The celebrity cast and professional pairings for this season of Dancing with the Stars (ABC) were announced on Good Morning America earlier on Wednesday, and it looks like the show’s moving in the right direction, judging by the celebrities they got to sign on. Dancing with the Stars will have its two-hour season premiere Monday, September 16 at 8/7c.
Will ABC’s choices be enough to boost DWTS‘s ratings?
In a word, yes. The question is, by how much? DWTS has lagged in the ratings the last two seasons, due in part to having to compete with ratings giant, The Voice (NBC), but also due to not seeming to select celebrities that America embraced right from the start of each season.
DWTS will be on just one night per week, unlike past seasons, and each episode will run two hours. Every episode will feature the dancers pitted against each other, performances they do as a group, and surprise guests from the world of music. Also, each episode will include, at the end (starting on September 23, with the second episode), a dramatic elimination, the result of both the judges’ scores and America’s votes from the week before.
Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet will be returning as the show’s hosts. Who will the 12 celebrities and their professional dance partners be?
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren, who is perhaps best known for her role as Jessie on Saved by the Bell, is joining the celebrity cast. She was also on CSI: Miami as Julia Winston.
She’s been in several movies, as well, like First Wives CLub, Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday, Showgirls, and the Woody Allen flick, Curse of the Jade Scorpion, among others.
Elizabeth’s dance partner will be Valentin Chnerkovskiy.
Fans of Disney’s High School Musical movie, High School Musical 2, and the sequel, High School Musical 3: Senior Year, will recognize Corbin Bleu, who played Chad.
Bleu was also one of the stars of another Disney Channel movie, Jump In and will appear this fall with actor Stephen Lang in the thriller The Monkey’s Paw. In 2008, he produced and starred in the flick, Free Style, and in 2012 for Scary or Die.
Bleu’s also acted in television show like The Good Wife, Hannah Montana, The Amanda Show, and Psych. Currently, Corbin is Jeffrey King in the soap opera, One Life to Live. He’s even put out two albums, Another Side and Speed of Light. Corbin Bleu will be partnered with Karina Smirnoff.
Brant Daugherty, to fans of ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, plays the character Noel. Another show you might recognize Daugherty from is the Lifetime series, Army Wives, where he plays Lt. Patrick Clarke.
Daugherty will also be in the comedy parody of The Hunger Games in November, called The Starving Games. Brant’s dance partner will be Peta Murgatroyd.
One of the stars I’ll be looking forward to seeing is comedian Bill Engvall. He’s been nominated for Grammy awards and his comedy albums have gone multi-platinum. Also, Engvall contributes his voice to the animated CMT series, Bounty Hunters.
Engvall starred in and was the executive producer of TBS’s The Bill Engvall Show, and he also was one of the stars of the Blue Collar Comedy concert movies and the WB comedy series Blue Collar TV.
Bill Engvall will be partnered with fist time professional partner Emma Slater. Will Bill prove to be as good of a dancer as he is a comedian? Will his partner, Emma, be able to survive her first dance partner, when he’s — well — Bill Engvall?
Valerie Harper is definitely another one of the celebrity cast members that I, and much of America, will be looking forward to seeing. She’s one of my favorite TV actresses/comedians, best known her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off Rhoda.
For playing Rhoda, Harper has won four Emmys and one Golden Globe award. In the episode of Rhoda where she got married, ratings soared, with 52 million fans tuning in to watch the wedding.
Harper has suffered from brain cancer, and she had been given just three months to live. But, though the cancer is not in remission, she is doing well enough that she has gotten the go-ahead to be in this season’s Dancing with the Stars. Her dance partner will be Tristan MacManus.
Keyshawn Johnson is another favorite star of mine, in the world of athletics. Johnson is a business entrepreneur, sports broadcaster, and a former NFL star wide receiver who played for the Jets, Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Panthers during his career.
Keyshawn was a NFL Super Bowl champion and was drafted #1 in 1996 overall by the Jets. Johnson is a sports commentator on Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown. Keyshawn Johnson will partner with Sharna Burgess.
Christina Milian has been involved in many jobs in the entertainment industry. Her resume includes television, film, music, and theater roles. She was the social media correspondent for The Voice on NBC, and most recently, she was in the made-for-TV flick The Christmas Cupid. Milian has also appeared in the CBS shos A Gifted Man and CSI.
Milian recently signed with Lil Wayne’s Young Money/Cash Money/ Universal label. She is currently recording her fourth album for that label. She’s written/co-written songs for many artists, including being one of the co-writers of Justin Bieber’s pop hit “Baby.” Christina Milian partners with Mark Ballas.
Bill Nye aka the “Science Guy” might not be the flashiest of dressers nor look very exciting, but he has excited the scientific imaginations of fans around the world. He is another contestant I’ll be looking forward to watching dance. It will be interesting to see if he loosens up, and gets into the idea of dancing in front of literally millions of viewers and if he has the athleticism it takes to perform elaborate dance moves.
“Bill Nye the Science Guy” has won 18 Emmys, with Nye winning seven of them as the show’s head writer and host. Bill Nye’s partner will be newcomer Tyne Stecklein.
Jack Osbourne, 27, is also someone that I and America will be wanting to see dance this season. A celebrity in his own right, Jack is the son of the famous musician, Ozzy Osbourne, one of my personal favorite rock musicians, both with Black Sabbath and as a solo performer.
Jack can be seen on the live music show “Fuse News” for Fuse. He’s recently hosted the SyFy channel’s series, Haunted Highway, and he’s been on a variety of televsion programs. He produced God Bless Ozzy Osbourne, a documentary about his father. Jack Osbourne will be performing with partner Cheryl Burke.
New mother Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi of MTV’s Jersey Shore is another celebrity many people will tune in to watch. She is the best-selling author of the book A Shore Thing, and has her own clothing and accessory lines. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi will be dancing with first time professional partner Sasha Farber.
Leah Remini, for nine seasons, was one of the stars of the hit comedy series, “The King of Queens.” It’s still popular in syndication, and airs in more than 33 countries.
Remini also starred in Old School, with actors Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell. She’s had memorable recurring roles on such popular TV shows as Cheers, Friends, NYPD Blue, Who’s the Boss?, and Evening Shade. Leah Remini will partner with Tony Dovolani.
Besides being a fantastic singer, actress Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones) has demonstrated she also has some nice dance moves on Fox’s award-winning musical comedy, Glee.
For her performances on Glee, Amber has been nominated twice for individual NAACP Image Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy series. She was nominated, in 2011, for her second Teen Choice Award for Choice TV: Female Scene Stealer. Amber Riley will be dancing with Derek Hough.
How viewer voting will work
On Monday nights both during and for one hour following episodes in each time zone, you may vote for your favorite teams using your phone. You can also vote online at www.ABC.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dancingwiththestars for 24 hours from the ET starting time of each episode. You can vote, share the info on hwo you voted for and why, and check out who your buddies voted for by using a custom Facebook app.
The three judges for DWTS will be the famous ballroom judge Len Goodman and the two dancer/choreographers Bruno Tonioli and the beautiful Carrie Ann Inaba.
Written by: Douglas Cobb