Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Season 18 'Dancing with the Stars' cast revealed, includes Olympic ice dancing gold medalists

The dancing machine is back. On Tuesday, "Dancing with the Stars" and ABC announced the D-list celebrities set to entertain viewers in season 18 of the show.

The cast of characters will join Tom Bergeron and new co-host Erin Andrews, starting on March 17. Andrews takes over from Brooke Burke-Charvet, who was axed after eight seasons.

Many of the people are recognizable. Many are not. The full list of contestants is as follows (alphabetically):

Sean Avery, 33, will be partnered with Karina Smirnoff, 36. Avery is a former NHL player (Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, and Dallas Stars from 1996-2012) turned model. He is currently working at a creative advertising agency in New York City.

Candace Cameron Bure, 37, will be paired with Mark Ballas, 27. Bure is most famous for her stint on "Full House." Her brother is Kirk Cameron.

Drew Carey, 55, will tripping the light fantastic with partner Cheryl Burke, 29. Carey is known a comedian, including a past sitcom, and is currently the host of "The Price is Right."

Meryl Davis, 27, will dance with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, 34, who returns after a two-season break. Davis, ironically, will be dancing against her gold medal ice dancing partner, Charlie White -- after 17 years as a team.

NeNe Leakes, 44, is dancing with pro Tony Dovolani, 40. Reality TV fans will recognize Leakes as one of the stars of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta."

James Maslow, 23, is paired with Peta Murgatroyd, 27. Nickelodeon viewers will recognize him as one of the cast members of the show "Big Time Rush."

Danica McKellar, 39, will dance with Valentin Chmerkovskiy, 27 (yes, Maksim's brother, if you haven't been watching the show). McKellar, of course, is best known for her role as Winnie Cooper on "The Wonder Years," but she is also an accomplished mathematician who wrote four non-fiction books: "Math Doesn't Suck," "Kiss My Math," "Hot X: Algebra Exposed," and "Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape."

Diana Nyad, 64, will compete with partner Henry Byalikov. Nyad, you might recall, recently swam between Cuba and Florida without a shark cage, becoming the first to do so. Her achievements nabbed her a spot on Barbara Walters' Most Fascinating People of 2013 list.

Amy Purdy, 34, will dance with Derek Hough, 28. Purdy lost her legs at 19 as a result of meningitis. She is a U.S. Paralympic snowboarder and "Amazing Race" star. She will become the first contestant to compete with two prosthetic legs on the show (you will recall Heather Mills -- with one prosthetic leg -- competed in 2007).

Cody Simpson, 17, is partnered with Witney Carson, 20. He seems to be following in the social media footsteps of Justin Bieber, with over 6.4 million Twitter followers, over 6.7 million Facebook likes and nearly 200 million YouTube views. The Australian teen is the youngest contestant this season, and -- wonder of wonders -- he shares the same manager as Justin Beiber.

Charlie White, 26, will appear with Shanna Burgess. As we mentioned before, he will compete against his ice dancing partner of 17 years, Meryl Davis.

Billy Dee Williams, 76, dancing with Emma Slater, 25, is this season's oldest contestant. The singer and actor is best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in "Star Wars."

The show returns on March 17.

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