Now that ABC has announced the dancing partners for each of our Dancing With the Stars All-Stars, the real excitement can begin. Luckily for you, we've got the scoop on everyone's chances from DWTS dancer and La Blast Fitness creator Louis Van Amstel, who stopped by our New York office to school us in DWTS alumni.
With his help, we'll get you prepared for this 15th season of ABC's dancing hit.
Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy
Season 12, Runner-Up
Claim to Fame: Actress and Jenny Craig spokeslady
Louis says: "It was a lot of fun to watch her and she was so determined to make it to the finals just by sheer work — and she made it. Now the downfall is literally the fall. Literally, she and Maks fell. So All-Stars is redemption time for Kirstie."
Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke
Season 3, Winner
Claim to Fame: Former Dallas Cowboys Star
Louis says: "That personality was just so contagious. Everybody loved Emmitt and he beat probably the best dancer on that season, Mario Lopez... It’s about personality, mixed in with great, fun dancing. And that’s what Emmitt brings to the table... Sports athletes have an advantage in learning ability just because their physical condition, but Emmitt has such soul when he danced. He really wasn’t that spicy out there. He had soul, he had such musicality... That’s his secret weapon."
Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas
Season 11, 3rd Place
Claim to Fame: Reality Star, Sarah Palin's Daughter
Louis says: "It’s quite surprising [to see her here] from dancing ability alone... But she was the fan favorite, somehow she got the votes. She was brought back every week, so she deserves to be here in the All-Star season. But she’s got to work that out for her, because she’s got, from 13 celebrities, 11 of them have dance ability. So she’s got to work hard and show her ability through the dance and she might actually, again, surprise America… I’m rooting for Bristol, she’s a very down-to-earth woman and her disadvantage of not being an entertainer, not being a sports person and yet somehow, she’s holding her own."
Pamela Anderson and Tristan McManus
Season 10, 6th Place
Claim to Fame: Former Playmate and Baywatch Babe, generally bodacious.
Louis says: "Pamela Anderson, in my opinion, I think somehow surprised the world. She worked really hard, you could see that she wanted to be there ... She didn’t take it for granted, and she could actually move. And let’s not forget her sex appeal. I mean, [she has it] with all those Latin dances and she really embodies Marilyn Monroe when she does the Ballroom dances. And that’s going to be her strength, even though she was in the Top 6, she wasn’t in the Top 3 or the champion like some of these other people. Right now, I’m banking Pamela Anderson as the underdog."
Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson
Season 4, Runner-Up
Claim to Fame: Um, only the biggest boy band ever, *NSYNC.
Louis says: "I love that guy. I just finished Dancing With the Stars in Vegas with him and he’s just so down-to-earth. He’s funny and he works hard and he gets the job done. I mean, no wonder he was second — he lost to Apolo Ohno who is also coming back — so it’s really interesting with the dynamic from the first and second place [winners] from the same season coming back again. And then also, there's Drew Lachey who won Season 2, and they’re buddies ... They were from different boy bands in the ‘90s and yet now they’re on the same show. Drew won, Apolo won, Joey was second and they’re all coming back to get it."
Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower
Season 5, Winner
Claim to Fame: Indy 500 Winner
Louis Says: "He might be the least known on paper here, but the guy was not known in his season either and he won. He did an amazing job, and again you could see the hard work with him. You could see that he wanted to be there, and America likes that. America likes to vote for people who are willing to put their souls on the line, put their hearts on the line, and really work hard ... If you just take it easy, people won’t vote for you. And Helio was a good example of a true athlete and he was there, he came and he wanted to win and he took it. Will he now though? Because there are six former champions on DWTS. So it’s really going to be an interesting and exciting for the public."
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani
Season 8, 3rd Place
Claim to Fame: Former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, plus a stint on The Bachelor.
"Melissa Rycroft had a disadvantage when she came into her season. She started one day before the live show: Nancy Odell was supposed to be on but she hurt her knee and she had to pull out, and at the last minute Melissa came in and she made it to the finals. So for her to come back to the All-Star season, having three weeks to prepare, I think everybody has to watch out for her. She has the cheerleading, not only the background of dance and skill of movement, but also the drive. She’s got the drive and now she’s a mom, so she’s got that vulnerability inside of her. Melissa Rycroft is the one to look out for."
Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough
Season 8, Winner
Claim to Fame: Oh, you know, just a handful of Olympic Gold Medals in Gymnastics, NBD
Louis says: "With Shawn Johnson, it’s going to be very interesting to see whether she has an advantage or a disadvantage because last time she won she’d just come off of the Summer Olympics and now it’s the Summer Olympics and she’s in the audience watching. She just retired because of her knee issues, but will that be an advantage or a disadvantage? I don’t know. We’ll find out Week 1, because again, it’s not just her. You have six past champions all wanting to win."
Kelly Monaco and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Season 1, Winner
Claim to Fame: In some rights, DWTS itself, but she was also a Playmate and soap opera actress.
Louis says: "Kelly Monaco won Season 1 and I was on Season 1 and I love [her]. She was so down to earth, she was just doing her job ... But there was a controversy there because people had all these thoughts that John O’Hurley should have won and they had a dance off, and they somehow gave it to John O’Hurley while really Kelly Monaco was the better dancer. And a lot of people, really, tuned in for Season 2. So really, for Kelly Monaco it's going to be like the first time she’s on … She’s the one with a very hard upbringing. She has a fighting spirit. She’s feisty. And she was a playmate so was Pam Anderson, and they were both on Baywatch, so we’ll see what’s going on between them two — let’s see who has the bigger boobs... well, I think that’s not even a question."
Drew Lachey and Anna Treybunskaya
Season 2, Winner
Claim to Fame: Duh, he was in 98 Degrees, though he has gained a bit more notice from heavy DWTS involvement.
Louis says: "[Drew] has the most memorable freestyle to this day... “Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy” has brought him back to the show. He hosted while Samantha Harris was giving birth to her baby and he did a great job. Also, he did three out of the four tours that we did across the country, so he’s come back the entire 15 seasons, either in the audience, as a cohost, or dancing, and he was good. He's another down-to-earth boy from Ohio … and you could see that. What I love about Drew is that he’s every down-to-earth, but on the dance floor he’s business. He gets off and he’s back down-to-earth. And he is very close friends with Joey Fatone, who is the same. They goof around, they joke. They’re both very funny. Put them in a room together, it’s going to be fireworks. But put them on the dancefloor, they mean business."
Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff
Season 4, Winner
Claim to Fame: Olympic Champion and the only speed skater you know by name.
Louis says: "He literally came to the show and he wiped everybody off the dance floor. He surprised so many people, because he is far from being a dancer and he is phenomenal. And yes, he rode off the Winter Olympics when he came on, but I don’t think that’s going to stop him or the voting public because he is adorable and he was great as a dancer [with] no dance experience at all. And he beat Joey Fatone and he’s back [too]."
Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd
Season 8, Runner-Up
Claim to Fame: Other than DWTS, you may recognize him as the "hot shower guy" from the Sex and the City movie.
Louis Says: "Gilles Marini comes back just for one thing: revenge... and redemption. Part of that is because he only lost by one percent to Shawn Johnson. One. So he wants redemption. Because [his and Cheryl Burke's] choice of music and choreography for that freestyle [in Season 8] was the wrong choice. We all know it and even they know it, and that cost them their shot. So, Gilles Marini has a big chance to do well again. To his credit, his big thing was that I dont think anyone knew who Gilles Marini was. He had that sexy scene in the shower in Sex and the City the movie, but other than that I dont know if people knew [him well enough] for him to be that close, actually one percent away from America’s Sweetheart. She'd just won Gold at the Olympics in Bejing and Gilles Marini almost took it from her. That just goes to show you that Gilles Marini is going to be in for maybe another surprise."
Wildcards*: Sabrina Bryan (Season 5), Carson Kressley (Season 13), and Kyle Massey (Season 11)
*Fans will vote online to determine the 13th and final DWTS All-Star contestant
Louis says: "The exciting thing this season is that the 12 celebrities are already out there, but the third celebrity is chosen by America … All three are adorable people, I know them well and I consider them friends, but if you look at each individual, Kyle Massey was second and he went as far as he could ... Carson went as far as he could … Sabrina Bryan, on the other hand, was voted off midseason with three 10s because people at home thought she was going to be safe … People have to vote. You can be voted off with three tens. So for that reason, from these three, Sabrina Bryan deserves to come back for redemption because people forgot to vote. She had a big fan base, but people just thought she was safe … I think she deserves another chance."
Which wild card will you vote for?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter at @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credits: ABC]
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At ABC's TCA panel in Los Angeles this morning, the team behind Dancing With The Stars played a short yet sensational clip for the press announcing the all-star cast for the upcoming fall season. After five truly frantic minutes we've nabbed the list of the 13 DWTS alumni who will return to the spotlight and vie for the coveted mirror ball trophy! So who made the cut?
Pamela Anderson (Season 10, withdrew after 4th round)
Shawn Johnson (Season 8, Champion)
Joey Fatone (Season 4, 2nd place)
Drew Lachey (Season 2, Champion)
Bristol Palin (Season 11, 3rd place)
Kirstie Alley (Season 12, 2nd place)
Kelly Monaco (Season 1, Champion)
Apolo Anton Ohno (Season 4, Champion)
Gilles Marini (Season 8, 2nd place)
Emmitt Smith (Season 3, Champion)
Melissa Rycroft (Season 8, 3rd place)
Helio Castroneves (Season 5, Champion)
The final slot will be filled by either Sabrina Bryan, Carson Kressley or Kyle Massey, who will be the "Viewer's Choice All-Star," to be determined by fan vote. So get to clickin' people!
Executive Producer Conrad Green says fans have been asking for an all-star season for years, but now the show finally has enough heritage to produce the "perfect" cast. “We got the best of the best,” Green gushes to the room. ”We got the best personalities, the best dancers. We had a wish list and we pretty much got the wish list. All were willing to take part. It’s a testament to how much they enjoyed doing it."
Now in it's 15th season, DWTS has had over 130 celebrities spin, shimmy and shake on their stage. Green boasts, "This is our version of The Avengers. We tried to focus on the people who went further in the competition, who had the most ability. It will be an intensely competitive season."
Check back to Hollywood.com on Monday, August 27 to get the full list of the celebrity/professional pairings!
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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Power producer Neal Moritz’ (Green Hornet Fast & Furious) company is called Original Film which is ironic because he hasn’t made a truly unique motion picture in some time. His latest effort Battle: Los Angeles isn’t groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination but packs enough punch to leave you saying “Thank you sir may I have another?”
Jonathan Liebesman (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning) directs this massive movie about a race of aliens colonizing our planet but as the title suggests the action is centered on the City of Angels. Instead of watching the world at war we witness the American military’s last stand on the West Coast by following a single squad of soldiers on the ground as they fight their way through the city to pick up scattered civilians before the Air Force levels Los Angeles. 2nd Lt. William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez) leads the troop but is too young to be calling the shots in a cataclysmic event like this. Thank heavens Squad Sgt. Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) was called back in for one last mission because it doesn’t take long for the rest of the battalion to realize that the reluctant hero is their best chance for survival.
It’s a good thing that Liebesman and his technical crew are on the top of their game in Battle: LA because most of the other aspects of the production are just downright foolish. Writer Chris Bertolini took the framework from a handful of classic war movies and applied them to his script resulting in highly predictable scenarios and a pace that marches to the beat of past genre entries like Independence Day and Black Hawk Down. His dialogue filled with military jargon and 5th grade humor is quite literally laughable at some points while the thinly crafted characters are all token “team members” that you’ve seen before in films like Jarhead from the soon-to-be-father who’s not sure if he’s going to make it back to his wife to the new recruit/virgin who’s too young to die to the guy with the chip on his shoulder. We get brief glimpses of their back-stories in the first twenty minutes of the movie but as Nantz says during his Bill Pullman moment when the tide begins to turn “none of that matters now.”
What does matter is that Battle: Los Angeles is a roaring thrill ride that barely lets up from start to finish. From the moment the soldiers hit the streets they’re thrust into a tense and gritty survival situation that vaguely mirrors the urban environments in which our Marines are currently engaged in the Middle East. Liebesman uses handheld cameras and close-ups to capture the calamity of combat giving the picture a documentary quality that helps it find some semblance of individuality. Though his actors aren’t required to do much acting (save for Michael Pena whose small role as a dedicated father stands out) and the script as stated is noticeably sub-par capturing their facial expressions as hovercrafts blow fighter jets out of the sky brings out emotion that most of them wouldn’t be able convey in a more traditional performance.
As I continue to heap praise upon the film’s technical achievements I must also note editor Christian Wagner’s chaotic cuts that heighten the soldier’s state of paranoia and the overall sound design of the picture. Until we get up close and personal with one of the aliens Liebesman doesn’t show us much; we have a hard time seeing them because they move so fast but we can hear their quick movements and the affect is quite unsettling much like the performances from Michelle Rodriguez Ne-Yo and a slew of the films co-stars.
Whether or not the filmmakers originally intended on making a movie that was more than the average alien invasion flick is neither here nor there. Is it a rehash of the most exciting moments in War of the Worlds or Red Dawn? Sure it is but it’s also an electrifying film that manages to be engrossing and entertaining in spite of its flaws.
A billionaire TV producer (Robert Mammone) has a great idea for a reality show that he wants to put on the Internet and his goal is to beat the 40 million Super Bowl audience. He has compiled a crack team of young hip and immoral tech geeks directed by Goldman (Rick Hoffman) and puts cameras throughout a remote island where former prisoners are going to kill each other while audiences watch after shelling out the pay-per-view fee. The location is done on a remote secret island and the death row prisoners are bought from prisons around the world with the promise that the survivor gets to walk free. Among the contestants are a rogue Aussie named McStarley (Vinnie Jones) a martial arts expert (Masa Yamaguchi) a husband-and-wife team (Manu Bennett and Dasi Ruz) a monstrous killer who doesn't do much more than grunt (Nathan Jones) and others known only as The Italian The German and other monikers quickly forgotten. Enter the sole American Jack Conrad (Steve Austin) who's in a South American prison for some obscure reason and is recognized on TV by his wife (Madeleine West) who tries to save him. However it looks like Conrad is pretty good at helping himself. Don't expect the acting to be much more evolved than what could be seen among the World Wrestling Entertainment superstars especially since many of them were plucked from the ring to star in this morality tale. But Austin (who had in a strong cameo in Adam Sandler's Longest Yard) proves he has a sense of humor as well as strength. Vinnie Jones is ridiculously over-the-top as the Aussie who's the hand-picked winner of this game shown setting up alliances Survivor style only to turn on them later. The supporting cast are refreshingly entertaining but one-note caricatures both in the contest and running the contest. It's obvious that they aren't going to be around long but the actors do milk their tiny roles for every bit of attention they can get. Rick Hoffman as the brilliant camera mastermind of the project is both whiny sniveling and mean-spirited so when he joins some of the rest of the crew and suddenly develops a backbone and a conscience he ends up stealing the movie with his acerbic humor. But it's the understated American hero Conrad who holds a mirror up to the people who like to watch this stuff. Director Scott Wiper who co-wrote this story has also acted in similar movies like this (A Better Way to Die). It’s obvious he knows what he’s doing with The Condemned and develops a sense of voyeuristic angst like those of us who can't keep our eyes off a train wreck. Like the darkly subversive Belgian film Man Bites Dog the camera crew remains safely distant and remote until the reality directly involves them. Then the crew wonders "What the hell are we doing?" while the audience might be thinking "What the hell are we watching?" Much like Series 7: The Contenders Rollerball and other movies which show a dark and bloody near future this kind of reality doesn't seem too far away and maybe proves that movies which provide this type of gladiator spectacle target a certain segment of the human population who need to blow off steam.