Dancing With the Stars 2014: Who’s Dancing What on Week 1?
Cha-Cha-Cha, Foxtrot, or Contemporary? What’s the best dance to have in the first week of Dancing With the Stars? The 12 couples of the spring 2014 Season 18 will show off those three styles on the premiere, which airs Monday, March 17 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Here’s a quick rundown of who is dancing what, with thoughts from the couples on their strengths and weaknesses — plus just a lot of random tomfoolery. This seems like a fun group.
Val got himself another TV nostalgia star! First Jessie Spano and now Winnie Cooper. He told Access Hollywood he remembers being "young and in love" with Danica’s Wonder Years character, even if he didn't know her name in real life.
Danica said rehearsals have been grueling but fun. She's a math whiz and a fast-talking charmer, but you have to watch her Access video to see her completely misunderstand the Switch-Up question and accidentally say she's totally ready to leave Val for his brother Maksim Chmerkovskiy. For his part, Val is glad Maks is back on the show so their grandma will stop calling Val, asking him why Maks isn't on TV. Love it! Grandma Chmerkovskiy is already the champion of this season.
Sharna told Ice Network Charlie is "absolutely wonderful" and "he has such beautiful lines." Their first dance is Contemporary, so he should be able to show that off, and Sharna can also show her vision. Sharna told us that their "Week 1 dance is going to be just beautiful. I haven't been able to choreograph a Contemporary routine on the show yet with any of my partners, so I have just had so much fun." She told Ice Network, "For me, it's so amazing to be this creative, to have so much freedom in the steps and the choreography that I want to do,” she said. “He's wonderful to talk to about my concepts and the characters because I dived straight into that, and he seems to love it."
Charlie is a pro ice dancer, but Sharna told Ice Network, "There are some awkward moments when it comes to hip action, and we do have a lot of work to do, but for the most part he's an incredible student with a wonderful ability to learn and train his body to do things. I couldn't be happier right now." We're happy she's happy!
Maks talked to Ice Network about how refreshing it is to have a "hungry-to-learn student" like Meryl. "I'm starting from zero," Maks said. "We worked on literally walking — Rumba walks, Cha Cha steps -- things that are utmost basic. On this, I build. The product that she's going to have at the end will be the result of meticulous education. This is the first time I'm taking this approach on Dancing with the Stars... I want her to dance." He said he truly enjoys teaching her and he wants them to be "that couple that laughs because we're good. Let's have a great time and let somebody else stress out."
Amy is pulling double duty between DWTS and the Paralympic Winter Games and she's competing in Russia right before the Season 18 premiere. She and Derek don't have a lot of rehearsal time, but you can see them in the studio in this ABC News video. If the cameras didn't focus on it, you wouldn't know she's been a double-amputee since age 19. She's gorgeous and she looks like a natural dancer. ABC said she has running legs and walking legs and they are even developing some dancing legs for her. Amy said she's most excited for the dancing, music and costumes of DWTS.
Witney told Access Hollywood her little sister is a big Cody Simpson fan, and can't wait to meet him. Cody said they are both excited to be the youngest on the show. He hopes they can get Hip Hop at some point this season. For now, he's just working on the Cha-Cha, hoping he can get that down. They have a cool connection in rehearsals, and he said they're in it for the long haul. No permanent switch, even with the twist coming. He wouldn't leave Witney.
Billy and Emma will start with Cha-Cha. The Star Wars legend told On the Red Carpet he knows a little bit about Latin dancing since he did a lot of it when he was growing up in New York City. Billy hopes to meet the challenge, with the help of "this beautiful, wonderful human being," Emma.
Emma said initially America will hopefully say they like Lando Calrissian, then say that guy has style, suave, and rhythm. She said Billy really does have great rhythm. He's going to bring a different edge and flavor to the show. It feels like art this time, she said. The 76-year-old actor had a cane with him in his OTRC interview, but he said it's just part of his style as a bon vivant.
Diana loves everything about this show and she's been in the audience to watch DWTS in the past. Henry told On the Red Carpet the number one thing you want in a partner is someone who's willing and determined, so he's excited for her attitude. Diana said it's daunting to have so many athletes on the show, especially the ice dancers, but there's nothing she can do about it. Right now, she's just focused on herself and Henry, locked in a room learning the Foxtrot. (There are worse fates!)
Diana said there have already been times when Henry has told her to do something 17 times and all 17 times she's led with the wrong foot. This early in the game, he's been very gentle and understanding, but she doesn't expect that will last. Henry is just over the moon to be here and have Diana, and he's ready for his first competitive season to start.
NeNe told Extra the first couple of rehearsals have been tiring but rewarding. Tony said she showed up ready to work but maybe she didn't know what she signed up for, since she's a little sore. But NeNe said she's a go-getter and a hustler and maybe some people didn't know that. "And I'm competitive, so let's go." NeNe said her husband Gregg is so excited she's on the show, he even watches the show more than she does, and he's danced with Tony too.
Peta told On the Red Carpet that James has incredibly musicality and timing, so she can throw any sequence at him and he can do it. He picks up choreography quickly and he's good with tricks. James said he loves competition, and he likes that there are so many athletes on the show … even if two just won gold for dancing on ice.
On Monday, May 10, Peta tweeted some nice pics of the pair in rehearsals, writing, "7 DAYS!! @DancingABC March 17th @jamesmaslow and I can't wait to show u how hard we've worked! #TeamJeta #foxtrot."
Karina told Access Hollywood their first dance is Contemporary and Sean is incredibly strong, which is good. Yeah, he makes some sounds when he has to lift her above his head, but he gets it done! So expect at least one major lift on Week 1. Plus, his worth ethic is "incredible," she said. Sean said he thinks the Waltz will be his favorite dance. They've already started to chip away at it a little bit.
Cheryl told On the Red Carpet that one of Drew's biggest strengths is that he's Drew Carey. She figures his fan base will be pretty big, since even she knows him. He's one of the few contestants she didn't have to Google! He also has great charisma and personality. She just wants him to have fun with the experience and have the audience relate to him. He has no previous dance experience, but she's teaching him technique. Drew joked that he thinks it's "super fair" that they put Olympic gold medal dance people on the show with comedians. "Way to go!" He's just going to try hard and have fun and he hopes that's enough for the audience "'cause that's all I got!" He tweeted that their first dance is Foxtrot.
Candace told On the Red Carpet she's been waiting for this for a long time and she's so excited. Mark said Candace's biggest strengths are her musicality and her attitude. She has no dance experience, but she's very coordinated and athletic. Candace said she just wants to do the best job she can do, and hopefully that impresses her kids. She tweeted that their first dance is Contemporary.
Which team are you most excited to see in action? Do you any favorites so far?
DWTS Season 18 premieres Monday, March 17 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.