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‘Dancing With The Stars’ hits the floor for Season 27

Written By | Sep 23, 2018
DeMarcus Ware and Lindsay Arnold kick off Season 27 of Dancing With The Stars as one of the favorites. Photo: ABC

DeMarcus Ware and Lindsay Arnold kick off Season 27 of Dancing With The Stars as one of the favorites. Photo: ABC

SAN DIEGO, Calif., September 23, 2018 – Season 27 – yes, 27! – of ‘Dancing With The Stars’ kicks off with a brand new cast and two back to back nights of dancing to test the new competitors right out of the starting gate.
The show returns with the familiar assortment of current and former athletes, vintage TV stars, reality TV personalities, Disney actors, and individuals testing the limits of their challenges.

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The competitors will dance a Jive, Foxtrot, Cha Cha, Quickstep or Salsa on Monday. Then, they’ll dance the same style on Tuesday night to a different song. There is no word whether the choreography will be the same. It’s an odd twist, but by Season 27 it’s getting tougher and tougher every year to come up with new ideas.

Speaking of new, notice there are several new pros on the season, and only one of the original season pros left, Cheryl Burke. Fresh faces are a plus because these younger pros come with new ideas and fewer old habits to lean on. Val Chmerkovskiy and Artem Chigvintsev (who danced many years on the British version on the show) are the other senior members still remaining. Alan Bersten is back, and the rookie on the show this year is Brandon Armstrong.
No eliminations in the first week – fans won’t see anyone go home until Week 2.

The Season 27 cast of "Dancing With The Stars" includes (L to R): Bobby Bones, Tinashe, Juan Pablo Di Pace, DeMarcus Ware, John Schneider, Alexis Ren, Milo Manheim, Evanna Lynch, Nikki Glaser, Danielle Umsted, Joe Amabile, Nancy McKeon, and Mary Lou Retton. Photo: ABC

The Season 27 cast of “Dancing With The Stars” includes (L to R): Bobby Bones, Tinashe, Juan Pablo Di Pace, DeMarcus Ware, John Schneider, Alexis Ren, Milo Manheim, Evanna Lynch, Nikki Glaser, Danielle Umsted, Joe Amabile, Nancy McKeon, and Mary Lou Retton. Photo: ABC

The Season 27 cast lineup includes:

Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten: Alexis is a social media and magazine model. She has 12 million social network followers. Sometimes this translates to votes, but often it doesn’t.
Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess: Bones host a national country music radio show heard across the country. He also does work as a stand up comedian, and he recently appeared as a mentor on the new version of “American Idol.”
Danelle Umstead and Artem Chigvintsev: You may not know Danielle’s name, but if you watched the Winter Paralympics you know her story. With husband Rob as her guide, Danielle has won multiple Paralympic and world championship medals in adaptive skiing while legally blind. She will be the first blind competitor on the show.
DeMarcus Ware and Lindsay Arnold: Dallas Cowboys defensive star Ware played for 12 seasons in the NFL, and played for the Denver Broncos in 2014 when the team won Super Bowl 50. He retired in 2017.
Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe: Harry Potter fans are thrilled to see the actress who plays the role of Luno Lovegood in the film series on the show. DWTS fans are excited to see Keo Motsepe draw a partner with real winning potential under AARP age.
Joe “Grocery Store Joe” Amabile and Jenna Johnson: Joe is the required “Bachelor/Bachelorette” contestant. Some turn out to be decent, others not so much.
John Schneider and Emma Slater: The ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ star has already generated a ton of talk about his appearance on the show. Also a singer, Schneider at least has a feel for the music.
Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke: Juan Pablo is from Argentina, and a multilingual singer and film/TV/theater actor. He played “Petros” opposite Meryl Streep in the original “Mamma Mia!” film. He has the talent, but will he draw the votes from American TV viewers?
Mary Lou Retton and Sasha Farber: Former Olympic gold medals always perform well on DWTS, especially gymnasts and figure skaters. There is hardly a more famous American gymnast than Mary Lou Retton. She will have a built-in fan base to keep her on the show no matter how she does in the first few weeks.
Milo Manheim and Witney Carson: Milo is the Disney Channel entry on the show. He plays the role of “Zed” in the new series “Zombies.” He will also appear on season three of “American Housewife” on ABC. So even if he doesn’t last long, ABC will get a lot of promotional mileage from him.
Nancy McKeon and Val Chmerkovskiy: Another beloved performer from a classic TV series, Nancy played Jo on “The Facts of Life.” She’s also tall and paired with Val Chmerkovskiy. All she has to do now is dance.
Nikki Glaser and Gleb Savchenko: Host of the daily morning show “You Up With Nikki Glaser” on Comedy Central’s SiriusXM radio channel. She is also a stand-up comedienne and actress. Comics have struggled on DWTS; the highest finisher was “Blue Collar” comic Bill Engvall, who was more likeable than talented when he placed third.
Tinashe and Brandon Armstrong: A multi-platinum singer, songwriter, and dancer who also mixes and engineers her own recordings. She has toured with acts including Katy Perry, Nikki Minaj, and Maroon 5. Tinashe dances with the newest member of the cast, Brandon Armstrong. Longtime DWTS fans may be looking for new talent to embrace and giving Brandon such a strong early favorite guarantees the fans will get to know him.

Our pre-season prediction for the Season 27 finalists

Will Harry Potter fans wave their wands and vote for Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe? Photo: ABC

Our early prediction for the Season 27 Mirror Ball Trophy: DeMarcus and Lindsay are a lock for the finals. Tinashe and Brandon and Juan Pablo and Cheryl have the skills that can translate into great dancing, but will they have the votes? Mary Lou and Sasha have the perfect blend of devoted fans who will vote and enough potential to dance well. Athletes like Mary Lou and DeMarcus are fiercely competitve, and sometimes it’s that Eye of the Tiger that gets them onto the podium.

We say: First, DeMarcus and Lindsay; Second, MaryLou and Sasha; Third; Tinashe and Brandon.

Week 1 dance assignments on two nights of dancing

Couples drew the following assignments (listed in alphabetical order, not dance order):

Monday, September 24:

Alexis and Alan: Jive – “Good Golly Miss Molly” by Little Richard)
Bobby and Sharna: Jive – “T-R-O-U-B-L-E” by Travis Tritt
Danelle and Artem: Foxtrot – “Rise Up” by Andra Day
DeMarcus and Lindsay: Cha-Cha – “Sweet Sensation” by Flo Rida
Evanna and Keo: Foxtrot – “Do You Believe in Magic” by Aly & AJ
Joe and Jenna: Quickstep – “Fish Out of Water” by Leo Soul
John and Emma: Foxtrot – “Good Ol’ Boys (Theme from Dukes of Hazzard)” by Waylon Jennings
Juan Pablo and Cheryl: Salsa – “Dinero” by Jennifer Lopez feat. DJ Khaled & Cardi B
Mary Lou and Sasha: Cha-Cha – “Treasure” by Bruno Mars
Milo and Witney: Cha Cha – “Free Free Free” by Pitbull feat. Theron Theron
Nancy and Val: Quickstep – “It Don’t Mean a Thing” by Club Des Belugas
Nikki and Gleb: Salsa – “YES” by Louisa feat. 2 Chainz
Tinashe and Brandon: Jive – “I’m a Lady” by Meghan Trainor

Tuesday, September 25

Alexis and Alan: Jive – “Shake the Room” by Gamu
Bobby and Sharna: Jive – “Gimme Some Lovin’” by The Spencer Davis Group
Danelle and Artem: Foxtrot – “Strong Ones” by Armin van Buuren feat. Cimo Frankel
DeMarcus and Lindsay: Cha-Cha – “I Like it Like That” by The Blackout Allstars
Evanna and Keo: Foxtrot – “Rewrite the Stars” by Zac Efron & Zendaya
Joe and Jenna: Quickstep – “Check it Out” by Oh the Larceny
John and Emma: Foxtrot – “Orange Colored Sky” by Nat King Cole
Juan Pablo and Cheryl: Salsa – “Tu Sonrisa” by Elvis Crespo
Mary Lou and Sasha: Cha-Cha – “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer
Milo and Witney: Cha Cha – “Good Feeling” by Austin French
Nancy and Val: Quickstep – “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & The Waves
Nikki and Gleb: Salsa – “Tres Deseos” by Gloria Estefan
Tinashe and Brandon: Jive – “Yes” by Merry Clayton

Voting information: Viewers may cast their votes for their favorite couples via phone on Monday nights during the show and up to one hour after the end of the DWTS broadcast in each time zone. Online voting at and on Facebook at is open for 24 hours, beginning from the start of each episode on the East Coast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and closing at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Tuesday evenings.

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. Gayle can be reached via Google +

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.

Copyright © 2018 by Falcon Valley Group


Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award-winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.