The new celebrity cast of Dancing with the Stars are donning their glitzy wardrobe and slipping on their dancing shoes as they ready themselves for their first dance on the ballroom floor, as the season kicks off on MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network.
The season 24 premiere marks the 400th episode of Dancing with the Stars, and this season’s lineup of celebrity dancers includes the greatest Olympic gymnast in history, a two-time World Series champion – and the show’s first baseball player, a real housewife of Beverly Hills, a bull rider who survived a catastrophic injury, a member of the popular band Fifth Harmony, a Saturday Night Live alumnus and the original “CuchiCuchi” girl, to name just a few.
As announced on ABC’s Good Morning America, the celebrities with their professional dance partners heading to the ballroom this season (in alphabetical order) are:
BONNER BOLTON – In the past 14 months, Bonner Bolton has gone from sitting atop the standings as the world’s No. 1 bull rider to being paralyzed to becoming an international fashion model. He had been leading the PBR’s 2016 season opener when he landed on his head when dismounting the bull. He splintered his C-2 vertebra, was temporarily paralyzed and given a one percent chance to walk again. Following spinal fusion surgery and during his remarkable recovery, IMG Models signed the cowboy from west Texas for global representation, and he’s been featured in major photo shoots and ad campaigns. Bolton, 29, joins “Dancing with the Stars” to continue to blaze a trail for PBR cowboys crossing into the mainstream while he evangelizes the cowboy code of hard work, honesty, courage and compassion.
Bolton grew up on a ranch in west Texas and started mounting steers when he was 10. Before breaking his neck, he had persevered through several serious injuries to rank among the world’s top bull riders. In 2008 he tore his right bicep clean off the bone, sidelining him for nearly a year. In 2015 he came off a collarbone broken in four places to finish seventh at the PBR World Finals. Prior to his nearly catastrophic injury, he played Scott Eastwood’s stunt double in the major motion picture, The Longest Ride.
Bolton credits his father, Toya, an old-school cowboy who rode bulls professionally for 20 years, with teaching him how to ride, take care of his body and maintain the toughness necessary to stay on powerful bucking bulls more than 10 times his size.
CHARO – Only a few people in show business are recognized by just one name. Charo is one of those people. A virtuoso guitarist, singer, composer, actress and comedienne, Charo is an American music and pop culture Icon.
Charo is instantly recognizable by her trademark expression, “CUCHI-CUCHI,” which has endeared her to millions around the world and made her name synonymous with music, fun and excitement. Charo is short for Rosario, her given name of Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza. Born in the town of Murcia, Spain, she learned to play the guitar at an early age and studied under the world-famous master of Flamenco guitar, Andrés Segovia. Becoming a recording artist in her early teens, Charo appeared in the Spanish film classic, Don Juan Tenorio, and was featured in a children’s television show that brought her to the attention of famed Latin bandleader Xavier Cugat. Charo joined Cugat’s band and traveled to Las Vegas, where the band played in all the major casinos, including Caesar’s Palace, The Flamingo and The Tropicana.
Charo guest starred on The Love Boat more than anyone else with ten appearances. In 2001 she headlined and produced “Bravo,” at The Venetian Hotel & Casino. It was named “Best Variety Show in Las Vegas” by Time Magazine. She recently starred in several episodes of the CW’s Jane the Virgin. She and her family also recently appeared on an episode of ABC’s Celebrity Wife Swap, bringing to millions the antics and hilarious situations in her crazy Beverly Hills household. She also appeared in such films as Moon Over Parador with Richard Dreyfuss, and Airport 79: The Concord. She is also currently at work on her latest album and other projects, including an exercise video, “Ejercicio.” Charo also enjoys huge popularity among gay audiences and has appeared several times on RuPaul’s Drag Race. She also teams up with world famous DJs and producers from around the world, who add their dance mixes to her virtuoso guitar performances and come up with dance hits, one of which earned her a World Dance Music Award Nomination.
CHRIS KATTAN – Chris Kattan is best known for his many characters on Saturday Night Live, which he joined in March 1996, completing his seventh and final season in 2003. He will soon be seen in Jesse Thomas’ Walk of Fame, opposite Scott Eastwood. He recently appeared in The Last Film Festival, a comedy in which he stars opposite Leelee Sobieski, Jaqueline Bisset and the late Dennis Hopper, and Hollywood & Wine, with Norm MacDonald, Horatio Sanz and Chazz
DAVID ROSS – David Ross is a two time World Series Champion, having won World Series titles in 2013 with the Boston Red Sox and with the Chicago Cubs in 2016. During his 15 year Major League career, he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs. Recently retired, Ross now serves as a Special Assistant for the Chicago Cubs and also works as a TV Baseball Analyst for ESPN. His book, “Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages,” will be published by Hachette Books on May 9, 2017.
ERIKA JAYNE – You know you’re a music success when you’ve raked in a whopping nine #1’s on the US Billboard dance club chart without a major label machine behind you. That is exactly where dance-pop/reality TV star Erika Jayne is today.
The artist hit the dance club scene with 2007’s “Rollercoaster,” which quickly hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart, followed by eight more #1’s: “Stars,” “Give You Everything,” “Pretty Mess,” “One Hot Pleasure,” “Party People (Ignite The World),” “Painkillr,” “Crazy,” and most recently, “How Many F—ks.” She has crisscrossed the globe on tour several times, including headlining the nation’s hottest clubs and festivals through her own label, Pretty Mess Records. Today, Jayne is ranked #42 on Billboard’s 100 Greatest of All Time Dance Club Artists. Her brand new single “XXPEN$IVE,” which was trending on iTunes on its first day, is out now.
In 2015 Jayne made her national television debut in the hit Bravo series The Real Housewives of
Beverly Hills. Joining famous cast members like Lisa Rinna, Eileen Davidson, Kyle Richards and Yolanda Hadid, Erika became the undisputed breakout star and fan favorite of the series’ 6th season.
HEATHER MORRIS – Heather Morris is both a talented actress and dancer. She is best known for her role as ‘Brittany Pierce’ on FOX’s hit series Glee, and she also appeared in the feature film Spring Breakers. After college, Morris was invited to join Beyoncé’s “I Am…Sasha Fierce” world tour. She has appeared on How I Met Your Mother and Comedy Bang! Bang! and recently starred in the feature films Folk Hero & Funny Guy and Most Likely to Die.
MR. T – Born in Chicago, Illinois, Mr. T is the youngest boy in a family of 12 children. His father was a minister who left the family when Mr. T was only five years old, leaving his mother to raise him and his siblings. In high school, he excelled at athletics and became a football star and three-time wrestling champion.
Mr. T’s position as a bouncer for one of Chicago’s hottest nightclubs frequently put him in contact with celebrities. His outrageous reputation and his famous connections earned Mr. T the new job of celebrity bodyguard, and he began protecting stars such as Steve McQueen, Diana Ross and Muhammad Ali. The job lasted nearly 10 years, until Sylvester Stallone watched Mr. T on a TV series in which he won World’s Toughest Bouncer.
Stallone decided to cast the bodyguard in his film Rocky III. Mr. T played ‘Clubber Lang,’ a boxer pitted against the film’s main character, ‘Rocky Balboa.’ It was during the filming of this movie that Mr. T coined the catch phrase, “I pity the fool!” The film became a blockbuster hit, and his performance made him an overnight sensation. Taking advantage of his newly found fame, Mr. T landed a starring role in the film D.C. Cab. He also premiered in his own cartoon series, Mister T, which aired on NBC. On television, he starred on The A-Team. He later starred in his own reality show, I Pity the Fool, and voiced the character of ‘Officer Earl Devereaux’ in the animated movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
NANCY KERRIGAN – Nancy Kerrigan has been one of America’s most recognizable sports icons for over 20 years. Her rise to competing at a national level began when she placed 3rd at the 1991 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, allowing her to qualify for the 1991 World Championships, where she won the bronze medal as part of an American sweep. In 1992 she earned a bronze medal in the Albertville Winter Olympics and the silver medal at the 1992 World Championships. In 1993 Kerrigan became the United States Ladies Champion and followed that up with her historic silver medal performance at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics.
Along the way, Kerrigan became known for her groundbreaking fashion on the ice, teaming up with Vera Wang and others to create some of the most memorable skating outfits in the history of the sport.
NICK VIALL – When Bachelorette Andi Dorfman said goodbye to Bachelor Nick Viall just as he was preparing to pick out a ring for her, he was devastated. When Nick walked up to Kaitlyn Bristowe with an engagement ring in his pocket, only to be sent home, he was crushed. And when Nick took another chance to find love on the latest installment of “Bachelor in Paradise,” viewers were excited and truly happy for him. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be, leaving everyone to wonder if the sensitive and self-made Midwestern salesman would ever find the woman he would spend the rest of his life with. How could one man endure so much heartbreak?
NORMANI KORDEI – Normani Kordei is one-fourth of one of the most popular girl groups in the world, Fifth Harmony. The release of Fifth Harmony’s sophomore album, “7/27,” is the latest in a series of record-breaking accomplishments for the group. “Work from Home,” the album’s 3xplatinum certified first single, earned Fifth Harmony their first top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, notching the top spot on both the Billboard Rhythmic and Pop Songs charts. The group’s accomplishments on the charts add to an award-winning 2016, with first-time wins at the American Music Awards, iHeartRadio Music Awards, People’s Choice Awards and Much Music Video Awards; their second win at the Kids Choice Awards, two wins at the MTV Video Music Awards & Radio Disney Music Awards, and three wins at the Teen Choice Awards.
RASHAD JENNINGS – Rashad Jennings was ranked one of the number one NFL safeties in 2015. In a breakout season in 2015, he started every game and set career highs in carries, rushing yards, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He was drafted in 2009 in the seventh round by the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he spent four seasons, was signed by the Oakland Radars in 2013 for one season, and signed a four-year contract with the New York Giants in 2014. Jennings set a Big South Conference record while at Liberty with 3,633 yards, 42 touchdowns, and averaged 5.7 yards per carry. He carried Liberty to their first two Big South Conference Championships.
SIMONE BILES – At 19, Simone Biles is already considered one of the best and most decora ted gymnasts in the history of the sport. Biles’ career highlights include being an Olympic Gold medalist in vault, floor, Individual and Team All-Around, and a Bronze medalist on Beam at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She won the All-Around by a 2.1 margin of victory, larger than the margins of victory from 1980-2012 combined. She’s the first woman gymnast to win three consecutive World All-Around titles, most World Championship gold medals won by a female gymnast in history (10), most decorated World Championship American gymnast with 14 total medals (10 gold, two silver, two bronze), the first woman to capture four gold medals at a single World Championships (2014 & 2015) since the Soviet Union’s Ludmilla Tourischeva in 1974, the first female African-American all-around world champion, undefeated in the all-around competition since 2013, the First American woman in 23 years to win three all-around national titles, honored as the 2014 Women’s Sports Foundation’s “Sportswoman of the Year,” and named Olympic Athlete of the Year by the USOC 2015. Biles was also the first American female gymnast chosen by Team USA to be the flag bearer for the closing ceremonies.