Previews

Dancing with the Stars Season 18 Preview: The Cast and Changes

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

It’s a new season of Dancing with the Stars and I’m sure you know by now there are a few changes. The first major change is that Harold Wheeler and the Orchestra were let go after 17 seasons. But wait. There’s more news. Brooke Burke-Charvet is out and Erin Andrews is in.

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

That’s enough change right? No would be the answer to that question. Well the biggest twist this season is that at some point in the competition there will be a change in partners. This has never been done and the viewers get to decide what the new pairings will be. I don’t know how this is going to work but we will see. It’s a little stressful. The other two firsts: the first hockey player and the first double amputee.

Wow, so much to look forward to but let’s go ahead and breakdown the partnerships for this season:

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Sean Avery and Karina Smirnoff: The Former NHL player has a reputation for speaking his mind on and off the ice. Sean also has had an internship at Vogue and was a model. Most of the time athletes do well on the show and since he is the first hockey player who knows how this will translate. Karina is a good choice to pair Sean with because she won’t put up with any BS.

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: DJ Tanner from Full House is all grown up. Now, Jodie Sweetin who played Stephanie Tanner on the show was the “dancer” so how will Candace fair? Only time will tell. She is partnered with Mark but sometimes he forgets that he is not the “star” of the pair.

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke: Cheryl Burke is one of the best teachers on the show.  Comedians don’t usually do well, except last year Bill Engvall got to the finals. Will Drew be the first comedian to win the mirror ball? Another one that we will have to wait and see.

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: The bad boy of dance is back! Fresh off her Gold Medal win in Ice Dancing at the Olympics in Sochi, Meryl Davis is already a favorite to win. Will this give her a leg up in the ballroom? Will not working with her Ice Dance partner, Charlie, change everything?  Will working with Maks make her cry? It’s a mystery we will solve soon together.

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Nene Leakes and Tony Dovolani: I have to be honest and say I’m really excited that Nene is on this season. She’s funny and as she said on GMA this morning, she does not have two left feet. She is already a fan favorite on the Real Housewives of Atlanta, will she be that for Season 18? Tony will have a good time and long as he doesn’t get on Nene’s bad side everything should be fine. (Honestly I was kind of hoping she would be with Maks because they would either be best friends or enemies. But they could be paired up later in the season…..)

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: I have to say he is a good looking boy/man. He is in the band Big Time Rush but does that mean he can dance? I think he will have some moves but what do I know? This is the second season in a row Peta got herself a good looking young man.  Will see how this pans out.

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Danica McKellar and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: Winnie Cooper from the Wonder Years is all grown up just like DJ Tanner. I have to say, I’m a little uneasy about her. She came out dancing when she was announced on GMA, which is great. But it came across a little awkward. A lot of young boys had crushes on her and I think Val was one of them. (Did you see the way he looked at her?)

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Diana Nyad and Henry Byalikov: This woman tried swimming from Cuba to Florida four times. On her fifth time she made it. One thing going for her is endurance. She is also a broadcaster and author. I think she has the Eye of the Tiger and is going to go for it full force. She was paired with new pro Henry — someone we know from the troop from the last couple of seasons.  Can Nyad dance and can Byalikov teach? Good questions…

Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: He is the five-time champion of the mirror ball including last season. She is a para-Olympian snowboarder who lost both of her legs at the age of 19. Derek is excellent in using his partner’s strengths. It is going to be a really interesting pairing and can’t wait to see how it will work. I’m rooting for them. (But again what happens when they change partners? It’s so stressful!)

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Cody Simpson and Witney Carson: Cody Simpson is young, Australian and a pop star. This is Witney’s first season as a pro after being a part of the Troop. Simpson has a lot of young fans so I’m sure he won’t be out the first week. But watching him on GMA this morning, I feel like the guy needs to lighten up a little bit. His biggest competition for the teenybopper vote is James Maslow.  Which boy band/pop star will stick around?

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: Charlie is the other half of the Charlie/Meryl Gold Medal Ice Dancing team. He’s partnered with Sharna who does great choreography and made Andy Dick a dancer! Not working together with his partner Meryl will either hinder him or make him work harder! It will be a fight to the finish.

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/ABC

Billy Dee Williams and Emma Slater: Oh yeah….. Mr. Smooth and Cool himself! He is known for such roles in Lady Sings the Blues and as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars movies — The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Most recently his voice can be heard in the blockbuster The Lego Movie.  This is Emma Slater’s second season and last time along with Bill Engvall made it all the way to the finals. Can she make it happen again?

One other note is that Derek Hough worked with Meryl Davis and Charlie White on their choreography for this past Olympics. This is another reason these two could be duking it out at the end. Does it give them both an advantage over the other contestants? We shall see. See you in two weeks!

Dancing with the Stars Season 18 premieres on Monday March 17th at 8/7c on ABC.

 

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