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HOME > Dancing with the Stars > Dancing with the Stars 17

'Dancing with the Stars' host Tom Bergeron: Valerie Harper may win the whole competition


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/16/2013 

Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron has acknowledged strong viewer voting support will likely make Valerie Harper one of the frontrunners to win the seventeenth season's mirror-ball trophy even though her age and ongoing cancer battle may restrict her dancing ability.

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"If you are Christina Milian or Keyshawn Johnson or Amber Riley, it's kind of 'The Valerie Harper Show' now," radio host Matt Siegel told Bergeron during a Friday interview with Boston's Kiss-FM radio station.   

"It'll be interesting to see how it plays out. Monday will be our first chance to see everyone together. There's no denying that she is the main focus for people," Bergeron explained.

"She is certainly the one name that made me really sit up. She is a remarkable woman, incredibly engaging... So yeah, I think it's fair to say that she is going to be one of the key focal points -- if not the focal point -- of certainly the early shows."

The 74-year-old actress was given less than three months to live back in March after being diagnosed with terminal leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare form of cancer in which cancer cells spread into the membrane surrounding the brain.

However, Harper's neuro-oncologist Dr. Jeremy Rudnick told NBC's Today show late last month she is "getting pretty close to remission" and maintains a very positive attitude.

In regards to Dancing with the Stars' next season, which premieres tonight on ABC, Siegel expressed to Bergeron, "I doubt she'll be voted off too soon."

"I can't imagine [that happening] unless there's some reason she says, like with Dorothy Hamill last season, 'I just can't do this.' I can't imagine that would happen," Bergeron agreed.

Bergeron insisted, however, Harper will not receive any special treatment from the judges during her participation on the show and she is part of a "really good cast."

In addition to Harper, Milian, Johnson, and Riley, Dancing with the Stars' upcoming cast will also feature celebrities Jack Osbourne, Corbin Bleu, Leah Remini, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Brant Daugherty, Bill Nye, Bill Engvall, and Elizabeth Berkley.

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