Celebrity roundup

Meet your cast of ‘Dancing with the Stars’


You wanted change from the same old, same old Dancing with the Stars? You got it. Season 18 will be seeing a makeover. Not an unrecognizable Kim Novak-like do -over, but different nonetheless.

It’s old news that Brooke Burke-Charvet was replaced by sports reporter and DWTS alum Erin Andrews, and dancing pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy was bribed, eh, asked back.

But the new lineup — a motley mix of reality stars, athletes, pop singers, has -beens and a physically challenged competitor — looks slightly intriguing. And there’s a twist, pro dancer Derek Hough announced on GMA. The new rule is that America will be given the power to vote to change celebrities and professional dance pairings at whim.

ABC’s still-popular dance competition has also secured some tough competitors for this season including several Olympians. Will an athlete take the mirrorball again? Start placing your bets in the office pool. Let’s break it down:

Real Housewives of Atlanta attention-seeker NeNe Leakes, with pro partner Tony Dovolani, reps the reality stars. Nene’s loud and ambitious, as we saw on Celebrity Apprentice, but can she move?

In the pro athletes’ circle we have Olympic figure skater Meryl Davis, going toe to toe with Maks. Expect these two to last awhile so that the hotheaded Ukrainian may finally get his trophy.

Though figure skaters are graceful, we have our doubts about Olympian Charlie White, because his partner is Sharna Burgess. Last season, she and retired NFL player Keyshawn Johnson were the first couple to go . We know world record long -distance swimmer Diana Nyad (with Henry Byalikov) has staying power, having completed her aquatic journey from Havana to Key West last year at age 64. Former hockey player turned ad man Sean Avery should make a good showing with Karina Smirnoff. But it’s doubtful that sparks will fly between the two: Avery is engaged to model Hilary Rhoda.

Hough has some work ahead of him, dancing with double-amputee snowboarding champ Amy Purdy. Purdy, who also appeared on The Amazing Race, lost her legs due to complications of meningitis as a child. But we are pretty sure she will rock the house in those high -tech prosthetics.

Battle of the child stars! Onetime Full House cutie Candace Cameron Bure is paired with Mark Ballas. Can’t wait to see if Bure’s controversial brother Kirk is in the cheering section. And The Wonder Years alum Danica McKellar is hoofing it with Val Chmerkovskiy.

In the everybody -knows -your -name category are actor Billy Dee Williams (with Emma Slater) and Drew Carey, with Cheryl Burke. The Price is Right host can work a crowd, so at the very least there is the amusement factor.

Teenagers should be happy to see Big Time Rush pretty boy James Maslow (with Peta Murgatroyd) and Australian pop singer Cody Simpson (with Witney Carson), rounding out the cast. Expect a lot of high pitch screaming when either of them hits the floor, and not just from Len Goodman.

Tune in to DWTS at 8 p.m. March 17 on ABC.

Madeleine Marr

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