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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If you had a second chance, would you fight for it? Would you endure throbbing muscles, countless bruises, and sequin-induced scratches? With the 15th season of Dancing With The Stars premiering this fall, one competitor is willing to endure a consistent cloud of spray tan and hairspray to prove that she has what it takes to be the best of the ballroom. Hollywood.com exclusively chatted with dancing hopeful Sabrina Bryan about how she’s ready to shimmy, shake and spin her way into the all-star season of DWTS. Most notably remembered as a member of Disney’s The Cheetah Girls, Bryan is one of three “Viewers’ Choice” dancers that fans can vote on to fill the 13th all-star opening. The actress says she is thrilled to have a chance to earn her spot as a competitor on the 15th season. Bryan gushes, “To even be considered somebody who was on the level of an all-star is absolutely amazing to me, so I’m really, really touched that I’m even having a chance to actually be voted on.” DWTS host Tom Bergeron is excited for fans to have the opportunity to control the fate of the three dancers. He says, “I love that, I really do. I think it involves the viewers directly and gets them engaged.” Bergeron told us he feels like this vote is a chance for Bryan to get some much-needed retribution. “If it were Sabrina, it would be a wonderful opportunity for her to kind of get revenge for the complacency that I think got her voted off,” the long-time host says with a smile. To refresh your memory, here’s a mini DWTS recap: In the fifth season, Bryan quickly took the lead in the scoreboard and was considered by many to be the favorite who would walk away with the mirror-ball trophy in hand. However, fans and judges were absolutely shocked when Bryan and her professional dancing partner Mark Ballas were knocked off the show in the sixth week. It was a lack of votes that led to Bryan’s premature departure on the show, so it seems only fitting that she needs America’s votes to get back on it. The Orange County native says, “My biggest goal is just to dance for the fans because honestly I left really early in the season and the support they put behind me is unbelievable.” Bryan continues, “I’m representing that second chance dream that everyone wishes they could have that second stab at.” To say that Bryan dominated on her season of DWTS would be an understatement. In the first week, Bryan and Ballas received a score of 26 out of 30, which at the time was the highest score earned in the first week by any contestant. In week four the duo set another record by receiving a 30/30 from the judges on their paso doble, making Bryan the first contestant to have received a perfect score that early in DWTS history. Although Bryan is itching for her “second-chance dance,” the 27-year-old is realistic about the hurdles she needs to leap over. “For me I’m just trying to get on this show. I can’t even think about competing, I’m just trying to get on it,” Bryan explains. “I’m not even worried about breaking records as much as I’m just really hoping to prove myself to [the fans] and give them a really good show and just pretty much dance for the whole season.” For the past four months, Bryan has been performing in the Dancing With The Stars: Live in Las Vegas show at the Tropicana. And although Bryan has been perfecting her cha-cha and paso doble in Sin City, she admits that the other all-stars will definitely have the “upper-step” this season. “I’m doing the same style of dancing that I already knew from the show. All of the all-stars that are on it, almost every one of them have done more dances,” Bryan admits. “Especially when it comes to the crazy hard dances of ballroom, I haven’t done any of those. I have no idea what the hell I’m doing out there as far as any of those dances because I don’t do them in Vegas.” Carson Kressley and Kyle Massey, the other two wild-card options, have also been performing in the Las Vegas show. Bryan admits she has some stiff competition: “I think what’s so great about the three of us is we’re drastically different kinds of entertainers. All three of us have great strength that we bring to the stage.” Bryan, a fierce competitor to say the least, is promising to spend every hour, minute and second perfecting her skills to give viewers consistently exciting routines each week. “I have unfinished business out on that dance floor and I couldn’t be happier to get an opportunity to really go out there and hopefully kick some dance booty.” Dancing With The Stars fans can vote for their favorite viewer’s choice all-star, five times a day at ABC.com until August 24. Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera[Photo Credit: ABC]MORE: 'Dancing With The Stars' Announces Season 15 All-Stars! 12 People Who Really Should Do 'Dancing with the Stars' (But Probably Never Will) Catching Up With 'SYTYCD' Alums: Where Are They Now?
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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