Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to boogie. Season 17 of ABC’s long-running Dancing With the Stars doesn’t officially kick off until September 17, but the cast is already set in stone. This morning (September 4), on Good Morning America, the celebs were announced and officially paired with their professional partners.
There have been a ton of rumors about the cast this year, but luckily we already know that this season is shaping up to be the most star-studded season ever! With Glee’s Amber Riley, former Disney star Corbin Bleu, and Jersey Shore’s Snooki joining the cast, this season is bringing in the big guns. Even the pros are getting in on teasing this season’s stars.
These stars will be in for the ride of their lives this season. Sure, every year is special, but there’s a big format change this season. Joining the slew of other reality competition shows, DWTS will shift from two nights each week to a one-night, two-hour show, with eliminations happening at the end of the episode.
Here are your couples for Season 17 of DWTS:
- Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Sasha Farber
- Keyshawn Johnson and Sharna Burgess
- Valerie Harper and Tristan MacManus
- Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd
- Christina Milian and Mark Ballas
- Bill Nye and Tyne Stecklein
- Elizabeth Berkley and Val Chmerkovskiy
- Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff
- Amber Riley and Derek Hough
- Bill Engvall and Emma Slater
- Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke
- Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani
Despite reports that the Dancing With the Stars Powers That Be were aiming to "age down the cast," all of the familiar tropes are there — from the former Disney star to the '90s television babe, and yes, the athlete. However, DWTS did mange to snag two TV stars with huge teen fan bases — Pretty Little Liars' Brant Daugherty and Glee's Amber Riley. Perhaps this will help DWTS earn higher ratings in the coveted 18-49 demo.
When it comes to sizing up the competition, many of Season 17's celebs have had some sort of dance training. However, Amber could prove to be a early frontrunner given her theatrical background on the FOX musical series (kudos to you, Glee choreographer Zach Woodlee!) and her enormous fan base. Of course, Glee starlet Amber also has the advantage of being paired with fan favorite pro — and defending Mirror Ball champion — Derek Hough, who doesn't go very easy on his partners. (Just ask Maria Menounous and her fractured feet.)
But we can't count out Derek's main competition Val Chmerkovskiy and his celeb partner, former Saved By the Bell star Elizabeth Berkley. We all know Jessie Spano could bust a move or two at Bayside High pep rallies. Plus, who could forget Elizabeth's starring role in Showgirls? Given her history and ballroom-ready physique Elizabeth is definitely going to be one to watch. Also on our radar? Heartthrob Brant Daugherty! Not only is his partnership with Peta perfect showmance material, but he actually might be this season's ringer. Sure, he might not have all the right moves, but if there's one thing DWTS fans love, it's the journey. There's no doubt Brant will shape up to be a serious contender in the next few weeks.
Jersey Shore star Snooki could also surprise us on the dance floor. Sure, we know this pint-sized Seaside meatball can fist pump, but can she dance? Snooki not only is a trained gymnast, but she was also a high school cheerleader (like former Mirror Ball winner Kellie Pickler!), so she knows how to work hard. Not to mention she's totally addicted to the gym and working out these days! Something tells us Sasha is going to have a hard time getting Snooki to leave the rehearsal studio.
While for some celeb contestants it might be the kiss of death to be paired with a new pro — Sorry Bill Engvall! You too, Bill Nye! — Sasha and Snooki seem like the perfect match. We think these two will not only bring charisma and charm, but they'll also bring the sass back to the ballroom, which is something that's sadly been missing. Watch out, Len!
This season's contestants also pack more than a few inspirational stories. From Jack Osbourne's weight loss journey and MS diagnosis to Leah Remini's recent split from the Church of Scientology, Season 17 will certainly bring the drama. However, when it comes to inspirational stories, Valerie Harper is the one you'll need to save your tissues for. Last January, Valerie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Now, not only is the former Broadway dancer competing with fan favorite pro Tristan MacManus on DWTS, but her brain scans are showing signs that her cancer is in remission. Valerie's miraculous recovery may score her some votes, but it's her humor and charm that may secure her the victory.
What do you think about this season's stars and their professional partners? Already rooting for anyone in particular? Hit the comments and let us know!