A whole new celebrity cast is lacing up their dancing shoes and preparing to take the ballroom by storm on Season 14 of Dancing With the Stars on ABC. Here’s a close look at the new cast, recent tweets from the celebrities and their pro partners, a list of who’s out for season 14, early favorites, and what past competitors are saying about the new line-up of stars.
A Look at the New Cast of Dancing with the Stars:
Gavin DeGraw (age 35):
Gavin is no stranger to the top of the charts. He released his third studio album, Sweeter in September of 2011. The album’s first single, “Not Over You,” co-written with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, was just certified platinum, is a huge hit and has been climbing the sales and radio charts since its June 2011 release.
Gavin DeGraw tweeted today, “I’m excited to be on this season of Dancing with the Stars.” His partner Karina Smirnoff also tweeted and said, “Just finished GMA where all the pairings were revealed! So happy to have Gavin DeGraw as my partner. Very excited.”
Donald Driver (age 37):
Donald Driver has overcome a childhood of homelessness and other obstacles to become a Super Bowl Champion and the all-time leading receiver in Green Bay Packers history. After being selected in the last round of the NFL draft, he went on to hold the Packers’ all-time receiving records for yards and receptions as well as a host of others.
Driver’s partner is Peta Murgatroyd, who was knocked out in week one last season. She sent the following tweet today, “So excited that season 14 has officially begun. Donald Driver is so enthusiastic and FUNNY! Can’t wait for the premiere!”
Roshon Fegan (age 20):
Most widely recognized for his roles on Disney Channel, this musical artist, songwriter, producer and actor currently stars on the Disney Channel original series Shake It Up! as Ty Blue. Prior to this role, he appeared as Sander Loyer in the Disney Channel original movies Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam. Roshon also performed songs on the Camp Rock soundtrack as well as the DVD bonus track. He also writes and produces all of his own music under his independently owned record label, 3inaRo Entertainment, where he serves as CEO.
Roshon Fegan tweeted earlier today, “This is it. Time to take over! I need my fans to start building.” His partner Chelsie Hightower posted on Twitter, “I am so very happy and grateful to be back on as well & couldn’t have asked for a better partner. Let’s get things started!”
Melissa Gilbert (age 47):
A native of Los Angeles, Melissa Gilbert comes from a long line of entertainers including her grandfather, Harry Crane, creator and writer of The Honeymooners and her father, respected comedian, actor, musician and dancer, Paul Gilbert. At age nine, she joined the cast of Little House on the Prairie, continuing with the popular series for 10 years. She has since starred in hundreds of TV movies, specials and series including the Emmy award-winning Movie of the Week The Miracle Worker. Melissa served two terms as the 23rd President of Screen Actors Guild, is an avid philanthropist and is President of the Board of Directors for Children’s Hospice.
Melissa turned to Twitter today and posted, “Tweetiepies! So sorry I didn’t say anything. You all were asking but I was sworn to secrecy. I’m having a blast and I just adore Maksim C.” Her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy simply tweeted,“Strap in and enjoy the ride!”
Katherine Jenkins (age 31):
The Welsh Mezzo Soprano has sold in excess of seven million albums since launching her career in 2004. An internationally recognized figure, Katherine Jenkins, at the age of only 31, has become an ambassador and inspiration for millions of people around the world. She has performed with Placido Domingo and Andrea Bocelli, had lunch with and performed for the Queen and other members of The Royal Family as well as Prime Ministers and dignitaries around the world.
This morning Katherine made a request of her fans on Twitter and said, “Hope I can call on you for your support.” Her partner Mark Ballas also tweeted and said, “Really looking forward to this season. And to dancing with my new partner Katherine. Gonna be fun.”
Gladys Knight (age 67):
Eight-time Grammy winner Gladys Knight has enjoyed #1 hits in pop, R&B and Adult Contemporary, and has triumphed in film, television and live performance. As the lead singer of Gladys Knight and The Pips, she provided lush harmonies for the group that went on to achieve an iconic status, having recorded some of the most memorable songs of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. All told, Gladys has recorded more than 38 albums over the years, including four solo albums during the past decade.
So far, there have been no tweets concerning Dancing with the Stars from Knight or her partner Tristan MacManus.
William Levy (age 31):
The Cuban-born actor’s big break came in in 2007 when William was personally chosen by famed Televisa producer Carla Estrada to play the role of Vasco Darien in Pasion, an epic novella production set in Mexico’s colonial period. His first leading role in Cuidado con el Angel, a soap opera production, made him one of Mexico’s most sought after leading actors. He starred as Alejandro Lombardo on Univision’s Sortilegio, Mexico’s highest-rated primetime production, and now stars in Triunfo del Amor (Univision), the number one rated telenovela on TV.
Levy’s partner Cheryl Burke posted this message on Twitter today, “So excited to be dancing with Wiliam Levy! Muy caliente! (sorry just trying to practice my Spanish).”
Maria Menounos (age 33):
The feisty child of Greek immigrant parents is an actress, author and host of TV’s Extra. Maria Manounos has traveled to such places as El Salvador, South Africa and Afghanistan while reporting on earthquakes, the AIDS epidemic and the war. Inspired by her world travels and the devastating effects of the AIDS crisis, she created the charity, “Take Action Hollywood!” In 2008, she conducted the only interview with the Obama family during the presidential campaign. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of the self-help book, The EveryGirl’s Guide to Life.
Maria tweeted today, “I was so nervous on gma! All around I’m terrified yet excited to learn how to dance. Fun times!” Her partner Derek Hough posted on Twitter,“Let’s rock Maria!”
Martina Navratilova (age 55):
A true champion both on and off the tennis court, Martina Navratilova is an influential athlete and cultural figure. She is the only player in history to win Grand Slam titles in four different decades, including a curtain-closing US Open victory in mixed-doubles at age 49. Martina’s resume is highlighted by 59 Grand Slam titles, a record 9 Wimbledon singles championships, and an unrivaled 344 tournament victories. Off the court, Martina has been a lifelong champion for individual freedom and a pioneer for human rights. In 2010, the tennis star was diagnosed with breast cancer. She approached this challenge like her tennis training, subsequently becoming cancer-free and a champion for breast cancer awareness.
Martina posted this funny message today on Twitter, “For all u doubters, proof that I’m game for hair extensions and a spray tan, but holding my ground on NO fake nails.” Her partner Tony Dovolani tweeted, “I am dancing with my all time favorite tennis player. Yay!”
Sherri Shepherd (age 44):
Sherri Shepherd is an actress, comedienne and co-host of ABC’s popular daytime talk show The View. She has appeared in popular television shows such as 30 Rock, Less than Perfect and Everybody Loves Raymond and in films including Precious, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and most recently One for the Money. Sherri is the author of a humorous autobiography titled Permission Slips: Every Woman’s Guide to Giving Yourself a Break.
Sherri Shepherd expressed her enthusiasm on Twitter today by posting, “I can finally say it. DANCING WITH THE STARS. That’s me and Val C. YOWSA!” Her partner Val Chmerkovski tweeted, “So grateful to be partnered with the incredible Sherri Shepherd.”
Jack Wagner (age 52):
An actor of daytime and primetime television and the stage, Jack Wagner is one of the most popular stars in the history of soaps. He has starred in multiple television series (including General Hospital and Melrose Place), over a dozen of TV movies and has appeared in over 40 theatrical productions around the world. Most recently, he joined the company of The Bold and the Beautiful.
Jack Wagner posted today on his Twitter page, “It’s official. DWTS has started rehearsals and loving it.” His partner Anna Trebunskaya tweeted, “So it’s official. I’m dancing with Jack Wagner. Excited! Love the new cast!”
Jaleel White (age 35):
“Did I do that?” This was the catchphrase Jaleel White made famous as Steve Urkel on his hit sitcom Family Matters. The series is one of 22 shows in television history to reach 200 episodes. Last year, he played a role in the feature film Judy Moody and the Not So Bummer Summer, voiced the role of Sonic the Hedgehog and wrote, produced and starred in his own web series Fake It ‘Til You Make It. Jaleel currently plays recurring roles on USA Network’s cable smash Psych and the Nickelodeon series Problem Solverz. Coming up, he will host the new SyFy game show Total Blackout and will begin production on a film which he co-wrote titled Parkin’ Lot Pimpin.
Jaleel White joked today on Twitter, “1-2-cha cha cha, 3-4-A-C-L. God look out for ur boy (hands in prayer). Mom this is for you. I love you.” He later posted, “This ain’t no Urkel dance best believe! Nap time & rehearsal all day today. Wow. I’ll work as hard as you’ll push me.” His partner Kym Johnson tweeted, “It’s official. My new dance partner is Jaleel White and I couldn’t be any happier.”
Who’s Out and Who’s In for Season 14:
- Lacey Schwimmer, who was partnered with Chaz Bono during season 13, did not receive the call for season 14.
- Louis Van Amstel, who was last seen on DWTS in season 12, also did not get the call and posted today on Twitter, “Season 14 cast revealed. I just want u guys to know it was absolutely NOT my choice to skip two seasons. As busy as I am, I love doing the show.”
- Chelsie Hightower is back on DWTS after a one-season break. She was last partnered with Romeo and has never won.
- All the other professional dancers remain the same as in season 13.
Early Favorites for Season 14 of Dancing with the Stars:
According to a public poll by CBS News, the early favorites and strong contenders for season 14 include Jaleel White, Maria Menounos, Donald Driver and Melissa Gilbert. CBS News asked the following question, “Who will win this season of Dancing with the Stars?” The results are as follows:
- Jaleel White: 22%
- Donald Driver: 18%
- Maria Menounos: 18%
- Melissa Gilbert: 12%
- Martina Navratilova: 6%
- Jack Wagner: 6%
- Roshon Fegan: 4%
- William Levy: 4%
- Gavin DeGraw: 3%
- Gladys Knight: 3%
- Sherri Shepherd: 3%
- Katherine Jenkins: 1%
This poll should be taken with a grain of salt because it only reflects the name recognition of the new cast. However, it does mean that those with a low number of initial votes will have to work harder to create a fan base. Stars like Jaleel White, Donald Driver, Melissa Gilbert, Martina Navratilova and Gladys Knight are already well-known. Plus, fans like to vote for their favorite stars from the past (think Donny Osmond and Jennifer Grey). On the other hand, this season has just one professional athlete, so the playing field is more level than in previous ones.
Recent Tweets from Past Competitors and Judge of Dancing with the Stars:
Past competitors from Dancing with the Stars have been lighting up Twitter today with their comments about the new cast. Here’s what a few of them posted…
- “You takin a BIG OLE walk on the Wild side…get ready girlz. Show em how it’s DONE!” – Kirstie Alley
- “Maria Menounos so excited for you. You got the best partner!” – Ricki Lake
- “Six months ago I was meeting my new friend Karina Smirnoff for the first time and after our journey she is NOW meeting someone new.” – J.R. Martinez
- “Reuniting with Tristan MacManus on eve of DWTS season 14 to give him some dancing tips!” – Nancy Grace
- “So excited for Anna Trebunskaya and her partner Jack Wagner on this season of DWTS. Voting for them!” – Carson Kressley
- “Will be cheering for you Tony Dovolani and Martina!” – Chynna Phillips
- “Good luck to all the season 14 contestants! Get your aspirin, epson salts, protein bars, band aids and energy drinks ready!” – Carrie Ann Inaba
Interesting tidbits about the new cast on Dancing with the Stars:
- Youngest competitor: Roshon Fagen (20). Last season it was Kristin Cavalleri and Rob Kardashian (both 24)
- Oldest competitor: Gladys Knight (67). Last season, it was Nancy Grace (51).
- Athlete: Donald Driver (NFL). Last season’s athletes were Ron Artest (NBA) and Hope Solo (women’s soccer)
- Average age of season 14 competitors: 37.66
The stars, the drama, the glamour and the glitter are back on ABC when Dancing with the Stars returns for Season 14 on Monday, March 19th (8:00-10:01 p.m. ET) with a sensational two-hour season premiere, and then on Tuesday, March 27th, with the premiere of the first results show (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET).
Hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke Charvet return as hosts, as do judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.
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