(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – They have been America’s Sweethearts since 1972, when they first graced the field at Texas Stadium. Now the iconic cheerleading squad has picked their 2012 candidates to attend training camp. For the next month and a half candidates will compete to win a coveted spot on the official Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader roster!

Two weeks ago, hundreds turned out for the first day of the 3-day audition process. In all, 79 finalists, representing five countries and 19 states, were whittled down. This past weekend they took to the Cowboys Stadium field, to dance, kick and shake their poms.

Fourteen judges (I was honored to be a judge once again – this my 10th year!) deliberated long and hard, as competition was especially tough this year. There were 25 veterans returning to try out, along with the super talented newbies.

In the end – a great group of 45 were chosen and thrilled to start the training camp process.

For the past seven years, as a part of their top rated reality show Making the Team, CMT has been on board filming the entire audition process. Each year the show consisted of just eight episodes but this year – due to popular demand – they will film 13 weeks of segments.

Apparently, producers know the world watches not only America’s Team but the Sweethearts as well!

Also making Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders news this week – Men in Black 3 opens and the stars, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, invited all the top American cities to donate an item, representing their state, to be placed in a time capsule that will be sent to Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

CBS 11 decided DCC poms would be a perfect choice, so three of the cheerleaders donated poms and they were sent to Hollywood for official placement inside the time capsule. Both stars of the movie loved the bright and shiny poms, but Will Smith did mention it was hard to hold them as he is a proud native Philadelphian and his Eagle Pride hurt just a little with all that silver and blue!

Movie executives promise the capsule will not be opened for 43 years!

The new 2012 DCC squad will debut on the field in August at the first pre-season home game and Men in Black 3 opens this week citywide.

It’s all a win/win in my book!