Can you believe this is season 27 for Dancing with the Stars? During the past few seasons I’ve only watched regularly when there’s a Real Housewife competing. This season there aren’t any Bravolebrities on board, but there is an interesting mix of celebrities participating – including a Harry Potter actress. You can see all of the pairings below, along with the bios of the contestants.
If these celebrities have you scratching your head, you’re not alone. E! Online’s Tierney Bricker did a random poll to see if people knew who some of these contestants are – the results were pretty hilarious. Take a look and tell us how many of these celebs you knew at first glance.
Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess
Dubbed “The most powerful man in country music” (Forbes), Bobby Bones continues to be an unstoppable force. With a “fiercely devoted following” (Washington Post) tuning in to his nationally syndicated radio show, “The Bobby Bones Show” broadcasts to more than 120 stations and is the No. 1 Country morning show with millions of listeners each week. The show recently garnered its third ACM Award for National On-Air Personality of the Year, also earning a 2017 Country Music Association award for National Broadcast Personality of the Year and earned Bones the title of youngest-ever inductee into the prestigious National Radio Hall of Fame. The “media multitasker” (Billboard) also launched his own podcast, BobbyCast, which features candid long-form interviews with top artists and industry figures, and has been downloaded more than 6 million times. With his undeniable knack for recognizing and supporting new talent, Bones brought his expertise to the latest season of ABC’s “American Idol” as a mentor. He is also a touring stand-up comedian, philanthropist and chart-topping comedy artist – a true “jack of all trades” (ESPN). His new book, “Fail Until You Don’t: Fight. Grind. Repeat.,” landed at No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. It follows his debut memoir, “Bare Bones: I’m Not Lonely If You’re Reading This Book,” which also landed at No. 1 on the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers Lists.
DeMarcus Ware and Lindsay Arnold:
DeMarcus Ware is widely regarded as one of the greatest defensive players in NFL History and is projected to be a first-ballot NFL Hall of Fame candidate upon his eligibility in 2021. Born and raised in Auburn, Alabama, Ware attended Auburn High School and played baseball, basketball and track, but was not a member of the football team until his junior year. The following season, he earned team MVP honors. He went on to Troy University. As a senior, he was the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year. His 27.5 sacks are second in Troy history and his 57 tackles for a loss is a school record. Ware was selected in the first round (11th overall) by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2005 NFL Draft and spent nine seasons with the franchise (2005-2013). He is the Cowboys’ all-time leader in sacks (117) and forced fumbles (32). He was signed by the Denver Broncos in 2014, where he helped lead the team to victory in Super Bowl 50. He retired in March 2017 after 12 illustrious seasons in the NFL. Only Hall of Famers Reggie White and Lawrence Taylor averaged more sacks per game. He twice received the Butkus Award – given to the best linebackers in America who also uphold the responsibility of serving others by giving back. He was also the Dallas Cowboys nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award that is presented annually, honoring a player’s volunteer and charity work, as well as his excellence on the field.
Milo Manheim and Witney Carson:
Milo Manheim is an up-and-coming American actor born and raised in Los Angeles. At the age of 7, he began his acting career in a local after-school program in Culver City, and he soon went on to perform in 15 musicals with Liza Monjauze Productions. These musicals include “Rent,” “Footloose,” “Tommy,” “A Chorus Line,” “Gypsy” and “Spring Awakening.” He was discovered when casting director Amber Horn saw his performance as Roger in the musical, “Rent.” This was a pivotal point in his budding career as she brought him in to audition for a new Disney Channel musical, “Zombies.” After eight call-backs, Manheim got the coveted role of Zed. “Zombies” premiered on Feb. 26, 2018. He is set to appear in season three of ABC’s “American Housewife.”
Danielle Umstead and Artem Chigvintsev
At the age of 13, Danelle Umstead was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic eye condition where the retina progressively degenerates and eventually causes blindness. She has no central vision and is losing her peripheral vision. Currently, her spotted vision limits her sight to less than five feet without any detail. Her father, Peter, first introduced her to adaptive skiing in 2001. Skiing not only gave Danelle her life back, it also led to meeting her husband, Rob, while skiing in Taos, New Mexico, in 2005. Her severe vision requires her to ski with a guide, a job which Rob has taken on since summer 2008. As her guide, Rob skis a few feet in front of Danelle and acts as her “eyes” on the course. As Team Vision4Gold, Danelle and Rob have won 3 Paralympic bronze medals, 4 World Championship medals and over 50 Alpine Skiing World Cup medals. Danelle and Rob made history at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympic Games as the first husband and wife visually impaired ski race team to compete and medal for Team USA. They earned bronze medals in both the downhill and super combined events in Vancouver and ended that season with the overall and Super G World Cup titles. The duo also earned a bronze medal in the super combined at the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympic Games.
Joe “Grocery Store Joe” Amabile and Jenna Johnson
Formerly one of the youngest traders on the Chicago stock exchange, Joe Amabile turned a successful career in big finance into a successful career in small business. He followed his family’s footsteps in the grocery store world, where he bought his own store. Lovingly referred to as “Grocery Store Joe,” Amabile was a fan favorite on “The Bachelorette” season 14 and went on to appear on “Bachelor in Paradise” season 5.
John Schneider and Emma Slater
John Schneider is best known for the iconic role of Bo Duke on the hit series “The Dukes of Hazzard,” as well as starring roles on “Smallville,” Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots,” and more. In addition to his extensive acting career, he is a celebrated country music artist with 10 albums to his credits and four No. 1 singles on the Billboard Country chart. This year, Schneider has launched an ambitious 52-song project, “The Odyssey,” releasing a song a week throughout 2018. A greatest hits collection is also due in October. For more information, visit his official website at JohnSchneiderStudios.com.
Nancy McKeon and Val Chmerkovskiy
Nancy McKeon is an actress, director and producer best known for playing the role of Jo Polniaczek on the beloved long-running 1980s sitcom “The Facts of Life.” She has since appeared in many other television series, including leading roles on the police drama “The Division,” the sitcom “Can’t Hurry Love,” with Mariska Hargitay, “Style & Substance,” with Jean Smart, and as the mother of Demi Lovato’s title character on Disney’s “Sonny with a Chance.”
Tinashe and Brandon Armstrong
Not only does the multiplatinum-certified R&B disruptor Tinashe sing, write and dance, but she also produces, mixes, engineers, creative directs and edits. As a result, she blazes past any and all boundaries. Co-mingling seductive R&B, edgy pop and a nocturnal electronic sensibility, she emerged as a fascinating, focused and fiery outlier in 2014 with her full-length debut, “Aquarius.” Powered by the double-platinum smash “2 On” [feat. ScHoolboy Q], the album crashed the Top 20 of the Billboard Top 200 upon arrival before popping up on many of the top year-end lists. Between touring alongside everyone from Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj to Maroon 5, she revved up the official mixtape “Nightride.” Tinashe also has a presence in the worlds of beauty and fashion as well. Recognizing the artist’s inimitable fashion sense and untouchable and undeniable je ne sais quoi, Ralph Lauren placed her in a high-profile campaign with Bella Hadid and Hailey Baldwin. Beyond an exclusive performance for Karl Lagerfeld, other partnerships include Alexander Wang, Calvin Klein and M.A.C. Cosmetics, among others. Moreover, Juicy Couture sought her out to be the face of its exclusive Urban Outfitters collaboration. Presently, Tinashe is carefully preparing more new music heading into 2019.
Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke
Juan Pablo Di Pace is an Argentine-born actor and director with an extensive musical theatre background. Multilingual and fluent in English, Spanish and Italian, Di Pace began his career in the United Kingdom appearing in the London musical “Chicago.” He then played the role of Danny Zuko in the Trieste production of “Grease” in Italy, which he also directed. Di Pace is best-known for his role as the passionate Fernando on Netflix’s original series, “Fuller House,” and for the iconic role of Jesus Christ on NBC’s “A.D. The Bible Continues,” produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. Di Pace’s other credits include a recurring role on the NBC series, “Camp,” opposite Rachel Griffiths, and guest-starring roles on TBS’s “Angie Tribeca” and FOX’s “Rosewood.” Di Pace has made several appearances on British television, including “The Catherine Tate Show,” “Aftersun,” “New Tricks’” and “River City.” He made his film debut in “Survival Island,” opposite Billy Zane. He is heavily featured in the film classic, “Mamma Mia!,” alongside Meryl Streep, playing the role of Petros. As a musician, Di Pace recorded three original cast albums – “Mamma Mia, The Movie Soundtrack,” “Saturday Night Fever” and “Mas de 100 Mentiras” – and released an album for his One Man Show, “Primer Acto” (Act One).
Nikki Glaser and Gleb Savchenko
Nikki Glaser currently hosts Comedy Central’s first live daily morning show, “You Up with Nikki Glaser,” for SiriusXM. Previously, she hosted, co-created and executive produced the critically acclaimed show “Not Safe with Nikki Glaser,” for Comedy Central. In film, Glaser appeared in Judd Apatow’s “Trainwreck” for Universal, and Henry Phillips’ movie, “Punching the Clown.” On TV, she has fun guest star roles on NBC’s “A.P. Bio” and Freeform’s, “Alone Together,” and she previously appeared on “Adam Ruins Everything,” “Inside Amy Schumer” and “@Midnight.” She was a standout at the recent Comedy Central “Roast of Bruce Willis,” as well as last year’s “Roast of Rob Lowe.” Her highly praised Netflix stand-up special premiered last summer, and she has done sets on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Conan” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”
Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten
Alexis Ren is one of the most famous social media models today. She began her modeling career at the age of 13 working at Brandy Melville. Since then, Ren has garnered huge social media recognition with over 12 million fans across her social networks. She recently campaigned with Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, and was on the cover of Maxim’s August 2017 edition. She recently received the acclamation of being Rookie of the Year for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Collection 2018.
Luna Lovegood Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe
Evanna Lynch is best-known for playing the role of Luna Lovegood in Warner Bros’ “Harry Potter” film franchise, adapted from the best-selling book series of the same name. In 2010, Lynch scored a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Spike TV’s SCREAM Awards and a Best Performance in a Feature Film nomination for the Young Artist Awards. Most recently, Lynch completed a two-month run at the Off-Broadway Irish Repertory Theatre in NYC as the co-lead of Enda Walsh’s cult classic play, “Disco Pigs.” Previously, Lynch played the titular character in “My Name is Emily,” the Simon Fitzmaurice-directed independent film, for which she received an IFTA Nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role and the Best Actress Award at the Victoria TX Indie Film Festival. Her other recent films include the BBC Lenny Henry biopic, “Danny and the Human Zoo,” the co-lead of the independent feature “Addiction,” opposite Ian Harding, as well as the hit festival movie “GBF,” opposite Megan Mullally, Rebecca Gayheart and Natasha Lyonne. Nowadays, Lynch, an active philanthropist, devotes her free time largely to Animal Rights and Welfare advocacy and works to promote compassion and respect for animals. In late 2017, she launched a weekly podcast, The ChickPeeps, where she explores and educates listeners on the topic of living a vegan lifestyle. Lynch is also a proud ambassador for the Lumos Foundation and for STAE (Save the Asian Elephants), and has worked with UNICEF, Free The Children, The MS Society of Ireland and the Harry Potter Alliance (The HPA). Lynch has been a guest columnist for Independent.ie and The HP Alliance, speaking on issues such as Eating Disorders, Body Image, and Cyber Bullying.
Mary Lou Retton and Sasha Farber
Mary Lou Retton catapulted to international fame and ignited a new era of American dominance in gymnastics during the 1984 Summer Olympics, when she became the first American woman to win a gold medal in gymnastics, scoring two perfect 10s along the way. She would win five medals during the 1984 Olympics, the most won by any athlete during that summer’s games. She was also the first woman ever to appear on the iconic Wheaties box. In 1997, she was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Retton retired from competitive gymnastics in 1986. She served as a commentator for NBC at the 1988 Olympics, wrote a daily column for USA Today during the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, and co-hosted the television series “Road to Olympic Gold.” On the big screen, she appeared in “Scrooged” and “Naked Gun 33-1/3.” On television, she has made appearances on “Guiding Light,” “Knots Landing” and “Baywatch.” Today, Retton is a renowned motivational speaker and corporate spokesperson who travels the world as a “Fitness Ambassador,” promoting the benefits of proper nutrition and regular exercise. She remains deeply involved in the gymnastics community and is the mother of four daughters, all of whom are accomplished athletes, as well.
TELL US – WILL YOU WATCH THIS SEASON OF DANCING WITH THE STARS? ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT ANY OF THE CONTESTANTS?
Main Photo Credit: Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images