ABC has dug a little deeper into the athlete pool to fill its roster for a new season of “Dancing with the Stars,” which begins with a two-hour premiere Monday, March 18.
The network announced the new cast this morning. It includes two Olympic gold medalists and a Super Bowl champion. But the other names — well they are a little lesser known to the masses.
Some of the more popular professional dancers are missing this season, as well, including Maksim Chermkovskiy, a fan favorite. So some of the pros will be as unfamiliar as the “stars” they are dancing with.
Here are the new couples:
Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess — Andy is a notorious loose cannon and that probably won’t go over well with the DWTS audience. And add to that the fact that Burgess is an “unknown” pro and they look to be candidates for the first couple leaving the ballroom.
Victor Ortiz and Lindsay Arnold — Ortiz is a boxing champion and Arnold is an alum from the Fox series “So You Think You Can Dance.” Unless their chemistry is good, they may have a tough time.
Lisa Vanderpump and Gleb Savchenko — Another reality star and another pro that no one has heard of. Risky pairing all around.
D.L. Hughley and Cheryl Burke — Finally, a pro we recognize. Burke has a winning record, but can she mold comedian Hughley into a ballroom dancer?
Wynonna Judd and Tony Dovolani — The country singer has a great partner in reigning champ Dovolani. But will her country music fans bring in enough votes?
Zendaya Coleman and Valentin Chmerkovskiy — She’s a teenage Disney star and he has a tendency to rip his clothes off during dances. Um, not a good match, ABC.
Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson — These two attractive Australians (he’s a star of soap “General Hospital”) could go far if they have good chemistry.
Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough — Pickler is the first former “American Idol” contestant to appear on the show and her personality can be endearing. Derek is a fan favorite so they could be the team to beat.
Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas — Raisman is a gymnast and Olympic gold medalist, a combination that has done well on the show (see Shawn Johnson). Ballas scored a good partner, again.
Dorothy Hamill and Tristan Macmanus — Another Olympic champion, this one a figure skater who may take her charm and grace all the way to the finals with her Irish partner.
Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff — Shocked that there’s a champion football player on the cast list? Don’t be. Add that he’s paired with a former show champ and you’ve got the recipe for the finals.