Just as an incredible season of SYTYCD comes to a close ABC announces their eclectic cast of stars for the Fall season of Dancing With the Stars. There are definitely some surprises this time around:
Alfonso Ribeiro of Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire fame is joining the cast with pro Witney Carson. Alfonso is known to cut a rug himself (fans of the show will remember “The Carlton”) but will those skills be enough to take home the mirrorball trophy? Maybe Alfonso’s fanbase will give him just the push he needs.
General Hospital hunk Antonio Sabato, Jr. will be dancing with Cheryl Burke. The hunks seem to do well with DWTS fan votes and Antonio stands a good chance of going far into the competition unless he is revealed to have two left feet.
Youtube personality Bethany Mota and DWTS pro Derek Hough will be vying for the trophy. Mota’s Youtube channel covers topics ranging from DIY to beauty and fashion. Bethany's success on the show will be hard to predict but one would certainly be curious to see if she dances well.
Designer Betsey Johnson will be paired with Tony Dovolani. The energetic, creative force behind her own brand, Betsey is a great addition to the DWTS cast. Whether her fashion fans will watch the show, however, remains to be seen. Of course, Tony could just dance shirtless like he did last season and get the votes that way.
Janel Parrish from Pretty Little Liars is partnered with Val Chmerkovskiy. As a member of the ABC family, Janel is an unsurprising competitor. Two questions remain, however: Can she dance? and Will her tween fans be enough votes?
Mean Girls actor Jonathan Bennett will hit the dance floor with DWTS pro (and SYTYCD alum) Allison Holker. Jonathan is of unknown quantity and could be a spectacular dancer.
Actress Lea Thompson from Back to the Future and Caroline in the City is paired with Artem Chigvintsev. Although the fanbase from her glory days is not likely to be of much help, Lea could prove herself to be a great competitor in the show.
It certainly would not be a DWTS season without an Olympian competing. Lolo Jones will be dancing with Keo Motsepe. Lolo competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics for track and field and the 2014 Winter Olympics for bobsled. As an athlete, Lolo has a good chance of doing well on the show.
Racecar driver Michael Waltrip will be joining Emma Slater. NASCAR fans will remember Michael for his Daytona 500 wins among other competitions. (NASCAR fans’ wives will probably use this as an excuse to make them watch the show.) Other racers have won in the past so it will be interesting to see how Waltrip fares this season.
Actor Randy Couture (who also happens to be a martial artist) will dance with pro Karina Smirnoff. Viewers may recognize Randy from The Expendables and some UFC championships. Couture has his athleticism going for him but we will need to watch to find out if he can also command a following for the coveted viewer votes.
Sadie Robertson is the granddaughter of Phil Robertson and stars on the A&E show Duck Dynasty. Sadie is paired up with Mark Ballas and could draw the votes of the show’s fanbase.
Tommy Chong (yes, half of the duo of Cheech & Chong) will dance with Peta Murgatroyd. Name recognition could be a powerful thing here or Tommy could be sent packing in the second episode. We will just have to wait and see!
Tavis Smiley rounds out the group with partner Sharna Burgess. Can a talk show host and author make it to the finals? Do fans of his show on PBS watch DWTS? Only time will tell!
Another surprise of the season is the addition of a fourth judge. Julianne Hough will be a fixture at the judges’ table along with Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.
DWTS returns for its 19th season on Monday, September 15th. Albuquerque viewers can watch Season 19 of DWTS on ABC channel 7.