What is it about Dancing with the Stars that has the nation (and me!) in such a craze?

I think it has to do with the eye-popping realization that you don’t have to be young and fit be a good dancer. Take a look at Kirstie Alley — she’s overweight and over 60, yet she was the second-best dancer on last night’s 12th season premier of DWTS. And it wasn’t as if her competition was terrible, either.

In fact, the contestants on DWTS form a perfect model of imperfect humanity. Some are rotund, others are uncoordinated, some are very tall or very short (a problem in ballroom if your partner doesn’t match!) — yet they are all willing to step out on the dance floor and give the foxtrot and samba their very best!

And that right there is the inspiration. As we watch the stiff and awkward among them loosen up over the first few shows into a semblance of good dancing, and watch an 75-year old (I’m looking at you, Florence Henderson) strut her stuff better than competitors 1/4 her age, and see that girls don’t have to be bare-chested to beautiful (Bristol Palin was an inspiration to all those who don’t equate sexy with smut), we absorb the confidence to step out onto that dance floor ourselves.

The stunning costumes and handsome pros don’t hurt either.