Dancing With The Stars had already planned to take the spring season off for 2020, long before the coronavirus pandemic arrived. The long-running series never officially announced itself to be moving to a more once-a-year style of things, but that seems to be the case now — making the fall return for Season 29 all the more exciting. The rollout of the Dancing With The Stars Season 29 cast is helping that along, as the show gets back to business for the fall season.
Dancing With The Stars Season 29 is shaping up to be a semi-soft reboot of the series. The production moved to replace longtime host Tom Bergeron, the series anchor since its 2005 debut, as well as Erin Andrews, who has been Bergeron's co-host since Season 18. The new face of Dancing With the Stars will be Tyra Banks, starting this season. No co-hosts have been announced yet.
This season's professional dancers were announced ahead of time. The lineup includes longtime performers Cheryl Burke, Val Chmerkovskiy, Sharna Burgess, and Peta Murgatroyd. Plus, there are some newer faces like Daniella Karagach and Britt Stewart. But as one of the new changes, fans will not find out which professional is paired with which celebrity until the premiere of the show.
As for who the 15 pros will be dancing with, here's a rundown of the celebrities cast so far:
1. Kaitlyn Bristowe
Of all the castings for the fall season, this is the least surprising of the bunch. Longtime DWTS fans know ABC regularly cross-pollinates the top-rated Bachelor franchise with the equally well-known DWTS. Bachelorettes have been part of that ever since Trista Sutter appeared on DWTS Season 1 way back in 2005. The franchise's Season 11 lead taking her turn on the dance floor is par for the course.
2. AJ McLean
Dancing With The Stars also likes to draw contestants from the world of pop music. McLean, best known for his years as one of the Backstreet Boys, is the second member of his band to take a turn on the dance floor. (Fellow BSB alum Nick Carter appeared in DWTS Season 21, in which he made it to the finals with Sharna before losing to Bindi Irwin.) Will AJ be so lucky?
It turns out Backstreet Boy AJ will have some competition in the "former heartthrob singer" slot. Cornell Iral Haynes Jr., better known as Nelly, was the rapper who rose to fame in 2000 with his debut album Country Grammar, and hits like “Hot in Herre.” Now he’s about to make it hot on the dance floor, and prove he's still got the moves.
4. Carole Baskin
Carole Baskin shot to fame in Netflix’s Tiger King last spring with her message of prevention of animal cruelty. It's been quite a year for her since becoming a household name. Recently, she was awarded the rights to The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. Now her next step will be the dance floor.
5. Monica Aldama
Another Netflix breakout star, fans will recognize Monica Aldama from the documentary Cheer. One of the most successful athletic coaches in the country, she began a household name for her catchphrase, “You keep going until you get it right, then keep going until you can’t get it wrong.” That attitude will help her on the dance floor this season.
6. Chrishell Stause
It speaks volumes of how much streaming has taken over the landscape that this is the third Netflix breakout star of the Season 29 cast. The streamer outdid HGTV with Selling Sunset, the show that combines real estate shows with reality show drama. Chrishell Stause is great at selling houses, but can she sell her dance moves?
7. Justina Machado
Had One Day At A Time not been canceled by Netflix, revived by Pop and coming to CBS to help fill the COVID-decimated schedule, Justina Machado would have been the fourth Netflix star this year. But she could be a ringer this season, having starred on Broadway alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda in the original In the Heights cast. Look out, dance floor, the competition is here.
8. Vernon Davis
Every season of DWTS has a football player, and this year, it's Vernon Davis. The former 49ers tight end began his career in 2006 and played 10 seasons before switching to his hometown Washington football team before his retirement earlier this year. Sure he can handle a ball, but as fans ask of every sport figure that passing through this show, can he dance?
9. Charles Oakley
In the same way, there's always a football player, there's also always one "living legend" slot per season, whether it be Billy Dee Williams or last season's Mary Wilson. This year, it's another sports figure, the basketball legend Charles Oakley, beloved by Knicks fans. Known as “The Enforcer,” can he enforce his footwork the way he did defense?
10. Anne Heche
Another one for the Legend category, Anne Heche's career took off in the late 1990s, with the back to back releases of Donnie Brasco in 1997 and the Psycho remake in 1998. Since then, she's been everywhere on TV from Ally McBeal to Nip/Tuck to Chicago P.D. She also has broadway experience, with a Tony for Twentieth Century, but that was a play, not a musical. Still, live theater experience is always a bonus in the DWTS arena, and she could blow everyone away.
11. Jeannie Mai
One of the things about DWTS is that it shamelessly pulls from the ABC stable of talent. And that's not a bad thing. This year, it means viewers get to see Jeannie Mai, co-host of the real, and currently seen hosting the hilariously weird mini-golf reality competition series, Holey Moley. Fans will have to treat this one as a wild card since there could be some hidden dance talent behind the friendly face.
12. Skai Jackson
Dancing With The Stars isn't just pulling from Netflix this season. For the first time in the show's history, there's a YouTuber in the cast. The 18-year-old Skai Jackson started on the YouTube circuit before getting cast as Zuri Ross in Jessie and its spinoff series BUNK'D, both of which air on the Disney Channel. Technically that also makes her one of DWTS' owner Disney's in-house talents, and also probably one of the biggest threats to take the Mirror Ball.
13. Jesse Metcalfe
Here's a throwback ABC talent casting, Jesse Metcalfe, who rose to fame on ABC's Desperate Housewives as Eva Longoria's teen lover John Rowland. Metcalfe is all grown up now, and starring opposite Bruce Willis in such films like Hard Kill. But he's still going to make fans heart's melt. The only question is if they melt over his dance floor moves or his apologies for footwork fails.
14. Nev Schulman
Best known for his film Catfish, and the follow-up Catfish: The TV Show, Nev Schulman will have to hope his fishing skills reel in a real pro for him this season. Though he's known as a TV host, he's better known for behind the scenes work, and it's going to be a mystery as to how well he dances in front of the camera.
15. Johnny Weir
Well, bless my buttons, there's this season's ringer.
For many seasons, when DWTS cast an ice skater, everyone else winds up getting out of the way. (Yes, even if it's Tonya Harding.) But there's casting ice skaters, and then there's casting Johnny Weir. Weir parlayed his superstardom on the ice into pop culture idolatry and is now as well known for his commentary over on NBC as he is his skills on the ice. He is *the* one to watch this season.
Dancing With The Stars Season 29 premieres on Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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