 1 to win.

“She’s just 115 pounds of energy. And if she follows someone like Shawn Johnson. Who knows, maybe she can win it all.” Avello told ABC News radio. “Now, it is early, but I think she’ll be a contender.”

It’s a flattering comparison for Raisman: Johnson, a gymnast herself, is a former “Dancing With the Stars” champion.

On the other hand, Avello believes comedian Andy Dick and the star of Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules,” Lisa Vanderpump, are the most likely celebrities to be bounced early from the competition. Fortunately for them, the first results show doesn’t take place until Tuesday, March 26.

Annie Barrett, a longtime “Dancing With the Stars” recapper for Entertainment Weekly, said Raisman is the contestant to beat, and that Dick will be on a short leash with viewers.

“I really don’t think many ‘Dancing With the Stars’ fans will want to see Andy Dick week after week. I really don’t,” she told ABC News Radio. “I think he’s pretty offensive. He’s been through a lot of recent troubles, and I just wouldn’t want it to become a freak show starring Andy Dick.”

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Dancing With The Stars’ Season 16: Who’s The Star To Beat?  was originally published on

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