Make way for another high energy former Disney star in the Dancing With the Stars ballroom! Corbin Bleu, 24, perhaps best known as Chad in the High School Musical series, has joined the cast of DWTS Season 18. You know he's a cutie — even after cutting his trademark mop of curly hair — but here are five other things to know about the former tween dream.
1. He has some dance experience
Corbin was born in Brooklyn, the son of an Italian mom and a Jamaican dad. He has three sisters, Jag, Phoenix, and Hunter. His last name is actually Reivers but he doesn’t use it professionally. He started appearing in commercials at age 2 and — dance experience alert! — also started taking jazz and ballet classes. He was a Ford model by age 4 and was performing off Broadway by age 6. His family moved to L.A. when he was 7 and he eventually got into the Disney circuit, but he also trained in dance at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. Watch him dance (sorta) with Zac Efron in a scene from High School Musical 3.
2. He's been on screen with Miley Cyrus and Amanda Bynes
Corbin was in a couple episodes of Amanda Bynes's The Amanda Show, back in 2001 and 2002 before her life got a lot more bizarre. Corbin was also in a couple of episodes of Miley Cyrus's show Hannah Montana, back in 2006 and 2008 before her life got a lot more bizarre. (Maybe Corbin's a bad luck charm for former child stars? ... Nah) He starred in the Discovery Kids show Flight 29 Down from 2005-2007. You can now see him as Jeffrey King on One Life to Live, and he's been tweeting links to the trailer to his new movie, The Monkey's Paw.
3. He could be the next Zendaya
Speaking of tweeting, Corbin already had more than 1,032,400 Twitter followers before he was even revealed to be dancing on Season 18. (Follow him @corbinbleu.) Chance are, that number will grow exponentially as the season progresses. Last season's runner-up, Zendaya, also had more than a million and she's now up to almost 3.5 million. Zendaya is one of the most successful of the Disney stars to cross over into the DWTS ballroom. Kyle Massey is another — he was the runner-up of Season 11 — and Chelsea Kane made it to third on Season 12. Disney stars bring youth, energy, loyal fan bases, and usually a lot of musicality, since they tend to also have music careers on the side. (And Corbin does have a music career.) All that together, Corbin could be a favorite this season.
4. He’s athletic — and looks good (nearly) naked
Corbin isn’t a pro athlete, but he played a basketball star in High School Musical and a motocross champion in the 2009 movie Free Style. As the New York Daily News noted, he must be pretty athletic. “Actually, bad as I am at most sports involving a ball - I don't have that bone in me — I'm still a very physically active person, so I usually am able to pick it up and fake it,” Corbin said. “It's become a running joke for me and my family. There's always some new physical stunt of some sort I have to achieve, whether basketball, baseball, boxing, jump rope, motocross.”
In the same 2009 interview, the reportedly 5' 11" tall star talked about working out and dieting to look good in the shirtless ads he did for his now defunct modeling show, The Beautiful Life. “I've been working my ass off, man,” Corbin said. “I've been with a trainer for the past year and a half and on a strict diet: no carbs, no cheese, no sugar, low sodium. And we might as well have been naked for the photos — I had a Speedo rolled down as far as it would go, and it was really tight.” So we know he’s physically active and can look good shirtless — that should come in handy on DWTS!
5. He has (or had) a girlfriend
Corbin has managed to stay pretty low-key with his private life — which is quite the feat, when you consider how much his fellow High School Musical stars Zac, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale have been in the public eye for their relationships. In mid-April 2013, Corbin had a Q&A with BET, and they asked if he had a girlfriend. Here's the posted answer: "[Long silence.] Yes, I do. And that's all I'm going to say about that! That's just the one part of my life I want to keep personal." Good for him! It's possible we'll see and hear more about her (if they're still together) once he's in the DWTS ballroom. At one point he was rumored to be dating his HSM co-star Monique Coleman, but they both said it's not true, that they were just friends, or even more like brother and sister.
Are you excited to see Corbin dance up a storm this fall? Sound off in the comments!