The 23rd season of the ABC competition show “Dancing With the Stars” kicks off Monday, Sept. 12, with the usual gaggle of celebrities from the world of sports, music and acting. The number will be reduced weekly until one star takes home the trophy.
After 23 editions of the show, viewers should be pretty familiar with the program. But here are a few tidbits that might make this season just a little more fun to watch.
You’re only doing half the work: The judges and their numbered paddles matter more than just proving they have strong wrists.
“The votes of the judges count 50 percent and the votes of the viewers count 50 percent,” Daniel Martin, executive producer of “Dancing With the Stars,” says.
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Martin can not discuss details of the voting by the public over the years, but he stresses that there have been times when the number of votes was “very close.”
USA, USA!: The DWTS you see is not the only version shown around the world. There are versions in Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, France, India, Macedonia, Vietnam and Russia.
Call us, we’ll call you: The selection process to pick each season’s lineup is a mix of the producers being contacted by some celebrities who want to participate and the producers calling stars they believe would make good television.
This year’s lineup includes Ryan Lochte, who would have been a good selection because the show has always featured athletes. But the controversy surrounding the Olympic swimmer pushed his dance stock even higher. There is no word as to whether Lochte reached out as a way to help improve his image or if he was approached by the show because he’s a big name in the news.
A perfect pair: Matching the right professional dancer with the right celebrity can make a big difference. Cheryl Burke and Derek Hough have shown great skill at dancing their celebrity partners to victory.
“Sometime the pairings are obvious. Sometimes there’s a lot of discussions,” Martin says. “We are looking to create great partnerships and not spur drama.”
Really tough work: Almost every celebrity who has been on the show has at one time or another told the production team that the experience was far more demanding than they had imagined.
And it’s not just physical. Martin has watched competitors connect with the show – they want to prove to themselves what they can do.
Lots of stars: So far, there have been 266 celebrities who have tried to win the top honor. One season included a group of 13 all-stars.
Among those eliminated first have been Penn Jillette, Belinda Carlisle, Shannen Doherty, David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson.
Unseen heroes: Martin praises the staff behind-the-scenes for making the show run so smoothly.
“The choreography of the crew itself in between everything is amazing to watch,” Martin says. “All the grips and gaffers and the wardrobe team. They do such an incredible job moving things in and out between each performance.”
Past celebrity winners are: Kelly Monaco, Drew Lachey, Emmitt Smith, Apolo Anton Ohno, Helio Castroneves, Kristi Yamaguchi, Brooke Burke, Shawn Johnson, Donny Osmond, Nicole Scherzinger, Jennifer Grey, Hines Ward, J.R. Martinez, Donald Driver, Melissa Rycroft, Kellie Pickler, Amber Riley, Meryl Davis, Alfonso Ribeiro, Rumer Willis, Bindi Irwin and Nye DiMarco.
Maybe it’s him: Tom Bergeron has hosted every edition of “Dancing With the Stars.” But he has had a little trouble keeping co-hosts. So far, he’s shared the hosting duties with Lisa Cunning, Samantha Harris, Brooke Burke and Erin Andrews.
Odds are: Here are my early predictions for this year’s lineup:
- Laurie Hernandez with Valentin Chmerkovskiy (4-1)
- Jake T. Austin with Jenna Johnson (5-1)
- Jana Kramer with Gleb Savchenko (9-1)
- James Hinchcliffe with Sharna Burgess (10-1)
- Amber Rose with Maksim Chmerkovskiy (12-1)
- Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds with Allison Holker (13-1)
- Calvin Johnson Jr. with Lindsay Arnold (15-1)
- Terra Jolé with Sasha Farber (16-1)
- Maureen McCormick with Artem Chigvintsev (18-1)
- Vanilla Ice (Robert Van Winkle) with Witney Carson (20-1)
- Marilu Henner with Derek Hough (20-1)
- Ryan Lochte with Cheryl Burke (25-1)
- Rick Perry with Emma Slater (30-1)
Dancing With the Stars
- 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12, ABC30