On Sept. 3, “Good Morning America” revealed the new “DWTS” cast members and their pro partners for season 19. As in recent seasons, the new cast includes a mix of young and old, famous and not so famous celebrities, who will spray on those tans, lace up those uncomfortable shoes, and compete for that charmingly cheesy, yet coveted mirror ball trophy.
Despite last season’s rumors that pointed to the contrary, head judge Len Goodman is returning for the 19th season of “Dancing with the Stars.” Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli will once again join him at the judges’ table to flash their scoring paddles. However, this time around, past dance pro Julianne Hough will also be on board. According to E!online, “DWTS” new showrunner Rob Wade is returning to the ballroom after exiting stage left in season 11. ESPN star Erin Andrews will once again join longtime host Tom Bergeron to cover the behind-the-scenes action.
Last year, Olympic ice dancer and gold medalist Meryl Davis and her pro partner, Maks Chmerkovskiy danced to perfection to claim the mirror ball trophy. At one point, Maks was considered for a judge’s position this season, but it just wasn’t in the cards. Throughout last season, fans speculated about a possible romance between Maks and Meryl, which fueled votes and sparked continued interest. As posted by Hollywood Take on Tuesday, Maks might possibly be involved in a relationship with Jennifer Lopez.
So, who will be competing this season on “Dancing with the Stars” to take over the reins from Maks and Meryl? Below is the new cast for season 19 – celebrities + their pro partners.
1. Jonathan Bennett and Allison Holker
The 33-year-old actor is best known for his movie role in “Mean Girls,” plus TV roles on “Veronica Mars” and “All My Children.” Partner Allison Holker competed on the second season of “So You Think You Can Dance” and eventually returned to the show as an all-star.
2. Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd
The 76-year-old Canadian actor is best known for his roles in the Cheech & Chong movies and comedy albums. He also played Leo on “That 70s Show.” Australian Peta Murgatroyd has competed on six seasons of “DWTS.” She won with Donald Driver in season 14.
3. Randy Couture and Karina Smirnoff
The 51-year-old UFC fighter is the first of only two fighters to hold two UFC championship titles in two different divisions. He’s partnered with Karina, who has competed on 15 seasons of “DWTS” and won with J.R. Martinez in season 13.
4. Betsey Johnson and Tony Dovolani
The 73-year-old designer is hoping her flair for dresses, shoes and handbags translates to success on the dance floor. Partner Tony Dovolani, a fan favorite, has competed on 17 seasons and won once with partner Melissa Rycroft.
5. Lolo Jones and Keo Motsepe
Lolo Jones (age 32) attended LSU and is one of the few athletes who have competed in both the Summer (track and field) and Winter (bobsled) Olympic Games. Keo is a new pro and hails from South Africa. In 2012, he toured with “Burn the Floor.”
6. Bethany Mota and Derek Hough
The 18-year old entrepreneur shot to YouTube fame after creating her own channel, which specialized in “haul” videos. Since 2009, she’s gone on multiple tours to interact with fans. Partner Derek Hough is the most celebrated pro, with “DWTS” wins with past partners Brooke Burke, Nicole Scherzinger, Jennifer Grey, Kellie Pickler, and Amber Riley.
7. Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy
The 25-year-old stunner is best known for portraying Mona on “Pretty Little Liars.” Her partner, Val, has been part of the “DWTS” cast for just six seasons, but has yet to win the mirror ball trophy.
8. Alfonso Ribiero and Witney Carson
The 42-year-old actor rose to fame in the 90s playing Carlton on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” with Will Smith. His partner, Witney Carson, was a contestant on “So You Think You Can Dance” and was partnered with Cody Simpson last season on “DWTS.”
9. Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas
Sadie Robertson (17) is the pretty daughter of Korie and Willie Robertson, CEO of Duck Commander and star of the hit reality TV series “Duck Dynasty. Pro dancer Mark Ballas has competed on 14 seasons of “DWTS” and won with partners Kristi Yamaguchi and Shawn Johnson.
10. Antonio Sabato Jr. and Cheryl Burke
The 42-year-old star of “General Hospital” was born in Italy and shot to fame after appearing as a Calvin Klein model. His partner, Cheryl Burke, is a long time fan favorite who has competed on 17 seasons of “Dancing with the Stars.” She won in season two with Drew Lachey and season three with Emmitt Smith.
11. Tavis Smiley and Sharna Burgess
The 49-year-old talk show host is also an author, liberal political commentator, entrepreneur, advocate and philanthropist. The man of many talents is partnered with Sharna Burgess, who has competed on “DWTS” with partners Andy Dick, Keyshawn Johnson and Charlie White.
12. Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev
This “Back to the Future” star is 53 years old. Other roles include “Caroline in the City,” “All the Right Moves,” Switched at Birth” and more. Partner Artem Chigvintsev is a brand new “DWTS” pro who competed on the first season of “So You Think You Can Dance,” plus “Strictly Come Dancing.”
13. Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater
The 51-year-old race car driver is a 2-timer winner of the Daytona 500. He’s also a published author and racing commentator. Partner Emma Slater has competed on “DWTS” with past partners Bill Engvall (4th place) and Billy Dee Williams (10th place).
The season 19 premiere of “Dancing with the Stars” airs at 8 pm EST on Monday, Sept. 15 on ABC.