Each season of Dancing With the Stars delivers its unique flavor and Season 24 is bringing on a healthy dose of competition with the female competitors. While I never count out a strong athlete or the ability of Sharna Burgess and Lindsay Arnold to make a non-dancer a dancer, the show is heavily weighted right now for a male pro/female celebrity win.
Let’s take a look at the Season 24 cast and the pairings:
1. Mr. T and Kym Johnson Herjavec: Kym is back and she’s bringing Mr. T with her. He’s the nostalgia candidate this season and he’s known for being a kind and generous man in the entertainment industry. While I don’t think he’s the Mirror Ball Trophy winner this season, I think he’s going to deliver a lot of heart.
Photo credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin
2. Nancy Kerrigan and Artem Chigvintsev: The one thing about Nancy Kerrigan that has stayed with her throughout her career is her grace and elegance as a figure skater. This should serve her well out on the ballroom floor. Nancy has also been relatively shy, so Artem is going to have to draw that out of her, especially when it comes to the hotter Latin dances.
My curiosity about the timing of her participation is also on high alert. There is no doubt she’s been asked before, but with a new Tonya Harding movie coming out with Margot Robbie before the 2018 Winter Olympics, this is a way for Nancy to get her side of the story out first.
3. Simone Biles and Sasha Farber: I love Simone. She’s an incredible athlete with a cheerful disposition. Sasha is going to have a lot of fun working with her this season. One thing she is not is a carbon copy of last season’s winner and Olympic teammate, Laurie Hernandez. Simone isn’t as much of a natural mover as Laurie, so Sasha might have to break her of a few gymnastics habits when it comes to movement.
Photo credit: Dance Network/Kristyn Burtt
4. Heather Morris and Maks Chmerkovskiy: Heather is a professional dancer. There is no denying that. She is still a part of the LA commercial dance community and I saw her at the World of Dance Awards just a few weeks ago. With two young sons, I don’t know how much time she’s had in the dance studio, but her technique won’t fail her.
She’s a good partner for Maks because she’s 5’8”, but he will have to bring his A-game with choreography this season. Heather is a contender and the Glee fanbase is still running strong.
5. Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy: The Fifth Harmony girl-group member has a fervent fanbase, so this will be a contestant who is hard to stop. While the group doesn’t do complicated choreography, Val is good about keeping his choreography clean and full of ballroom content. If he can keep her on track, you are probably looking at one of the finalists.
6. Erika Jayne and Gleb Savchenko: When I heard Erika Jayne was in the cast, I knew this was a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills contestant who was going to be competitive. Gleb may have to reel her in a bit because everything about Erika is just extra — extra glam, extra hair and extra energy.
7. Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater: Other than Hayes Grier in Season 21, Emma has had her share of older contestants who sometimes could dance. As a recent free agent in the NFL, Rashad could be the guy to take her late into the season again. (I still haven’t forgotten her fantastic dance chemistry with Bill Engvall.) Athletes usually come with a strong work ethic and a competitive spirit, so I am expecting some good things from them this season.
8. David Ross and Lindsay Arnold: DWTS finally cast a baseball player. This is a long time in coming, so the pressure is on. Like swimmers, baseball players have a specific range of motion, so dancing might not come easily to David. The good news is that Lindsay is his partner and if anyone can make a dancer out of him, we know he’s got the right woman in charge.
9. Chris Kattan and Witney Carson: We know that comedians don’t have a great track record when it comes to DWTS, but Chris could last longer than we ever imagine. He was known for his physical comedy as the character Mango on Saturday Night Live. If Witney can harness some of that magic and still keep his sense of humor, this could be an incredibly fun pairing.
10. Nick Viall and Peta Murgatroyd: It’s no secret that I am not a fan of Nick. I don’t think he needs to be on this season. Sorry, Bachelor fans. However, I am thrilled Peta is back and I am hoping she works some of her Murgatroyd magic out on the dance floor. Maybe she will change my mind about Nick.
11. Charo and Keo Motsepe: I am happy to see Keo back as a pro and it tickled me that Charo was his partner. Charo is no stick in the mud; she’s a performer. She’s 65 years old, but don’t let that fool you. She has more energy than any of us. Cuchi, cuchi!
12. Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess: If there’s a tragic event in a contestant’s life, they get paired with Sharna. Bonner had a major bull-riding accident that changed his life, so I imagine this will play heavily into his storyline. Sharna has chemistry with wallpaper, so I have a feeling this partnership will also deliver emotionally and physically on the dance floor.
While these are only preseason assessments, we know that sometimes the heavy favorites disappoint on the dance floor and the underdog becomes the surprise of the season. DWTS also has some notable faces missing, including Derek Hough, Mark Ballas, Tony Dovolani, Allison Holker, Cheryl Burke and Jenna Johnson. I doubt this will affect ratings, but I know their absence weighs heavily on fans’ minds.
But remember, there is a whole wide world of dance outside of DWTS, so even if your favorites are out this season, show your support with their latest projects.
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