What’s To Come on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Season 23


Delaney Appelhans, Centerspread Editor

After 23 seasons of “Dancing with the Stars” during the fall and the spring, the time has come again for another round of celebrities to try their share of ballroom dancing. For fans who have watched the show since the beginning, this season is bound to be one to experience.

Veteran dancers from original seasons including Derek Hough, Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Cheryl Burke, will be back. Also, Julianne Hough will return to judge, along with Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli. The two hosts of season 23 will be Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews, just as they have been for the past few seasons.

Besides the professional lineup, this season also includes varying types of celebrities, ranging from Olympic gold medalists to politicians. Some of these celebrities include Vanilla Ice, rapper known for “Ice Ice Baby”; Laurie Hernandez, member of the “Final Five” women’s gymnastics Olympic team; Calvin Johnson, former NFL wide receiver; and Rick Perry, former Texas governor.

“I’m most excited to see Laurie Hernandez dance,” said Emily Olson, junior. “I think she’s great and that she’s going to win. Laurie was the best dancer out of the gymnasts at the Olympics during her floor routine. It was obvious that she had the most rhythm, [and] with that and her flexibility, she could be a really amazing dancer.”

Megan Hansen, freshman, stated that she thinks that Hernandez has the best chance at winning as well because “gymnastics gives her a dancing background.”

Highly anticipated Rio stars Hernandez and Ryan Lochte, Olympic swimmer, will both be competing for the mirror ball. Hernandez is considered to be “one to watch” because of her rhythmic skills obtained from years of gymnastics while Lochte will be watched after weeks of being in the headlines for good and bad reasons.

Lochte won his sixth gold medal this summer in Rio but was most talked about after being caught in a legal lie about his behavior in Brazil. He told ET Online that “hopefully this helps, and helps put people in a different mind perspective of me, and you know, just move on, move forward.”

Despite these hopes, on opening night of the show, protestors, wearing white shirts with “Lochte” crossed out in red, stormed the stage after Lochte’s performance. Two male protesters were tackled and arrested by security while the rest of the protesters were in the audience and removed from the area.

Another celebrity viewers are looking forward to joining this season’s cast is Jake T. Austin, who appeared on shows such as “Wizards of Waverly Place” and “The Fosters”.  He also played the voice of Diego in the children’s show “Go Diego Go”.

Austin’s professional dance partner is Jenna Johnson, and it is her first season as a professional. In seasons 18-22, Johnson was a member of the “Troupe”, a group of professional dancers who perform in opening numbers and transitions in and out of commercial breaks throughout the show.

Junior Briana Ventrella stated that of all of the celebrities this season, she is most excited to see Austin compete this season.

“I’ve been a hardcore fan of him ever since he was on “Wizards of Waverly Place”,” she said. “Jake T. Austin and Jenna Johnson are the pair that I hope will win because I know Jenna, and I have personally taken dance classes from her.”

Ventrella explained that at the dance studio she used to attend, Johnson’s sisters worked with and choreographed a lot of the studio’s routines. She has also taken master classes from Johnson at dance conventions.

“It was always cool to think that someone on TV was aware of and loved our studio,” said Ventrella.

With such an interesting group of people on the show at once, this season of “Dancing with the Stars” is destined to be one for the books. It will be interesting to see which couple will end up the victors with the mirror ball in their hands. Tune into “Dancing with the Stars” every Monday and Tuesday night on ABC.