Yesterday, the cast for the latest season of Dancing With the Stars was officially unveiled, though a good deal of it was known already, with ABC themselves doing one reveal early. More surprising, in fact, was the news related to the series regulars. We knew already Len Goodman was coming back, but now it’s official that both Hough siblings are bailing on us. Boooooo.
Meanwhile, on the pros side, Emma Slater, Allison Holker, and last season returnees Anna Trebunskaya and Louis van Amstel are out. But in the most stunning news of all, while Peta Murgatroyd returns from her injuries and Artem Chingvintsev and Sasha Farber also rotate back in, Edyta Sliwinska, the pro who never missed a season but then went and supposedly moved on back in 2010, is making a comeback! Sadly, like with Louis and Anna last year, the choice of partner looks unfortunate.
Another thing they’ve gotten back: after multiple seasons of struggling to get a football player, they’ve suddenly landed three! Let’s get to the list!
Edyta Sliwinska: Geraldo Rivera. Ugh. Really, producers, it was bad enough when you saddled Edyta with a bad partner almost every season, now, when she actually came back to grace your ballroom with her divine presence, you thank her with an aging right-wing pundit? Neither of them are likely to be without votes, but one certainly would not expect him to be able to dance, and I fear that even those who love Edyta may find themselves waiting impatiently for this partner to go away.
Sasha Farber: Kim Fields, the older actress/Real Housewife. Actually, this woman seems a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. Unfortunately, none of those trades are ones that lend themselves to dancing, and especially none of the Real Housewives that have been on the show before her were that good at dancing, and only one of them had the personality to make up for it. Then again, Kim too might have that personality. She has it, she might just get a good amount of votes, too, but it may be harder for either her or Sasha to without it.
Artem Chingvintsev: Mischa Barton, the more recent TV star. After two older partners, Artem finally lands someone closer to his own age. He did well enough with Lea that if Mischa turns out to have any dancing ability, he might just be able to make her very good indeed. Plus with the recent series in her past, she’ll probably come in with at least some votes. She won’t stay if she can’t dance, but if she can they’ll likely make a run.
Peta Murgatroyd: Nyle DiMarco, the model. Actually different from most of the models who have been on the show, starting with the fact that he’s male. Also with an acting career already, and an appearance on America’s Next Top Model, which will help him bring some votes to the table to supplement Peta’s. Also, deaf. He’s not DWTS’ first deaf contestant, and she who was, Marlee Matlin, did respectably enough. So he might just be a strong contender. But you can’t be sure; models do tend to struggle sometimes, especially if they’re not dancing with Derek.
Keo Motsepe: Jodie Sweetin, the Full House alumnus/Fuller House cast member. Okay, she’s only the second one of that bunch to appear on the show, so we can’t call it a trend yet, especially since she’s probably also here partly to promote the new series. But on the other hand, given her co-star Candace Cameron Bure went all the way to the final when she wasn’t really good enough a dancer to deserve it, well, if Jodie is any good, then after spending three seasons leaving early with duds for partners, Keo might just pull off his first good run.
Karina Smirnoff: Doug Flutie, the retired football player. Football players, of course, can be anything from brilliant to terrible, with the retired ones less likely to be good, but coming in with plenty of votes. Except Flutie is most known for college football and never spent more than four seasons on any one team, so it’s difficult to tell how many people will really vote for him. Bit of an issue with two other players about. Football players can get voted off early too, and if he can’t dance he may suffer this fate.
Tony Dovolani: Marla Maples, the ex-wife of Donald Trump. In many ways, a typical partner to give Tony, really. Except she does have some Broadway experience, although I wouldn’t assume she got the opportunity for it out of being talented. Coming in here during her husband’s rise to infamy might just get her more than a few votes, especially if she either really supports his presidential bid or really slams him, although it doesn’t look like she’s that likely to do either. It might just be another one of those cases where she stays until we all just want her gone and Tony put out of his misery; if she married Trump, how nice a person can she be either?
Mark Ballas: Paige VanZant, the UFC fighter. Neither of the two UFC fighters that have been on the show were very good or lasted very long, and I wouldn’t think that this one is female would make that much of a difference there. But then, that she’s partnered with Mark just might; he’s probably the best teacher among the pros(especially with Derek out), and if there’s anything out of her to get, he’s got a good chance to get it. But he can’t fix everyone, and if there isn’t anything, this might be a season which will be largely Ballas-less as well as Hough-less.
Val Chmerkovskiy: Ginger Zee, the ABC TV personality. A weather presenter is not someone most people have paid much attention to; he’s more likely to draw in votes than she is, and they may not get enough. On the other hand, she’s not that old, and it’s perfectly possible she’ll prove good. The question then will be whether she’ll be good enough to bring in enough votes; they might just go earlier than they ought to.
Witney Carson: Von Miller, the reigning Super Bowl MVP. Football players may be hard to predict in their actual dance ability, the occasional victory dance on the football field nonwithstanding, but one can bet this one’s going to get a lot of votes. It’s enough to make you hope he’s good, since he may stay way too long if he isn’t.
Lindsay Arnold: Wayna Morris, the older singer. The heyday of his Boyz II Men band was back in the 90s, but they were big enough then that the name still might give him some votes. But at his age, it’s difficult to determine how good he’ll be, and he’s another one who won’t last long if he isn’t.
Sharna Burgess: Antonio Brown, the current football player who is not currently MVP. Not the easiest of situations for Brown, unless he’s lucky enough to be a far better dance than he two fellow football players, and wins new supporters that way. Barring that, if the three of them take votes from each other, Brown’s the one most likely to be overlooked. Sharna’s not without her own fans, but probably doesn’t have enough to make up for that.
Two weeks until the premiere, which I will be here for. (Scheduling note though: I’ll be missing the second week.)