Dancing with the Stars long established the idea of finding celebrities outside of TV or movie stardom to create a variety of “stars” including sports icons, models, comedians, etc. This is no doubt due to the fact that many big name movie stars are either too busy or not interested in doing the show. For the most part, this works out fine, but not everyone will be on board calling every celebrity on the show a “star.” For instance, this season they bring on a Duck Dynasty family member – Sadie Robertson. Don’t know who that is? She’s the 17-year old daughter who usually doesn’t get much screen time on the show. It is as if the producers of DWTS started asking the top stars of DD and worked their way down to Sadie. Sadie is a delightful young woman and will probably do very well on the show (her partner is Mark Ballas), but is Sadie really a ‘star’? This season also includes the YouTube “beauty expert” Bethany Mota. She is one of the most popular celebrities on social media. But is she a star? Perhaps this season’s biggest stars are known for their previous works: Lea Thompson (Caroline in the City), Alfonso Ribeiro (Fresh Prince of Bel Air) and Tommy Chong, (the “Chong” in “Cheech and Chong” comedy duo). However you choose to spell celebrity, each season of DWTS is always a huge ratings hit despite the fact that the creators keep messing with the formula. Last year the show went from two nights a week to just one, which was a welcome change from the “results show” which was filled with more fluff than substance. However, for this season, ABC has brought the one hour episode back and for this, I am holding a paddle with the number “2” on it. Another issue I have with changes for this year includes the decision to permanently add a fourth judge; former dancer on the show, Julianne Hough. She is the sister of multi-winner dance star Derek Hough. Does that seem fair? Maybe this is to help attract and keep younger viewers watching the show, but how many judges does the show need? I like all of the show’s judges just fine, but they already get too much face time in front of the camera. They are not the reason people watch the show and their commentaries on every single dance becomes tiresome rather quickly. At least DWTS has kept its most important feature of the show, host Tom Bergeron, who is just professional enough and has an amazing quick wit about him. He will be sharing hosting duties again with Erin Andrews and will be conversing with judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Carrie Ann Inaba and Hough.
This seasons 13 celebrities and dance partners are:
- Jonathan Bennett (actor) and Allison Holker
- Tommy Chong (comedian) and Peta Murgatroyd
- Randy Couture (mixed martial artist) and Karina Smirnoff
- Betsey Johnson (fashion designer) and Tony Dovolani
- Lolo Jones (track athlete) and Keo Motsepe (new dancer this season)
- Bethany Mota (YouTube fashion star) and Derek Hough.
- Janel Parrish (actress and singer) and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
- Alfonso Ribeiro (actor and director) and Witney Carson
- Sadie Robertson (reality TV star) and Mark Ballas
- Antonio Sabato Jr. (actor and model) and Cheryl Burke
- Tavis Smiley (author and talk show host) and Sharna Burgess
- Lea Thompson (actress) and Artem Chigvintsev
- Michael Waltrip (racecar driver) and Emma Slater
Season 19 of Dancing with the Stars debuts on Monday, September 15 at 8:00 p.m. with one couple being eliminated the following night, Tuesday, September 16 at 8:00 p.m. as well.