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Can 'Bachelor' reject (and ex-NFL cheerleader) help 'Dancing With the Stars' finally win choreography Emmy?

March 9, 2009 |  4:07 pm

"Dancing With the Stars" returns tonight with two last-minute replacements in the lineup. Out of the running are singer Jewel and "Access Hollywood" host Nancy O'Dell, both sidelined with injuries. The first new addition — former pinup Holly Madison ("The Girls Next Door") — has certain obvious attributes that will appeal to certain viewers. However, it is the other substitution — "The Bachelor"-jilted Melissa Rycroft — who could be the lucky 13th contestant for the show.

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You see, Melissa Rycroft has a hidden talent that could become the key to this dancefest finally winning the one Emmy Award you'd think would be its almost automatically — choreography. Before we got to know this charmer as one of the women vying for Jason Mesnick's attentions on "The Bachelor," Rycroft performed with the renowned Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.

Melissa Rycroft and Holly Madison join singers (Belinda Carlisle, Lil' Kim and Chuck Wicks), athletes (gymnast Shawn Johnson, rodeo rider Ty Murray and ex-NFLer Lawrence Taylor), and actors (David Alan Grier, Gilles Marini and Denise Richards) as well as oddball Steve-O and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Surprising as it seems, this celebrity dance-off has lost the choreography Emmy three years running. In 2006, "Dancing with the Stars" had three noms in the category but lost to "High School Musical." In 2007, there was a three-way tie as "So You Think You Can Dance" took two Emmys and "Tony Bennett: An American Classic" also won, leaving "Dancing With the Stars" the sole loser. Last year, "So You Think You Can Dance" repeated, albeit with just one win.

Over those first three years of Emmy eligibility, "Dancing with the Stars" has managed only four technical wins from its 23 nominations. Besides that embarrassing shutout in the choreography category, the show has lost the reality competition title three years running to "The Amazing Race." And last September, "Dancing with the Stars" emcee Tom Bergeron lost the first Emmy race for reality show host to Jeff Probst of "Survivor."

Rumor has it that the judges of these reality competition shows will be getting their own category at the next Emmy Awards. When we polled you in September about which judge of "Dancing with the Stars" deserved to claim this new prize, you overwhelmingly went with Bruno Tonioli. He reaped slightly more than half of the 1,348 votes cast in our "Dancing with the Stars" poll, followed by 29% for Len Goodman and 20% for Carrie Ann Inaba. Wil these three cut the under-rehearsed Rycroft and Madison any slack tonight? Stay tuned.

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Photo: ABC

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