New 'Dancing' gets our preview

Posted Monday, Mar. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

Dancing With the Stars

7 p.m. Monday

WFAA/Channel 8

D.L. Hughley, 50

Why he's a star: Actor-comedian (1998-2002 sitcom The Hughleys and The Original Kings of Comedy)

Dance partner: Cheryl Burke

He says: "I've never been the kind of cat who had to blow out somebody else's candles to make mine burn brighter. I wish the best for everybody. I just wish I'll do a little better."

Wynonna Judd, 48

Why she's a star: Country music artist (five-time Grammy winner)

Dance partner: Tony Dovolani

She says: "I'm really nervous. Out of my element. I'm not used to all this stuff."

Aly Raisman, 18

Why she's a star: Women's gymnastics gold medal winner in 2012 Olympics

Dance partner: Mark Ballas

She says: "Training for the Olympics was a lot of hard work. I did about seven hours some days. So I have that work ethic. And I love a challenge. That will help me in this competition."

Meet the dancers

Andy Dick, 47

Why he's a star: Comedian (starred in 1990s sitcom NewsRadio)

Dance partner: Sharna Burgess

He says: "I have to take this seriously. This is not Last Comic Standing. It's not about being funny. I've already stepped on her feet."

Sean Lowe, 29

Why he's a star: Just wrapped a season as The Bachelor

Dance partner: Peta Murgatroyd

He says: "It's intimidating, I'll admit that, but it's also exciting. It's like you practice all week and then you have your game day, in regards to football. That's the time to shine."

Dorothy Hamill, 56

Why she's a star: Figure skating legend (gold medal in 1976 Olympics)

Dance partner: Tristan MacManus

She says: "I have a fabulous partner. I'm a slow learner, but at least I can lean on him -- and maybe not knock him over and have to pick him up."

Victor Ortiz, 26

Why he's famous: Former WBC welterweight champion

Dance partner: Lindsay Arnold

He says: "I don't think it's a scary thing to perform live. That's my career already, except I usually don't have a shirt on and I have boxing gloves on. Slightly different."

Ingo Rademacher, 41

Why he's a star: Soap-opera actor (General Hospital)

Dance partner: Kym Johnson

He says: "The one thing that really drives me is I'm afraid of those judges, all three of them, because they're nasty. I have no problem making a fool of myself. It's the judges that scare me."

Zendaya, 16

Why she's a star: Cast member of Disney Channel sitcom Shake It Up

Dance partner: Val Chmerkovskiy

She says: "I'm very motivated, and I'm very willing to go out there and try my hardest in everything I do. I feel like that push and that effort is going to be very helpful."

Lisa Vanderpump, 51

Why she's a star: Cast member of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Dance partner: Gleb Savchenko

She says: "He's going to have to carry me around the dance floor. I'm going to give it my best shot. But I need a good teacher. It's not going to be easy."

Kellie Pickler, 26

Why she's a star: Country music artist and former American Idol contestant.

Dance partner: Derek Hough

She says: "We want people to underestimate us. That way they're not on our coattails. We want them to say, 'Oh, don't worry about them. They'll be out the first week.'"

Jacoby Jones, 28

Why he's a star: NFL player (returned kickoff 108 yards in Baltimore Ravens' 2013 Super Bowl victory)

Dance partner: Karina Smirnoff

He says: "My job is to perform live every week. You've got to step up to the table."

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Mark Ballas says he already knows who's going to be hoisting the Mirror Ball Trophy months from now on Dancing With the Stars.

He knows how to pick the winner, he says, because there's a formula that almost never fails.

"The key to the show is to take it seriously and to be competitive, but also to enjoy the process," says Ballas, a professional ballroom dancer from Houston who has partnered with celebrity amateurs since 2007. "You can see it in past seasons. Someone can be an amazing dancer, but they end up taking it so serious that all the fun gets sucked out it and it becomes hard for an audience to enjoy.

"There has to be the perfect balance of dedication and hard work, and fun and enjoyment."

So there you have it. Or were you expecting Ballas to make it easy for you by naming names?

No, you'll have to watch the show and assess the 12 celebrity dancers for yourself.

The two-hour Season 16 premiere is 7 p.m. Monday on WFAA/Channel 8.

The first elimination episode will air at 8 p.m. March 26.

But if you follow the Ballas formula, boxer Victor "Vicious" Ortiz appears to be the one to watch.

The 26-year-old welterweight has the work ethic that helped him win a WBC championship, but he also has a million-dollar smile that allows him to connect with fans.

Transfer that to Dancing With the Stars, and Ortiz has all the makings of a viewer favorite.

"Fun is the key," Ortiz says. "If you're not having fun doing something, then why do it? My thing is I'm going to have a blast, but at the same time I'm going to work hard.

"And I'm shooting for the...what is it called again? The Globe?"

No, Victor, it's the Mirror Ball.

Ballas' partner, 18-year-old Aly Raisman, seems to have what it takes as well.

Raisman captained the 2012 U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team to its first team gold medal since 1996. She won a gold medal in floor exercise and a bronze on the balance beam, making her the most decorated American gymnast in the London Games.

She also knows how to win over a crowd.

"This show, I want to take it really seriously," Raisman says, "but at the same time go crazy and have fun and show everyone my personality."

If she succeeds, she will be Ballas' third partner to claim a Dancing With the Stars championship. (The others also were athletes: figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi in Season 6 and gymnast Shawn Johnson in Season 8.)

Meanwhile, Sean Lowe, the Arlington native who just found his love match on ABC's The Bachelor, thinks Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl hero Jacoby Jones is the man to beat.

"Jacoby is obviously very athletic," Lowe says. "And every time he gets into the end zone, he's dancing already. So he's on my radar."

Lowe was added to the Dancing With the Stars field Tuesday, one day after he asked Catherine Guidici to be his bride in The Bachelor finale, but weeks after the other 11 celebrities were announced.

But that doesn't mean he's at a disadvantage. An ABC spokesperson says that Lowe actually started rehearsal at the same time as everyone else, but he rehearsed the whole time in secret.

The rest of the pack typically includes a wide range of personalities from different walks of life.

That includes ice-skating legend Dorothy Hamill, an inspired choice who's likely to be a fan favorite; Ingo Rademacher, the requisite soap-opera star (General Hospital); Zendaya, a youth-skewing Disney Channel personality (Shake It Up); two country music artists, Wynonna Judd and Kellie Pickler; and comedian-actor D.L. Hughley.

Rounding out the group are two in-over-their-heads types who are already preparing themselves for elimination with self-deprecating jokes: comedian Andy Dick and Real Housewives reality show star Lisa Vanderpump.

"This is probably the hardest thing I've ever taken on," Dick says. "I'm completely a panicky, shaking, hairless Chihuahua. That's my reality of this whole thing."

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