'Dancing with the Stars' reveals Season 20 cast, pro pairings and two surprises
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/24/2015
Dancing with the Stars' twentieth-season celebrity cast and professional dance partner pairings have officially been announced by ABC in addition to a couple of big surprises.
ABC revealed 11 of the 12 celebrities and their pro partners who will be competing on the show next season, which marks the reality dancing competition's 10-year anniversary. All the pro-partners are returning dancers.
After previously confirming he would not be returning to Dancing with the Stars for Season 20 because of a Broadway gig, Derek Hough will actually be coming back and competing with Nastia Liukin. Hough, a five-time mirror-ball trophy champion, rearranged his schedule to make it happen. Liukin seems like a very fitting partner for Hough, as she has won five Olympic medals and nine world medals.
Liukin will be joining the twentieth season's five other female celebrities: Singer Patti LaBelle, model and actress Charlotte McKinney, The Hunger Games star Willow Shields, actress and author Suzanne Somers, and actress Rumer Willis.
The five male celebrities who were announced are U.S. Army veteran Noah Galloway, Shark Tank star Robert Herjavec, R5 frontman -- and second cousin of Derek and Julianne Hough -- Riker Lynch, singer and deejay RedFoo, and former NFL player Michael Sam.
Another male celebrity has yet to be disclosed but will be at a later date. He will be paired with the show's defending champion Witney Carson for Season 20. Rumors have it that Chris Soules will compete on the show after his The Bachelor edition ends.
"I can't say much. I'm not allowed to. I can tell you that you guys need to be super excited because he's ready to bring it," Carson said.
"That's right, her partner couldn't rose -- I mean, rise -- so early to be here," Bergeron hinted of the twelfth celebrity that will complete the cast.
"That was very subtle," GMA host Lara Spencer said, further reinforcing the "rose" word is a huge hint. "Very, very subtle."
The 12 celebrities and their professional partners will vie for a new gold mirror-ball trophy in honor of the show's tenth anniversary.
Below is a list of the celebrity and professional pairings:
LaBelle will be paired with Artem Chigvintsev, who served as a member of the Dancing with the Stars Troupe before appearing as a first-time pro last season during which he claimed sixth place with celebrity partner Lea Thompson.
FOLLOW REALITY TV WORLD ON THE ALL-NEW GOOGLE NEWS!
Reality TV World is now available on the all-new Google News app and website. Click here to visit our Google News page, and then click FOLLOW to add us as a news source!
McKinney will be partnered with Keo Motsepe, who joined the show last season as a pro and will be taking his second stab at the reality dancing competition.
Shields will be paired with Mark Ballas, who is returning for his sixteenth season and has two mirror-ball trophies of his own. He won Season 6 with Kristi Yamaguchi and Season 8 with Shawn Johnson. Last season, he finished in second place with Sadie Robertson.
Somers will be partnered with Tony Dovolani, who will be back for his nineteenth season and wonDancing with the Stars' fifteenth season -- which was the show's first-ever all-stars edition -- with Melissa Rycroft. He placed tenth with celebrity partner Betsey Johnson last season.
Galloway will be partnered with Sharna Burgess, who made her debut on Dancing with the Stars' sixteenth season. Before that, she was a member of the show's Dance Troupe for three seasons. She made it to Season 18's semifinals with partner Charlie White.
Herjavec will be paired with Kym Johnson, who left the show in 2013 after winning twice with Donny Osmond and Hines Ward. She'll be competing on her fourteenth season.
Lynch will be partnered with Allison Holker, who performed as a pro on the Dancing with the Stars stage for the first time last season and had some trouble adjusting to judges' standards and expectations. She'll be returning for the next edition with energy and experience.
RedFoo will be paired with Emma Slater, who will be back for her fourth season on Dancing with the Stars. She appeared on Season 17, 18 and 19 as a pro. Last season, she landed in seventh place with celebrity partner Michael Waltrip.
Sam will be partnered with Peta Murgatroyd, who will be gracing the stage again for her eighth season. She made her debut as a pro on the series' thirteenth season and was the first pairing voted out, however, she went on to win DWTS' fourteenth season with celebrity partner Donald Driver.
Carson's partner is still a surprise. Carson made her Dancing with the Stars debut as a pro for the show's eighteenth season. She won Season 19 with her celebrity partner Alfonso Ribeiro.
Also during Tuesday's GMA broadcast, some of the celebrities commented on what they are expecting from the show. LaBelle has "no strategy," while McKinney is excited to "burn off all the burgers" she ate while filming a controversial Super Bowl commercial for Carl's Jr.
Sam noted he's a "competitor and can perform." Shields is the youngest contestant to ever compete on the show and she's "excited."
Herjavec explained he's "all in" and only worried about competing against himself. Somers told GMA she can't wait to see if the hormones and vitamins she's been taking will pay off. Galloway said in addition to being a double-amputee, his greatest challenge will be dancing itself because he's never really tried.
Last season's Dancing with the Stars winner, Ribeiro, made an appearance and offered the celebrities some advice.
"I would say to everybody is that simply it is a marathon, not a sprint," the former Fresh Prince of Bel Air star said. "It's not about winning Week 1, it's about winning that final week. You have to pace yourself."