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Dancing With The Stars: Hines Ward Set To Make Debut on Popular Reality TV Show

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Is tonight the night that I tune in to ABC's Dancing With The Stars for the first time? The 12th season of the immensely popular reality show debuts tonight, and my favorite Pittsburgh Steeler, Hines Ward, is a contestant. Hmm, we'll see, my docket is looking fairly full this evening, but I certainly plan on checking out how Hines does on the dance floor in upcoming weeks.What about you all? Any interest? Is the show's format entertaining?

Ward, who I mentioned had been practicing as many as five hours a day in preparation for the contest, is eager to see how he'll stack up against the diverse range of celebrity contestants.

"I am always up for a challenge and would love to see what I can do in a field completely foreign to me," Mr. Ward told ABC. "Besides, if Emmitt and Jerry [Rice] can do it, so can I."

Steeler Nation can do its part to ensure we get to either laugh at or be impressed by Ward's dancing abilities for more than just a single week. Like so many reality contests, fan voting plays a big role in determining who gets sent packing and who advances on to the next week.

Fans can vote via phone or text as soon as the show starts, until 30 minutes after it ends. Internet voting runs from the beginning of the performance show until 8 a.m. EST Tuesday morning. You must register through or through Facebook or Twitter.

More than one user can vote on the same computer. Although the fine print states voters must be at least 13 years old, ABC is hardly in the position to enforce this.

Each week, the dance team with the lowest point total will be eliminated. Occasionally, more than one team goes home. But it's not a matter of just tabulating votes.

The three judges -- Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli -- assign a numerical score after each couple dances. These point totals for all of the teams are eventually added up. Each couple's percentage of the overall point total becomes its new score.

So, with no end to the NFL lockout in immediate sight, get your Steelers fix tonight by watching Hines show off the ballroom dances he's been so diligently practicing this past few weeks.

As always, Go Steelers!