Dancing With The Stars Season 20: preview and predictions

Season 20 of "Dancing With the Stars" debuts Monday, March 16, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

SAN DIEGO, March 15, 2015 – “Dancing With the Stars” is celebrating its 10th year on ABC with Season 20, which gets underway Monday. This season includes the youngest ever contender, two divalicious ladies, a shark, a gold medalist, a bachelor and a disabled athlete among its competitors.

This year’s new twist: access to live streaming video of rehearsal footage, giving fans a peek behind the scenes and getting them invested in the performance show each week.

Join Dancing With The Stars Season 20 premier chat Monday, starting at 8pm EST

The only thing fans can count on for sure is the intriguing mix of successes and failures, surprises, disappointments, overcoming the odds and a hot mess or two. It is the most fun part of the season.

It’s the fish-out-of-water element that fans love most about “Dancing With The Stars,” especially when it is combined with a comeback story. DWTS has launched and re-launched careers: Candance Cameron Bure, Kelly Osborne, Kirstie Alley credit the show for their current success. Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves is still introduced as “Dancing With The Stars” champion before his racing is mentioned. Season 17 winner Amber Riley proved you don’t have to be stick-thin to win. Season 18 competitor Amy Purdy proved you don’t have to hold the Mirror Ball Trophy at the end to be a winner.

CDN has a great track record predicting the winners. We got the top four dead right in Season 16, and called the winner four out of the last five seasons. But the most fun are the surprises. Who would have thought Tommy Chong would dazzle the fans week after week, including one of the best tango routines I’ve ever seen and nearly making it to the finals?

Read Also: Dancing With The Stars Season 20 Cast: Singers, athletes, TV favorites, Hunger Games teen

Our pre-season predictions return in our traditional three categories: The Also-Rans, The Jury Is Out, The Contenders.

The DWTS Season 20 Also-Rans: (Clockwise from upper left): Charlotte McKinney, Chris Soules, Patii LaBelle, Suzanne Somers. Photo: ABC
The DWTS Season 20 Also-Rans: (Clockwise from upper left): Charlotte McKinney, Chris Soules, Patii LaBelle, Suzanne Somers. Photo: ABC

The DWTS Also-Rans: Patti LaBelle, Suzanne Somers, Charlotte McKinney, Chris Soules

We love our divas, but it’s going to be tough for the ladies to compete with the youth movement this season, Tommy Chong aside. Patti LaBelle may survive the Foxtrot this week with Artem Chigventsev, but when she runs into the Jive she’s likely in trouble. Same for Suzanne Somers, although in Week 1 we get the kick of seeing her perform to Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” with Tony Dovoloni. That might hold me for the whole season, especially if a Thighmaster is involved.

Charlotte McKinney and Keo Motsepe might be the most attractive couple in DWTS history – while standing still. Models sometimes have a hard time looking good and moving. Worse yet, this pair drew the Jive for their first week and it’s a challenge for anyone. So did Bachelor Chris Soules, which probably spells disaster for him and partner Witney Carson. One of the two Jive performers will go home first.

The DWTS Season 20 Jury Is Out: (Clockwise from upper left): Michael Sam, Noah Galloway, Robert Herjavec, Redfoo. Photo: ABC
The DWTS Season 20 Jury Is Out: (Clockwise from upper left): Michael Sam, Noah Galloway, Robert Herjavec, Redfoo. Photo: ABC

The DWTS Jury Is Out: Michael Sam, Redfoo, Robert Herjavec, Noah Galloway

You might think a frontman for a party song band like Redfoo would be a lock to go a long way in this competition. But wild moves on music videos don’t always translate to the ballroom, and his dress rehearsals have been rough. Emma Slater has her work cut out for her.

The two athletes in this category couldn’t be more different. Michael Sam is an accomplished college football player; Noah Galloway is a endurance sports phenomenon and double amputee military veteran. Work ethic and the ability to be coached will serve both well, but without dance moves they’ll stall in the middle. Sam’s pro Peta Murgatroyd has done well with football players as partners; Sharna Burgess has worked with disabled dancers before and has the perfect make it work attitude for Galloway.

“Shark Tank” investor Robert Herjavec loves the show and has a fun-loving attitude. His partner Kym Johnson is the perfect match with her sunny attitude. Herjavec should last longer than fellow Shark Mark Cuban did, but it’s hard to tell whether he’s money on the dance floor.

The DWTS Season 20 Contenders: (Clockwise from upper left): Nastia Liukin, Riley Lynch, Rumer Willis, Willow Shields. Photo: ABC
The DWTS Season 20 Contenders: (Clockwise from upper left): Nastia Liukin, Riley Lynch, Rumer Willis, Willow Shields. Photo: ABC

The DWTS Contenders: Nastia Liukin, Rumer Willis, Riker Lynch, Willow Shields

The youth movement is likely to take over the ballroom when it comes down to the final few weeks. None of our contenders is over 26, and one is just 14, actress Willow Shields. Youthful energy goes a long way. It will be the one who can add emotion and maturity to their moves who has a shot at winning over the fans and standing on stage with the Mirror Ball Trophy in the end.

Mark Ballas worked magic with 16-year-old Sadie Robertson last season, and based on rehearsals he’s doing it again with Willow. Fourteen is very young for many of the more serious or sensual dances and she will need to work hard at the performance aspects.

Rumer Willis is the “old lady” of the group at 26. Her rehearsals with Val Chmerkovskiy have already sizzled, and Val is one motivated pro. He has come up just shy of the win so many times it’s got to be killing him.

But it’s hard to bet against anyone with Hough family genes. Pro Derek Hough wasn’t supposed to be on the show this season, due to commitments to a Radio City Music Hall show in New York, but it worked perfectly for him to be paired with Olympic gold medla gymnast Nastia Liukin, who’s going to college in New York. This seems like the pair to beat with their backgrounds, and their Cha Cha Cha should score big in week 1.

Riker Lynch is Hough’s cousin, and this energetic musician/actor has all the skills it takes to win: dance talent, musicality, and performance skills. If anyone can survive a Week 1 Jive, it will be Lynch and partner Allison Holker. Holker will have to step up her choreography if she’s going to show off Riker Lynch at his best and make it into the finals.

Three months from now, don’t be surprised to see Rumer and Val vying against Derek and Nastia for the Mirror Ball Trophy in the finals. You read it here first.

Our Communities disco ball is already hanging above the virtual ballroom floor, ready for our first live chat of Season 20 on Monday, March 16 at 8 p.m.

How will the fresh new competitors react when they are hit with the bright lights and the music? Who storms out on to the floor with confidence, and who needs more rehearsal time?

“Dancing With the Stars” debuts Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time on the ABC Television Network.

PERFORMANCE LINEUP AND DANCES/SONGS (Phone numbers not available at press time)

Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess: Cha Cha Cha, “I Lived” by New Republic

Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson, Cha Cha Cha, “Bills” by Lewis Money Lewis

Patti LaBella and Artem Chigvintsev: Foxtrot, “Lady Marmelade” by Patti LaBelle

Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough: Foxtrot, “New York New York” by Ray Quinn featuring Ultra Love

Riker Lynch and Allison Holker: Jive “What I Like About You” by The Romatics

Charlotte McKinney and Keo Motsepe: Jive, “Shake A Tail Feather” by The Blues Brothers

Redfoo and Emma Slater: Cha Cha Cha, “Juicy Wiggle” by Redfoo

Michael Sam and Peta Murgatroyd: Cha Cha Cha, “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

Willow Shields and Mark Ballas: Cha Cha Cha, “Lips Are Moving” by Meghan Trainor

Suzanne Somers and Tony Dovoloni: Cha Cha Cha, “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John

Chris Soules and Witney Carson: Jive, “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins

Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy: Foxtrot, “Take Me To Church” by Hozier

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 www.ABC.com and on Facebook at https://apps.facebook.com/votedwts/ 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, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

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