ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” announced the cast for its upcoming 19th season Thursday morning on “Good Morning America,” and the choices are all familiar. We’ve got the Reality Star; Nostalgic Sitcom Actor; Polarizing Athlete; Obscure Teenage Celebrity; Dreamy Soap Opera Cast Member; Mandatory Disney Company Cable Channel Actress; and many more.
Translated, the cast includes Alfonso Riberio, Tommy Chong, Janel Parrish, Lea Thompson, Antonio Sabato Jr. and Jonathan Bennett (actors/actresses); Lolo Jones, Randy Couture and Michael Waltrip (sports figures); Betsey Johnson (designer); Bethany Mota (YouTube sensation); Sadie Robertson (reality star); and Tavis Smiley (PBS talk show host).
Not everything will be the same in Season 19. The long-running reality competition series is attempting to shake things up by adding former pro dancer Julianne Hough as the fourth judge, the first time that Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli will have a permanent addition at the table.
Even though “DWTS” is still one of the most popular shows in the country —15 million viewers tuned in per week last season — the show needs a jolt of energy. Producers have been lacking in headline-making picks for quite a few seasons (think Bristol Palin) and many fans were upset that sportscaster Erin Andrews replaced Brooke Burke-Charvet last year as Tom Bergeron’s co-host.
Here’s a complete list of the cast and their pro partners, in addition to their chances of winning the super-sparkly Mirror Ball Trophy. The show premieres on Monday, Sept. 15.
Tavis Smiley/Sharna Burgess
Occupation: Talk show host/author
Best known for: Hosting “Tavis Smiley” on PBS
Chances in the competition? Fair: He’ll get some headlines for being out of his element, that’s for sure. “I’m used to seeing you Sunday morning, I didn’t know you could dance,” said “GMA” co-host George Stephanopoulos on Thursday. “I didn’t know I could either,” Smiley agreed, but said he wanted to do something crazy before he turns 50 in a few weeks.
Sadie Robinson/Mark Ballas
Occupation: Reality star
Best known for: Being the granddaughter of controversial patriarch Phil Robertson on A&E’s hit show “Duck Dynasty”; her parents are Willie and Korie.
Chances in the competition? Decent. She’s far from the most famous of her family, but she could get the votes from millions of “Duck Dynasty” viewers — as the record-breaking ratings prove, the Robertsons have fans far and wide.
Lolo Jones/Keo Motsepe
Occupation: Olympic athlete (track and field, bobsled)
Best known for: Competing in track and field at the 2012 Summer Olympics and making the bobsled team at the 2014 Winter Olympics. She’s also become famous for sharing many details about her personal life.
Chances in the competition? Pretty high, because athletes do very well in the competition. She’s also a polarizing figure; luckily, judge critiques count for a portion of the overall score each week.
Alfonso Ribeiro/Witney Carson
Best known for: Like you need to ask! (Okay, some do: He’s Carlton from “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”)
Chances in the competition? Very good — you can never overestimate the nostalgia factor.
Janel Parrish/Val Chmerkovskiy
Best known for: Playing tragically creepy Mona on ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars”
Chances in the competition? Middling to fair. Not very high name recognition outside of teens and some, um, slightly older viewers who happen to watch that very addicting show.
Antonio Sabato Jr./Cheryl Burke
Best known for: ABC’s “General Hospital”
Chances in the competition? Solid. Dreamy soap stars do pretty well.
Tommy Chong/Peta Murgatroyd
Best known for: The “Cheech & Chong” movies with his buddy Cheech Marin, the subject of lots of marijuana jokes.
Chances in the competition? Could be interesting. Again, the older contestants do well in the beginning but are soon sent packing. Though his name could be a powerful thing — Erin Andrews said on the flight to “GMA,” flight attendants were clamoring for pictures.
Lea Thompson/Artem Chigvintsev
Best known for: Starring as Marty McFly’s mom in “Back to the Future”; also headlined NBC’s ’90s sitcom “Caroline in the City.”
Chances in the competition? Just okay. The “formerly famous” actresses usually don’t usually get much traction.
Jonathan Bennett/Allison Holker
Best known for: “Mean Girls” — he played Aaron “your hair looks sexy pushed back” Samuels, Lindsay Lohan’s crush.
Chances in the competition? Just alright, unless he’s secretly a spectacular dancer. The demographic mostly like to love him from “Mean Girls” doesn’t really watch the show.
Betsey Johnson/Tony Dovolani
Best known for: Her stores with high-end quirky clothes and accessories. Also starred in a short-lived reality show (“XOX Betsey Johnson”) with her daughter, Lulu, on the Style Network.
Chances in the competition? Good but not great. She’s got plenty of personality (she does cartwheels and the splits at the end of her runway shows) but the older contestants usually get sent home on the earlier side.
Bethany Mota/Derek Hough
Occupation: YouTube star-turned-designer
Best known for: Her cheerful fashion and shopping-themed videos that landed her millions of followers and eventually a clothing line with Aeropastle.
Chances in the competition? Really good. “DWTS” is likely thrilled to have someone who brings young fans, though it’s unclear what social media power will really do for such an unknown name among the adult set. Still, her partner is Derek Hough — that’s a big deal.
Randy Couture/Karina Smirnoff
Occupation: Mixed martial arts athlete
Best known for: UFC champion fighting
Chances in the competition? Rather good. Once more: Athletes frequently take home the prize.
Michael Waltrip/Emma Slater
Occupation: NASCAR driver
Best known for: Winning Daytona 500 and other championships; his brother, Darrell Waltrip, is also a racing champ.
Chances in the competition? Just fine. Maybe not a household name, but race car drivers have won before, and he’s very well-known to the many, many NASCAR fans.