UPDATE 3: According to AfterBuzz TV's Kristyn Burtt, Tristan is out! She never heard that Derek was ever out, though, so it may not be a matter of someone taking Tristan's place. Ugh. Please let this one be wrong!
UPDATE 2: According to E! News, both Maks AND Derek will compete this spring! So maybe the list @DWTSGossip got wasn't final.
UPDATE 1: Nothing is official until ABC announces the new cast on March 4, but here’s the rumored list of returning pros, via @DWTSGossip: Maksim Chmerkovskiy, (yep, they say he’s back to compete, so it’s a real Season 10 reunion for Maks and Erin), Val Chmerkovskiy, Mark Ballas, Tony Dovolani, Tristan MacManus, Henry Byalikov (this would be his first season as a competing pro, if true), Karina Smirnoff, Cheryl Burke, Peta Murgatroyd, Sharna Burgess, Emma Slater, and Witney Carson (this would also be her first season, if she was indeed promoted from the troupe). If that’s true, it means no Derek Hough for the first time since he took off Season 12. Also no Sasha Farber or Tyne Stecklein, who competed last season. What do you think?
The Dancing With the Stars set-up keeps changing all around us, but here’s one thing we can count on: This spring, a bunch of celebs will dance, some of them badly, alongside their amazing pro partners. DWTS Season 18 premieres Monday, March 17, and Sasha Farber recently said the pros would learn their fate in mid-February. That’s right around the corner.
At this point, the pro lineup is still guesswork, and it’s possible The Powers That Be will want to shake things up again with brand new faces. But we kinda hope they know too much change isn’t good, and let us keep the usual suspects — heck, maybe they’ll even bring back some past beloved pros to make the show feel like “home” again.
So here’s our guess list for the returning pros, with updates hopefully to come from the pros themselves if they learn their fates and share the news:
Cheryl and Tony have been on every single season of DWTS since they both arrived on Season 2. Karina started on Season 3 and has danced for all but Season 10. Mark has been on every season since he started on Season 5, and in recent interviews he's talked about embracing the changes on the show and defending contestants who come in with "previous dance experience." They all have cool gigs outside DWTS, so there’s always the possibility that they’ll choose this time to explore other full-time options, but we'd be most surprised if these four weren’t asked to return with acceptances in reply.
Peta, Val, and Tristan all started their competitive DWTS lives on Season 13, and they’ve been going strong ever since. Peta won Season 14 and Val has been close a couple of times now. (It’s only a matter of time before a Chmerkovskiy wins this show!) Tristan hasn’t come as close, but that’s mostly due to his lack of strong partners; we know he has loyal fans. We’d be not only surprised but extremely sad to lose this group for the spring.
Probably... More Than 50 Percent
This group is relatively new to the pro game, but they’ve each won us over in different ways. Sharna has our undying loyalty — from her feisty personality to her beautiful therapy with Andy Dick. He should hire her on a full-time basis. Emma worked wonders with Season 17’s Bill Engvall, perfectly zoning in on his strengths, which may or may not have been related to dancing. We’ve loved Sasha since he debuted in the DWTS pro troupe, he’s like lightning on the dance floor, he just has to find the right dance match. We really hope all three are asked back; if they are, we'd be shocked to see them turn the opportunity down.
Tyne just had her first season this past fall, and it was short-lived due to Bill Nye’s injury. We never really got to know her, so maybe she’ll get another shot this spring. Or maybe they’ll bring back Lindsay Arnold or tag in Witney Carson. Or what if they go for a blast from the recent past, like Chelsie Hightower or Anna Trebunskaya>
And then there’s Derek. Derek has only taken one season off (Season 12) since he started on Season 5, but every season the question comes up as to whether he’ll return. He just won his fifth season, second in a row, and he may be ready to explore new worlds. But we’ve thought that before. Derek is always a last-minute thing. We won’t be surprised if he returns, but we also won’t be shocked if he says “It’s been a blast,” and rides off into the sunset. If Derek leaves, who would take his spot? Gleb Savchenko? Louis van Amstel? Dmitry Chaplin? Do you think Maksim Chmerkovskiy would jump back in? (No, probably not.) Maybe a different troupe member would get a shot...
Who are you most hoping to see return for the spring season? Do you think we’ll keep the exact Season 17 lineup or maybe see some old or new faces in the mix?