Pretty much the entire universe can agree that Mondays are #theworst. But Mondays starting September 14th? Nope, Mondays are gonna be the best. Why? Season 21 (!!!) of Dancing with the Stars! And to get you even more pumped than you already are, the list of returning "DWTS" pros was just announced—it's as good as it gets, people.
"Dancing with the Stars" announced its cast for Season 18 earlier this morning, and holy moly we're excited. Not only did our suspicions about Olympians competing for the mirror ball trophy come true, but the list of athletes involved is even better than we had hoped.
Charlie White and Meryl Davis sport their gold medals at the Empire State Building last week. Photo via OK! Magazine.
First up is Meryl Davis and Charlie White, Sochi's ice dancing gold medal winners (USA! USA! USA!), though they won't be paired together—Meryl will dance with Maksim Chmerkovskiy (#TeamMaksyl ...eh, we'll work on that one) and Charlie will dance with Sharna Burgess. Next is Paralympian Amy Purdy, a snowboarding champ who is also a double amputee. She'll be paired with the unstoppable Derek Hough (is there anything he isn't doing these days?).
Sean Avery, before he retired from hockey. Photo by Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press
Dancing with Karina Smirnoff is Sean Avery, the NHL dreamboat who's played for the New York Rangers, the Detroit Red Wings, the Los Angeles Kings and the Dallas Stars. Rounding out the sports category is Diana Nyad, a long distance swimmer who is the only person in history to go from Key West to Cuba—that's 110 miles—without stopping and braving sharks, jellyfish and exhaustion. Let's just say her partner, Henry Byalikov, better bring it.
Of course, what would the show be without a smattering of TV celebs? This season does not disappoint. Two words: Winnie Cooper. Another two words: D.J. Tanner. That's right, Danica McKellar from "The Wonder Years" and Candace Cameron Bure from "Full House" will be going neck and neck in just two weeks. Winnie Danica will dance with Val Chmerkovskiy and D.J. Candace will work with Mark Ballas.
(R to L) Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) and Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar) in "The Wonder Years"; D.J. Tanner (Candace Cameron Bure) in "Full House"
Cheryl Burke will be paired with Drew Carey, whom I can't believe hasn't been on the show yet. And Real Housewife of Atlanta NeNe Leakes (also known as Roz Washington on "Glee") will be swept off her feet by Tony Dovolani.
(L to R) Lando (Billy Dee Williams) with Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Chewy and Hans Solo (Harrison Ford)
Star Wars nerds rejoice: Billy Dee Williams (you know him as Lando Calrissian) will also dance, paired with British musical theater vet Emma Slater.
Cody Simpson is the youngest competitor. At 17, the Aussie pop singer will dance with Witney Carson, the Season 9 "So You Think You Can Dance" bombshell from Utah. And James Maslow, the 23-year-old sweetheart from Nickelodeon's "Big Time Rush" will be competing with Peta Murgatroyd. From the looks of this picture of the duo out on the town earlier this February, it may be a match made in "DWTS" heaven:
Peta and James leaving a restaurant in West Hollywood in early February. Photo by SPW/Splash News
All in all, it's going to be a great season. Who are you most excited to see? Any early predictions? Don't forget to set your DVRs (or just tune in!) for the two-hour season premiere, March 17 at 8 pm ET on ABC.
The season 16 cast of "Dancing with the Stars" was announced today on "Good Morning America." Yay?
Sorry. I'm sure the latest season of this weirdly fascinating cultural phenomenon will be just as entertaining as the last 15. I'm just feeling a little sad that one Chelsie Hightower isn't involved in the proceedings this time around. Chelsie! We'll miss you!
The happier news is that Aly Raisman, the awesome surprise hero of last year's U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team, will be competing for the mirrorball trophy. And there are some newbie pros—including "So You Think You Can Dance" alum Lindsay Arnold—on the list who might spice things up a little. Real yay!
Here's the lineup:
Wynonna Judd and Tony Dovolani
D.L. Hughley and Cheryl Burke
Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff
Lisa Vanderpump and new dancer Gleb Savchenko
Andy Dick and new dancer Sharna Burgess
Victor Ortiz and new dancer Lindsay Arnold
Zendaya Coleman and Val Chmerkovskiy
Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas
Ingo Rademache and Kym Johnson
Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough
Dorothy Hamill and Tristan MacManus
Tune in for the premiere of "DWTS" on March 28 at 8/7 central on ABC.
A few weeks ago, we told you about the All Star cast for Season 15 of "Dancing with the Stars." Well, there's more news from the Land of the Mirrorball Trophy: The star/pro pairings have been announced!
And the list has raised a few eyebrows. Interestingly, five of the 12 All Star contestants are going to take the floor with their original partners. Does that give them a bit of an edge over their freshly-paired competitors? What do you think?
Here's the full list:
Kelly Monaco and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke
Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas
Pamela Anderson and Tristan McManus
Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff
Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd
Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya
Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani
Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough
(As we mentioned in our last "DWTS" post, the 13th cast member—either Carson Kressley, Sabrina Bryan or Kyle Massey—is being chosen in an online vote, which ends August 24.)
See how this all plays out when "DWTS" premieres on Monday, September 24!
Did you catch former American Ballet Theatre principal Jose Manuel Carreño on "Dancing with the Stars" last night? The last time Carreño appeared on the show, he performed a (kind of strange) take on Swan Lake with Lorna and Lorena Feijoo. This time, though, he took on ballroom, slinking through a steamy Argentine tango with "DWTS" pro Karina Smirnoff.
I'm far from a ballroom expert, but Carreno's tango moves looked pretty great to me. I've always thought that ballet and ballroom shared many similarities—both emphasize form, structure, fluidity that's also precise. (And we've already discussedBilly Elliot star Kiril Kulish's success in competitive ballroom dance, which is awesome.)
But Smirnoff wrote a blog about working with Carreño that upends all my uninformed assumptions: She says she and Carreño have "very different" dance backgrounds. "Ballroom is fluid and soft and ballet is all about the frame," she says. "It's like having an opera singer and a rapper come together."
Interesting! I thought it was the other way around—that ballet dancers, used to being swans and princes, had trouble adjusting to the strong, forceful ballroom frame. (And I definitely never thought about putting ballet and rap in the same category.) But I'm a bunhead, so it's cool to hear about the crossover from a ballroom expert's perspective. Smirnoff's description is also, I think, an argument for cross-training: Ballet dancers have so much to learn from ballroom dancers, and vice versa.
More on that, by the way, in our September issue. Stay tuned!
In the end, it came down to celebrity groomsman Robert Kardashian and Iraq war veteran J.R. Martinez. They battled—er, danced—it out for the coveted mirrorball trophy, you voted and one man came out victorious.
Congratulations J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff!
Check out some highlights from the night below, then let us know what you think. Did the right star win? Which performance was your favorite? Who do you want to see competing in Season 14? We want to know!