The big premiere of “Dancing with the Stars” is less than one week away, so it’s a good time to look at each of the couples set to compete during season 17. Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff look strong and have a good shot at doing very well when then don their sequins, lace up their dance shoes and hit the dance floor after only two weeks of practice.
Like Zendaya and Kyle Massey had in season 16 and 11, Corbin Bleu already has a strong and youthful voting base before he even dances his first routine. He starred in the “High School Musical” movies, the Discovery Kids drama series “Flight 29 Down”, plus the Disney Channel original movie “Jump In.” His first lead role was in the full-length feature film “Catch That Kid.” In addition, Bleu had guest starring roles on “Hannah Montana,” “The Amanda Show,” “The Good Wife” and more.
Corbin Bleu is also a talented singer and released his debut album “Another Side,” which included the hit single “Push It to the Limit,” in 2007. His second album was called “Speed of Light,” which was released in 2009. The talented 24-year-old also appeared in Broadway’s “In the Heights” and was considered for a hosting gig on “The X Factor USA.”
Despite his young fan base, Blue has already stirred up a bit of controversy, due to his past dance background. According to Radar Online, he was one of the first students accepted to the prestigious Debbie Allen Dance Academy as a teen. He danced on Broadway and even hit the dance floor on “DWTS” in season 13. As an invited soloist, Bleu sang and and danced to the choreography of Kenny Ortega and received a standing ovation from the audience and judges. To watch his performance, be sure to watch the above video.
Despite early criticism, Bleu’s ace in the hole is his professional partner, Karina Smirnoff. The Ukranian beauty has competed on 13 seasons of “Dancing with the Stars” and won season 13 with partner J.R. Martinez. She’s one of the most popular pros and has a huge fan base of loyal followers.
Smirnoff studied at Fordham University in New York and earned two degrees – a B.A. in Economics and Information Systems Programming. She is also a talented fashion designer and choreographer. Karina began competing in dance competitions at the age of eleven. She’s a five-time U.S. National Champion, World Trophy Champion, and Asian Open Champion. Among many other titles and designations, Karina was ranked #2 in the world for Latin Dance. She launched her successful DanceFIT – KS program, a unique fitness experience for hotel, resort and cruise ship guests.
Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, a past real life couple, recently ended their run in “Forever Tango” on Broadway. “Entertainment Weekly” raved about the production and stated, “Dancing with the Stars (and formerly engaged) pair Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff perform to rapturous cheers from the crowd. The couple is, in a word, dazzling. Smirnoff glides beautifully, and Chmerkovskiy shakes his hips (and his booty) with such skill, it’s clear he was born with the talent.”
Below are Karina’s past celebrity partners on “DWTS.”
- Season 3: Mario Lopez (2nd place)
- Season 4: Billy Ray Cyrus (5th place)
- Season 5: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (9th place)
- Season 6: Mario (5th place)
- Season 7: Rocco DiSpirito (9th place)
- Season 8: Steve Wozniak (10th place)
- Season 9: Aaron Carter (5th place)
- Season 11: Mike Sorrentino (9th place)
- Season 12: Ralph Macchio (4th place)
- Season 13: J.R. Martinez (1st place)
- Season 14: Gavin DeGraw (9th place)
- Season 15: Apolo Anton Ohno (5th place)
- Season 16: Jacoby Jones (3rd place)
“Dancing with the Stars” premieres at 8 p.m. EST on Monday, Sept. 16 on ABC. During last season's finale, Kellie Pickler defeated Ally Raisman, Jacoby Jones and Zendaya to win the mirror ball trophy.
So, who will rise to the top this season and take home the coveted mirror ball trophy? Below is the new cast and pro pairings for brand new season of “Dancing with the Stars.”
- Elizabeth Berkley from "Saved By the Bell" and pro Val Chmerkovskiy
- Corbin Bleu from "High School Musical" and pro Karina Smirnoff
- Brant Daugherty from "Pretty Little Liars" and pro Peta Murgatroyd
- Bill Engvall, country comedian, and new pro Emma Slater
- Valerie Harper, who was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year, and pro Tristan MacManus
- Keyshawn Johnson, NFL wide receiver for 11 years, and pro Sharna Burgess
- Christina Milian, actress/singer/entrepreneur, and pro Mark Ballas
- Bill Nye "The Science Guy"and new pro Tyne Stecklein
- Jack Osbourne from "The Osbournes" and pro Cheryl Burke
- Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi from "Jersey Shore" and new pro Sasha Farber
- Leah Remini from "Head of the Class and pro Tony Dovolani
- Amber Riley from "Glee" and pro Derek Hough
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