The full cast for the next season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars was announced today during the Good Morning America telecast and like last season, the show is headed for a lot of changes. (More on that below). Among the stars will be Candace Cameron Bure. You may remember her in the role of D.J. Tanner in the ever-so-sweet Full House sitcom. That was a LONG time ago, but she has recently made a resurregence on TV appearing on a few specials for the UP Network and starred in last year’s Hallmark Original Movie, Let it Snow. Before that, she starred in ABC Family’s Make It Or Break It. She is also sister to Kirk Cameron and like him, is an outspoken Christian not afraid of sharing her views on faith and family. Cameron Bure is a producer, a New York Times bestselling author and inspirational speaker. She has been married to former NHL star Val Bure since 1996 and together they have three children. She will be teamed up with Mark Ballas.
This season will also include pitting one star against another. Olympic gold medalists, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who have been skating partners since they were very young children, will be separated for the first time. Both should be amazing contestants given that they are both athletes and that ballroom dancing isn’t a huge leap from ice skating. Is it? Davis will be paired with Maksim Chmerkovsky (the poor thing) while White will be dancing the night with Sharna Burgess.
Other dancing pairs include:
- Former pro hockey player Sean Avery will share the spotlight with Karina Smirnoff. He is known for his antics on and off the ice.
- Former “Whose Line is it Anyway” host and current “The Price is Right” host, Drew Carey will be teamed up with Cheryl Burke.
- The never for a loss of words, Nene Leakes will be dancing with nice guy, Tony Dovolani. Leakes rose to fame as a “real housewife of Atlanta” and then had stints on “The Celebrity Apprentice,” “The New Normal” and her own Bravo series, “I Dream of Nene: The Wedding.”
- James Maslow from the TV show “Big Time Rush” and part of the boy band of the same name, will be paired with Peta Murgatroyd.
- Former child star and bestselling author (on the subject of math of all things), Danica McKellar will be dancing with Valentin Chmerkovskiy. You probably remember her playing the role of Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years.
- 64-year-old Diana Nyad, famous for achieving her 35-year-old dream of becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida, (It took her five tries to make the 110.86 mile trek. Her last attempt took over 52 hours!), will be teamed up with Henry Byalikov. If she has the energy to swim that far, she will definitely have the stamina to dance.
- Paralympic Games contestant, Amy Purdy, who lost her legs at the age of 19 as a result of Meningitis, will be partnering with dancing champ Derek Hough.
- Teen heartthrob and Australian singer, Cody Simpson, will be dancing with Witney Carson.
- Finally, we’’ see if the force will be with Billy Dee Williams as he is paired with Emma Slater.
Keeping with the one-night-a-week format that they started last season, Dancing will also include these new changes:
- Erin Andrews has replaced Brooke Burke as co-host. Burke co-hosted the show with Tom “America’s Funniest Videos” Bergeron for seven seasons and despite being let go at a very notice, is taking the disappointing news well. Andrews was a season ten finalist and currently a sports host for Fox Sports. Rumor has it that ABC appreciates Andrews’ large “young male following.”
- Another somewhat shocking elimination is the replacing of veteran orchestrator and band leader Harold Wheeler and his 28-member group of musicians and singers. Instead DWTS will be using preexisting sound recordings and a small band, something the show toyed with a bit last season. The pre-recorded music will work well with the newer music choices, but the orchestra will be missed during the big band music numbers.
- The last change is perhaps the strangest. This season the show will introduce “The Switch Up” where “America” will have the power to change the celebrity and professional dance partner pairings at some point during the season. While an interesting concept, this seems like a strange move in that fans of the show enjoy rooting for their favorite “team” not just a “star” and by breaking them up seems to create more of a game of chance rather than skill and talent. Why not just break out the bingo cards to see who should go home each week? It will be interesting to see how “America” reacts to having so much power. DWTS has been a rating giant from its inception so ABC should be careful about constantly rearranging things. Like the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Dancing with the Stars premieres on Monday, March 17 at 8:00 p.m. on ABC.