The parade of celebrities who show up at the Kentucky Derby is such a grab bag. You never know who you'll get.
There's the occasional A-lister (Janet Jackson, Michael Jordan) but mostly it's a steady stream of familiar faces from TV and country music, a few tabloid headline makers, some mid-grade sports notables and a fair share of now-who-was-that-agains.
No matter who is at Churchill Downs on the one day of the year that Kentucky is guaranteed to be featured on People.com, we still love watching the red carpet.
The same goes for 2010. But which "stars" would make this Derby extra-worthy of coverage by the celebrity rags — maybe even the tabloids?
Here's our wish list, divided into the tribes that call Churchill home on the first Saturday in May.
A sprinkling of real Hollywood power is good for the mint-juleped soul.
Reese Witherspoon and her new beau, producer Jim Toth: Not all that interesting, really, but what if by happenstance Ryan Phillippe, Jake Gyllenhaal and Abbie Cornish showed up, too? It would be a five-pointed love story in which only Reese and Jake would be recognized (unless folks had seen Ryan's recent ab-tastic Men's Health cover). Even then, you know that someone would recognize Reese only as the Avon spokeswoman and ask her whether she has any extra lipstick samples.
Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, below: We'll channel our favorite J.Lo-obsessed fashion bloggers at GoFugYourself.com for this one: "Hola, my tiny-brained friends! It is I, Jenny From the Block. Yes, some even more tiny-brained people have determined that mi careerioso brillianto is over, but I say, Wait. Wait until you see what Marc and I do when we appear at the Kentucky Derby, me with everything and my little vampire Marc with his pale, fanged self looking so frail in the daylight. The horses will faint, mi amigo, and so will you. Besos!"
Lady Gaga: Never in a million years would the Artist Formerly Known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta set foot on Churchill's grounds. But just imagine the eye-popping hat and costume she'd sport if she did. We're thinking some sort of Dali-esque jockey silks-meets-stuffed horse head getup.
Tyler Perry: Perry seems like a good fit for the Derby: He's worth a bajillion dollars, just like a lot of those Derby horse owners, and he's from the South. We just hope he makes an appearance at the races or at a Derby Eve party as his gun-totin', tell-it-like-it-is alter ego, Madea. But if he does, we just hope it's a cool day because that wig and house dress would become a sauna on a sweltering Derby Day.
George Clooney: Come on, did you really think we would do this list without wanting to see our dear George in attendance?
THE TV STARS
Homo sapiens televisionus is one of the most common species inhabiting Greater Derbyland.
The cast of Glee: We're all for tradition, but how about instead of the University of Louisville marching band playing My Old Kentucky Home, the cast of Glee takes on our state song? We can hear Mercedes (Amber Riley) turning the line "Weep no more my lady" into a riff-filled R&B/gospel rant right now. Besides that, we'd love just to see the incomparable Jane Lynch, who plays caustic Sue Sylvester, on our home soil.
Kathy Griffin: When she came to Louisville a few years ago, she got a key to the city. So for a stand-up comic who toils in the unvarnished reality of celebritydom, she needs to take advantage of that and put herself smack dab in the middle of the Derby celeb action. Nirvana! With luck, she'd be there to witness someone famous step in horse manure or get stinking drunk and mistake Travis Tritt or Kid Rock for a waiter.
Anthony Williams from this year's Project Runway: The once-brilliant fashion fest has been a snooze since it moved to Lifetime, but a bright spot on the most recent season was Williams, the wisecracking, head- wagging, bon mot-spewing Southerner whom you couldn't help but love. Sure, hardly anyone would recognize him, but he'd have the best outfit in the grandstand, and he'd fill our celebrity coverage with great quotes.
Kate Gosselin: After her abysmal, lamppostlike showing on Dancing With the Stars, the love her/hate her reality-TV mom certainly doesn't have to worry about missing ballroom practice to attend the Derby. She could show off her new fabulous-looking hair.
THE FASHION VICTIM
Somebody has to throw a wrench in that formula of tasteful combo of summer dress + big hat.
Chloe Sevigny, right: The Big Love actress and notorious fashion victim would catch eyeballs if she turned up dressed as a jockey or something incendiary. Everybody would say, "Do you remember that Derby when the actress from Big Love wore that coat made of horse hair?"
THE TABLOID FODDER
The home-wrecker edition.
Any of Tiger Woods' alleged mistresses: Now that the scandal has simmered and Tiger is back on the golf course, his alleged mistresses are in need of some publicity. What better place to walk the red carpet than the Derby? They could hang out with ...
Jon Gosselin: The man least likely to be voted Father of the Year would be welcomed only if he ran into his ex-wife, Kate (see above), and fireworks ignited.
The Derby offers guaranteed face time.
President Barack Obama: The only sitting president ever to visit the Derby was Richard Nixon — 41 years ago, in 1969. Seems we're overdue. Obama hasn't paid a lot of attention to Kentucky, so it would be fitting that he come on the Bluegrass State's signature day.
Sarah Palin: Perhaps on a trip to Louisville, the former vice presidential candidate-turned-Fox News commentator could have a word with U.S. Senate candidate Trey Grayson to discuss his recent diss of her.
Gray Powell, the Apple engineer who left his 4G iPhone at a bar: After his recent gaff revealed what is reported to be the next-generation iPhone, he's practically Deep Throat for techies. Just imagine what he might leave behind at the Downs.
THE HOT MESSES
Every big party has to have a few train wrecks.
Bai Ling: Hot mess on a stick, thy name is Bai Ling. You might not recognize the actress's name unless you check out all the gossip mags/blogs and keep up with her exploits (shoplifting, getting bitten by her pet cheetah-cat hybrid, making out with Mickey Rourke, practically living on the worst-dressed list). But after reading that, you have to agree: She'd make a great addition to the whole Derby hullabaloo, right?
Lindsay Lohan: The reigning queen of Hollywood cautionary tales has been to every party in Los Angeles. Time to branch out to a new geographic area, LiLo.