Paralympic Athlete, Movie Icons & Sitcom Stars Among ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Season 18 Cast
The cast of "Dancing with the Stars" 18th season was announced this morning on ABC's "Good Morning America." It seems there are more athletes this season than ever before, including an Olympic skating duo, a U.S. Paralympic snowboarder, and an NHL player-turned-model. It's also packed with 80's/90's movie and TV icons.
This will be the first season a double-amputee will be competing on the show. U.S. Paralympic snowboarder and "The Amazing Race" star Amy Purdy had both legs amputated below her knee when she was diagnosed with Neisseria meningitis at age 19.
The first amputee to compete was Heather Mills. The former Mrs. Paul McCartney did pretty well with one prosthetic leg, especially during the slower ballroom dances. Being an athlete will surely help Purdy perform well on the show. She's paired up with reigning champion pro dancer Derek Hough, a Dancing with the Stars favorite.
Another interesting twist is that Olympic gold medalist ice dancing partners Charlie White and Meryl Davis will be competing against each other after being a team for 17 years. White has been paired with the returning Sharna Burgess, and Davis lands returning "bad boy" pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
We all know the name Diana Nyad. The 64-year-old is known for swimming between Cuba and Florida. Her pro partner is Henry Byalikov.
Though I'm anxious to see what the Olympians can do, I'm most excited about the movie and TV stars who signed on this season.
Everyone in my generation remembers the "Star Wars" series -- the first incarnation, of course, and it was a great surprise to see that 76-year-old Billy Dee Williams is part of the new dancing season. He's best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in the iconic movies. He's the oldest competitor in the bunch, and is partnered with relative newbie Emma Slater, who took Bill Engvall to the semi-finals last season.
Who watched "Full House" and "The Wonder Years" as a kid? I sure did! How convenient is it that stars from both sitcoms will be battling it out on the dance floor? I could see either one of the them running away with the mirror ball trophy this year. Candace Cameron Bure played eldest daughter D.J. Tanner in the "Full House" TV series. She's since become a best-selling author, and is married to Russian NHL hockey player Valeri Bure. She'll be dancing with former champ Mark Ballas.
And you can't forget Winnie Cooper on "The Wonder Years." Since the series ended, Danica McKellar has appeared in several sitcoms, modeled lingerie, graduated summa cum laude from UCLA and written several books about math. She's paired up with Val Chmerkovskiy.
Another early favorite of mine is comedian Drew Carey, whose 90's-2000's show was a big hit. And he's been a great host on "The Price Is Right." He's dropped some pounds "The Drew Carey Show" days, and his new healthier lifestyle should help him keep up with pro partner Cheryl Burke.
The biggest shake-up of Season 18 is the replacement of co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet. Sports reporter Erin Andrews, who came in third place in Season 10 of DWTS with pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy, will fill that role. To me, she's a much better fit because of her TV expertise, and her rapport with host Tom Bergeron.
It looks to be another awesome season of dancing, which kicks off Monday, March 17th, at 7 p.m. local time on ABC.