Often when reality shows announce all-star seasons, the stars are lackluster C-listers who were eliminated in the third weeks of their runs. Not on Dancing with the Stars : The roster for Season 15 includes six winners and at least three runners-up, and many of them are among the most popular celebrities to appear on the show.
When Tom Bergeron bellows Live! Monday, Sept. 24, from a Southern California ballroom, he will be joined by multiple athletes, a few actors, a reality star and a politician s daughter. They are
1. Kelly Monaco: first-ever DWTS winner, General Hospital star 2. Drew Lachey: Season 2 winner, the man behind Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy, cited repeatedly in DWTS fan polls as the best routine ever 3. Emmitt Smith: Season 3 winner, Twinkle Toes himself 4. Apolo Anton Ohno: Season 4 winner, Olympian, New York Marathoner and Subway pitch man 5. Joey Fatone: Season 4 runner-up and the N*Sync star who will be appearing (Season 7 s Lance Bass won t.) 6. Helio Castroneves: somewhat-controversial winner of Season 5 (Many thought Mel B should have won. She isn t participating here.) 7. Shawn Johnson: winner of the closest vote ever from Season 8 8. Gilles Marini: Season 8 runner-up, everyone s favorite neighbor from the first Sex and the City movie 9. Melissa Rycroft: Season 8 finalist (Many DWTS viewers, including your recapper, regard the eighth season as the best the show has had.) 10. Pamela Anderson: Season 10 s woman of risqu costumes and the only All-Star not to have made the finals 11. Bristol Palin: Season 11 finalist and the selection likely to garner the most ire 12. Kirstie Alley: A woman who hasn t stopped dancing since she was the runner-up in Season 12
But wait, there s more! This season, viewers can vote to choose the final contestant. The choices are:
Here s what we don t yet know: the pros. That announcement will come later in August. However, we know for sure that the pairings won t be identical to what they were before, as Cheryl Burke has three former partners dancing (Drew, Emmitt, Gilles) and the pros for four of the stars (Kelly, Apolo, Helio, Pamela) aren t on the show anymore. Will the stars have the same magic when they re paired with someone else, or was it chemistry that ultimately carried the day for them on their first go-round?
Several of the contestants have performed the dances many consider the most memorable of the show s history. Avid viewers won t forget the image of Cheryl on Drew s back in Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy or Helio in the bright yellow suit he wore in one of his final dances, fondly referred to by fans as the banana suit dance. Of course, with the talent this high, the pressure to choreograph dynamic routines increases, and so, likely, does the injury count.
Some fans are likely hoping for a return of pro Julianne Hough, who won Mirror Ball trophies in her first two seasons on the show with Apolo and Helio. However, she s busy with a music and movie career (she was in the remake of Footloose as well as the recent Rock of Ages ) and likely will be too busy to come back.
Her brother Derek, meanwhile, is known for bringing female stars to the semifinals numerous times, but none of the three-time champion s former partners will be back on the show well, except Brooke Burke-Charvet, who is likely to return as co-host. Derek indicated this week that this season will be his last hurrah. Will DWTS producers feel pressure to give him someone especially stellar? How will they incorporate the winners of last season s Design-a-Dance, Tristan MacManus and Chelsie Hightower?
Season 8 boasts the most returning contestants, with the top three from that season Shawn, Gilles and Melissa competing against one another again. Shawn s win that season was a surprise to many after Gilles appeared to lead the pack throughout the season, with Melissa close behind him.
One name likely to spark more controversy especially in an election year, even if her mother isn t running for vice president this time is Bristol. With her claim to fame among the weakest the show has had daughter of a politician, thrust into the spotlight after she got pregnant out of wedlock she lasted longer on the show than many would have expected, which critics suspected was due to political votes from her mother s supporters. Will that happen again this go-round? Has the audience tired of her, based on dismal ratings for her recent Lifetime show? Will viewers not even recognize her after all the plastic surgery she s had?
Of the wild-card contestants, Carson had the shortest time on the show, with a Week 5 elimination. (Sabrina lasted one more week, and Kyle Massey was the runner-up his season.) However, he is likely to garner the most votes thanks to his popularity. Carson has a unique style and strong personality that helped him last longer on the show than his dancing ability on its own would have, and he has made guest appearances several times. He is most well-known for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which had a broader audience than the Disney Channel shows that featured Kyle and Sabrina.
What stars do you think are missing, readers? Who would you like to see paired up? And of course, who are you rooting for?
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