Terpsichoreans and leadfoots alike can rejoice: Dancing With the Stars is live! Twelve celebrities will partner with professional instructors to dance the absolute pants off the competition, and win the hearts of millions of Americans in the process.
The 16th season kicks off with the inclusion of two new dances, namely jazz and contemporary, which expands the total number of events to fifteen. Fractional scores have been abolished from the format, meaning only full points will be awarded.
Those aren’t the only new additions. At just 16-years-old, Disney star Zendaya Coleman (partnered with Valentin Chmerkovskiy) of Disney’s dance comedy Shake It Up is the youngest contestant to appear on the show. Some observers wonder whether Zendaya is up to the challenge given DWTS’s leaning towards the racy in costume design and choreography, but her dancing experience could well take her straight to the top.
Savvier consumers of humor will be well-acquainted with Andy Dick (partnered with Sharna Burgess), less a mere man and more a force of nature channeling the essence of ostentation. This is the man Keith Richard’s mother never let him play with. No clue what that says about his prospects at the cha cha, but betters should take note: bookies seem to be stacking the odds against him. He’ll be facing off against fellow comedian and Original King of Comedy Darryl Lynn Hughley (partnered with Cheryl Burke).
Fans of General Hospital’s Jax Jacks will be happy to know Ingo Rademacher (Kym Johnson) is slated to compete. No matter how well he performs, he’ll need his enthusiastic base to secure the popular vote in the brutal endgame. Hailing from reality TV are Lisa Vanderpump (Gleb Savchenko) of Real Housewives fame and Bachelor star Sean Lowe (Peta Murgatroyd). Viewers will finally be able to find out just how eligible Sean really is when he runs us through his take on the Argentine tango. Country musicians Kellie Pickler (Derek Hough) and Wynonna Judd (Tony Dovolani) may not be mounting the stage to sing, but followers are hopeful they’ll be able to take to it with the same passion and presence.
If you’re one of those who think the competition will be carried on the shoulders of actual athletes, you’re in luck. Turns out Jacoby Jones (Karina Smirnoff) is taking time off from breaking Superbowl records to try his hand (or leg?) at dancing. If the idea of a 200-pound NFL wide receiver cutting the rug is funny to you, just remember football players take ballet lessons for a reason. My money’s personally on a sleeper victory, but that could just be crazy talk, considering he faces stiff competition from welterweight boxer Victor Ortiz (Lindsay Arnold). The star-spangled cast is rounded out by not one, but two gold medal Olympians: Dorothy Hamill (Tristan MacManus) who won in 1976, and Aly Raisman (Mark Ballas), who led the U.S. gymnastics team to victory in London last year.
The show premiered Monday night to thunderous applause and wasted no time cutting to what the audiences wanted. As always, contestants are scored on 30-point scale. Zendaya and Valentin head the pack with 24 points, while Darryl and Cheryl currently trail with 12, but it goes without saying that it’s too early for anyone to say who will walk away with the hallowed Mirror Ball Trophy.
The first results show airs on March 26th, so stick around!