Will it be two times the fun on the 16th season of ABC's Dancing With the Stars, which begins March 18? Producers are trying to make up for the lackluster ratings of last season's All Stars by spiking the cast (announced Feb. 26 on Good Morning America) with a double dose of Olympians, country stars and comedians.
The big names include ice-skating legend Dorothy Hamill, 56; singer Wynonna Judd, 48; and Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones, 28, who scored on a record 108-yard kickoff return at the Super Bowl. "For us to have someone who was a game changer on the Super Bowl is great fun," says executive producer Conrad Green.
"[Hamill] has got such a place of affection in America's heart," he says. "I think everyone will love to see her performing again." But she'd better watch out: She's going up against another Olympic gold medalist: Aly Raisman, 18, captain of the 2012 U.S. gymnastics team.
Judd, who has been open about her lifelong struggle with her weight, told Green that she's looking forward to getting toned by throwing herself into training. "I think every woman in America can relate to Wynonna," he says. She'll have to outshine another singer, 26-year-old Kellie Picker, the show's first American Idol alum.
He'll still have to slug it out with boxing great Victor Ortiz, 26; former General Hospital heartthrob Ingo Rademacher, 41; Disney star Zendaya Coleman, 16; and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Lisa Vanderpump, 52.
Is Green hoping to get a better table at one of Vanderpump's tony restaurants? "That's really all this is about," he jokes. "To make sure we get good reservations."
Here are this season's celebrity/pro pairings:
Zendaya Coleman and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess (former troupe member)
Dorothy Hamill and Tristan MacManus
D.L. Hughley and Cheryl Burke
Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff
Wynonna Judd and Tony Dovolani
Victor Ortiz and Lindsay Arnold (new pro)
Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough
Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas
Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson
Lisa Vanderpump and Gleb Savchenko (new pro)
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