SAN DIEGO, Calif., September 2, 2020 – Season 29 – yes, 29! – of ‘Dancing With The Stars’ roars in the midst of a pandemic with a new host and brand new cast of assorted reality TV stars, athletes, singers and of course a Bachelorette testing the limits of their challenges. And yes of course, Carole Baskin.
Fans will learn which pro stars the celebrities will partner with on the first show Monday, September 14.
In alphabetical order, the DWTS Season 29 cast includes:
Monica Aldama, age 49, is head cheerleading coach at Navarro College in Texas and known from the six-part Netflix documentary series “Cheer.” Sensing a new theme yet? Aldama’s teams are 14 time NCA Collegiate National Cheerleading Champions.
Carole Baskin, age 59, American big-cat rights activist and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, a non-profit animal sanctuary in Florida who drew public attention after appearing in everyone’s favorite pandemic distraction, the 2020 Netflix documentary series “Tiger King” about Oklahoma-based private zoo operator Joe Exotic. Doesn’t that seem a long time ago?
Kaitlyn Bristowe, age 35, is the required DWTS “Bachelorette” competitor. If you can think back one year, the current DWTS Season 28 champion is former Bachelorette Hannah Brown; Melissa Rycroft won with Tony Dovolani in 2012.
Vernon Davis, age 35, is a retired Pro-Bowl NFL star who won Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos. The tight end also played with Washington and San Francisco. Davis co-led the NFL in touchdown receptions in 2009.
Anne Heche, age 51, actress who started in daytime soap operas before going on to movie roles in “Donnie Brasco” and “Six Days, Seven Nights.” She’s also known for an infamous personal life as the former girlfriend of Ellen Degeneres.
Skai Jackson, age 18, is already a 15-year veteran Disney Channel actress, YouTube star, and author. She was named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential Teens in 2016.
Justina Machado, age 47, is an actress best known for her role as Penelope Alvarez on the revived version of “One Day At A Time.” She’s also been in “Jane the Virgin” and “Six Feet Under.”
Jeannie Mai, age 41, fashion and beauty expert who hosts the daytime talk show “The Real.” She is frequently seen on shows such as Today, Extra, and Entertainment Tonight. At least we know she’ll look great.
Jessie Metcalfe, age 41, is best known for his portrayal of John Rowland on the TV series “Desperate Housewives.” Metcalfe has also had notable roles on “Passions” and played the title role in “John Tucker Must Die.”
AJ McLean, age 42, member of the 1990s singing group “Backstreet Boys” is the latest former boy band singer to appear on DWTS. Joey Fatone and Lance Bass of NSYNC have done well in their appearances in the ballroom.
So excited for this new journey to begin. My competition is fierce but I’ve got my eye on that mirrorball!!! 12 more days until showtime. I’m so ready to get on the stage again and make you all proud!!!! #dwts pic.twitter.com/63N9h0yh3L
— AJ McLean (@aj_mclean) September 2, 2020
Nelly, age 45, is a rapper, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, and sometimes actor from St. Louis. He’s most famous for his hit album “Country Grammar.”
Charles Oakley, age 56, retired NBA player who made the rounds as a power forward known for his rebounding skills with the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, and Houston Rockets. He’s 6-foot-8, which hasn’t worked out all that well in previous seasons.
Nev Schulman, age 35, is a TV host and producer best known for the 2010 documentary film “Catfish,” and the follow-up TV series “Catfish: The TV Show” on MTV.
Chrishell Stause, age 39, has to be the first real estate agent on DWTS. The actress is also a reality TV star from the series “Selling Sunset.” More to the point for DWTS, she’s coming out of a whirlwind marriage and divorce from actor Justin Hartley from “This Is Us.”
Johnny Weir, age 36, follows a long line of figure skating champions on DWTS. He is a two-time Olympian and three-time U.S. National Champion. He is now a commentator and reality star with his friend and fellow skater Tara Lipinski. The costume department must already be going wild imagining outfits for Weir.
This season’s pro dancers include Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten, Sharna Burgess, Cheryl Burke, Artem Chigvintsev, Val Chmerkovskiy, Sasha Farber, Jenna Johnson, Daniella Karagach, Keo Motsepe, Peta Murgatroyd, Pasha Pashkov, Gleb Savchenko, Emma Slater, and Britt Stewart. The celebrity and dancer pairings will be revealed in the premiere episode.
New set, new host, new COVID-19 rules
Supermodel and reality TV show host Tyra Banks replaces Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews as the new DWTS host. No change in the judges. Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Bruno Tonioli will be back – social distancing at the table?
There are new rules in the brand new ballroom requiring all the pros to be quarantined apart from each other, even the married couples. The show will try to prevent two pros both testing positive and being eliminated in one week. No word on the competitors but they’ll likely be kept apart and enter and exit rehearsal and performance spaces alone.
Our early prediction for the Season 29 Mirror Ball Trophy: Never count out the athletes and the youngers. Following in the skates of Evan Lysacek, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Adam Rippon, Johnny Weir is sure to make the top three along with Skai Jackson and Aj McLean. Cheer coach Monica Aldama is a real wild card. Jessie Metcalfe and McLean will have the advantage of the female vote from the audience. Carole Baskin will stick around for a while on notoriety but not on skills.
We say: First, Johnny Weir; Second, Skai Jackson; Third; AJ McLean. Outside shot: Jessie Metcalfe, Monica Aldama
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, Fellow PRSA, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California, a veteran media observer and ballroom dance fanatic. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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