"Dancing with the Stars" season 16 begins tonight on ABC at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Central) on ABC. The producers have worked their DWTS formula and will this 12-person cast be the right combination of fun and skills?
First we have the athletes: Dorothy Hamill, Alexandra Raisman, Jacoby Jones and Victor Ortiz. We know this bunch has the discipline and stamina, but being good one sport doesn't always translate. Boxers haven't done well. Remember Sugar Ray Leonard. We don't expect Victor Ortiz to do well unless he can tap into that Latino rhythm for the Latin dances. The exception to that rule was a woman: Laila Ali.
Ice skaters, however, have done well so we expect great things from Hamill who is the oldest contestant this time out. Kristi Yamaguchi won when teamed with Mark Ballas and Evan Lysacek finished second and might have done better had it not been for that unfortunate freestyle that frustrated his partner, Anna Trebunskaya. Football players have always brought over a healthy fan base so Jacoby Jones will likely do well even if he doesn't dance well.
Gymnasts have always inspired their partners. Remember Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas and then Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough? Alexandra Raisman should have some amazing moves.
After the athletes, we always have the Disney kid. To be a Disney kid, you got to be able to dance and entertain. So we expect Zendaya to follow in the footsteps of Chelsea Kane (season 12) and Kyle Massey (season 11).
Then there are the reality stars: Kellie Pickler from "American Idol," Sean Lowe from "The Bachelor," and Lisa Vanderpump from "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."
Some of the reality stars have real talent, but then ABC also includes singers: Kellie Pickler qualifies and so does Wynonna Judd.
ABC wants to keep its female audience so besides the soaps, represented here by "General Hospital" actor Ingo Rademacher, we have to have the hunks. Rademacher, Ortiz, Jacoby Jones and Sean Lowe qualify.
Lastly, we need someone to provide lively commentary and keep it fun so here come the clowns: comedians Andy Dick and H.L. Hughley. No one from this category has ever won the show.
During the live shows, the judges will give each couple a score based on several factors, including technical execution. But the judges' scores alone do not decide a couple's fate.
Phone lines, text votes (AT&T customers only) and online voting will open at the top of each performance show so that viewers can vote for their favorites. Phone and text lines will stay open until 60 minutes after the end of the show in your local time zone. Online voting will remain open until 11 a.m. (Eastern Time)/ 8 a.m. (Pacific Time) the following day.
In the Dancing with the Stars Results Show, the couple with the lowest combined score from judges and viewer votes will be eliminated from the competition. The scoring is divided evenly between the judges and the viewers at home, ensuring unpredictable outcomes at the end of every show. When the final two couples remain, the ultimate dance-off will determine who wins the trophy.
Viewers can vote via phone and text message for their favorites ONLY on the night they perform; online voting ends at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT the day following the performances.
To vote by text message, text the word "VOTE" to your favorite couple's number below from your AT&T phone. Message and data rates may apply.
Lines open at the beginning of each show for viewers to phone and text vote for their favorite couples and will stay open for 60 minutes after the end of the show in each time zone. The whole country can vote.
One (or more) couple(s) will be knocked out of the competition each week there is a results show. The couple with the lowest overall score is knocked out of the competition.
The scoring and format of the show is unique to the series and is not based on a standard dance championship.