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  • Writer's pictureNicole Grace

My Thoughts on the Dancing With The Stars Cast, Season 29!

Updated: May 10, 2022

Hello, friends! Welcome to GraceofStorytelling, blog version. I figured the best way to kick things off here was a Dancing with the Stars recap series. I like to say that I have been watching Dancing with the Stars for as long as I can remember (the first season aired in 2005), and that this show owns my soul. For every episode aired, for every dance performed, I always have THOUGHTS. In preparation for the season premiere tonight, I wanted to lay out my thoughts on who’s going to be in the ballroom tonight:


The professional partners returning to the show from last season are Val Chmerkovskiy, Cheryl Burke, Peta Murgatroyd, Gleb Savchenko, Jenna Johnson, Brandon Armstrong, Emma Slater, Alan Bersten, Pasha Pashkov, and Sasha Farber. The only pros from last season not returning are Witney Carson and Lindsay Arnold, because they are both pregnant!

Pros returning from taking a hiatus from the show are Artem Chigvintsev and Sharna Burgess. It will be great to see them both back, especially Sharna. Her partnership with Bobby Bones in Season 27 was a joy to watch.

Coming from the professional troupe are Keo Motsepe, Daniella Karagach, and Britt Robertson. I am so glad that Keo is back, because he’s been such a great partner over the years and I thought it was pretty weird the way he was kind of pushed to the side last season. I’ve seen both Daniella and Britt perform live as a part of the cast of the Dancing with the Stars Live Tour, so I know they are really talented and I am looking forward to seeing them as partners!


Next, we have the cast of celebrity contestants. Every year, I usually have to look up what most of these people are known for since a) I am not very knowledgeable in the world of celebrity, and b) since the show is so demanding, the celebrities that sign on are the ones that have a pretty open schedule, so it’s often people who are coming back into the public eye. That being said, something I really like about watching this show is reading the cast list for the first time, hardly knowing anyone on it, then coming to know and love the cast as the season progresses.

AJ McLean—one of the Backstreet Boys, so he’ll have some dance experience.

Vernon Davis—a former NFL player. I am not into professional sports at all, but the athletes are often standout competitors on the show. This is a physically demanding competition, so their bodies are prepared for that, plus they have that competitive in-it-to-win-it mindset, which motivates them to succeed on the show. I’m always excited to see how the athletes do!

Skai Jackson—actress. She is young! Eighteen years old!

Johnny Weir—a figure skater! Yes! When I was a little girl, I was fascinated by figure skating, and some of my first memories watching DWTS was rooting for Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas when they won the Mirrorball in Season 6!

Kaitlyn Bristowe—another former Bachelorette, like the Season 28 Mirrorball champion.

Charles Oakley—a former NBA player, so another athlete I’ve never heard of, but still fun.

Jeannie Mai—a television host who has worked on a bunch of shows I have never seen.

Justina Muchada—actress currently on One Day at a Time. I don’t know much about her as a person or her overall acting career, but I LOVE One Day at a Time, so I was so glad to see her on the cast list!

Jesse Metcalfe—an actor whose been in a lot of stuff, but nothing I’ve seen.

Chrishell Strause—personality on the reality show, Selling Sunset. My mom watches this show, so I’ve seen some of it with her. Personally, I don’t really care for it. Also, Chrishell is going through a very public divorce with a notable actor, which I don’t really care about, but it will probably be mentioned on the show…

Anne Heche—an actress who’s been in a lot of stuff that I have not seen.

Monica Aldama—the cheer coach whose team was the subject of the Netflix docuseries Cheer. I was a cheerleader for several years in grade school, so I have a great respect for cheerleaders. They are SERIOUS athletes and competitors, especially at the collegiate level.

Nev Schulman—the subject of an old-ish documentary that I’ve never heard of.

Nelly—a rapper and singer that I am not familiar with

Carole Baskin—Oh dear. At the insistence of my sister, I watched one episode of Tiger King. I did not watch any more because I decided that every. single. person. on this show is bat-sh*t crazy.

Looking at the whole cast list, I see a Netlix Original theme here, with One Day at a Time, Selling Sunset, Cheer, and Tiger King represented on the cast list. Maybe that’s because for the last several months people have been staying in watching a lot of Netflix, haha.


There have also been interesting changes at the judges’ table for this year: First, Derek Hough is coming on as a judge! It’ll be fun to see Derek again, and interesting to see how he does when his job is to watch the dancing, not to do the dancing. The other change is that Len Goodman isn’t able to be on this season due to travel restrictions. That’s a bummer, because Len has always been my favorite judge.


Finally, there’s the great, big, shocking change for this season: The hosts, Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews, are gone! Erin was great, and Tom was legitimately the life of the show. He’s been on DWTS since the beginning, and when you have show with such a high cast turnover like this one, it’s so important to have some consistent faces. I don’t know anything about Tyra Banks (besides her cameo in the Hannah Montana movie, haha), and nothing against her, but I so wish that they had brought in a replacement that was somehow previously connected with the world of the show. Some ideas I had for replacements that would have been cool were:

—Alfonso Ribeiro, Season 19 champion. He belongs on DWTS!

—Derek and Julianne Hough, both former pros on the show.

—Witney Carson and Lindsay Arnold, if they wanted to still participate in the show even though they can’t dance, haha.

With all this being said, I am super excited for tonight. I LOVED last season. There was so much talent there, which made the season into a great competition. Let’s hope that momentum will continue with Season 29! I plan to share my thoughts as the show progresses!

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