The list of celebrity dancers who will be appearing on season 18 of “Dancing With the Stars” was revealed on "Good Morning America" on March 4, with the matchups of who will be dancing with which pro dance partner unveiled just moments later. The celebrity/pro partner matches are:
Meryl Davis - Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Charlie White - Sharna Burgess
Danica McKellar - Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Candace Cameron Bure - Mark Ballas
Amy Purdy - Derek Hough
Diana Nyad - Henry Byalikov
Cody Simpson - Witney Carson
Sean Avery - Karina Smirnoff
James Maslow - Peta Murgatroyd
NeNe Leakes - Tony Dovolani
Drew Carey - Cheryl Burke
Billy Dee Williams - Emma Slater
With so many athletes on the dance floor during season 18, the competition is sure to be fierce from the start. Ice skating partners Charlie White and Meryl Davis are likely to be favored because of their ice dancing ability, but it remains to be seen if their professional dance partners will be able to bring out the same level of professionalism off the ice.
Diana Nyad overcame immeasurable odds by completing the swim from Cuba to Florida last year, so her endurance will be a plus during “Dancing With the Stars” competition, even though she will be pitted against stars who are much younger. Her professional partner, Henry Byalikov, is a first time competitor on DWTS, but he’s been an accomplished member of the dance troupe.
Paralympic athlete Amy Purdy might seem like the underdog going in, but she has proven her mettle time and again on the snowboard. Partnered with season 17 reigning champion Derek Hough, her chances at grabbing the mirror-ball trophy are as good as anyone else. Hough, also an award winning choreographer, knows how to develop a routine to showcase his partner’s strengths, and he’s no doubt up to the challenge of working with a double-amputee.
In his 70s, Billy Dee Williams is the oldest competitor this season, but don’t count him out just yet. He’s still got style and is likely to be a fan favorite, at least with the ladies.
Season 18 premiere of "Dancing With the Stars" will air on ABC on Monday, March 17.