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Golden Globes 2023: All the Must-See Moments!
Season 30 of Dancing With the Starsis right around the corner! The milestone season of ABC's hit show will feature 15 major celebrities, intense competition and incredible performances.
After revealing the first two celebs in August -- along with a history-making announcement -- the network unveiled the remaining competitors the next month. It's an impressive list that includes reality stars, singers, actors and athletes, all of whom are ready to compete for the mirrorball trophy.
Pro dancer Lindsay Arnold previously teased to ET that fans should "expect the unexpected" in the upcoming season, with bigger and better sets, lighting and more.
Keep reading for everything we know about season 30 of Dancing With the Stars ahead of its Monday, Sept. 20 premiere on ABC.
The 15 celebs competing for this year's mirrorball trophy are: Jimmie Allen, Mel C, Christine Chiu, Brian Austin Green, Melora Hardin, Olivia Jade, Matt James, Amanda Kloots, Martin Kove, Suni Lee, Mike "The Miz" Mizanin, Kenya Moore, Cody Rigsby, Iman Shumpert, and JoJo Siwa.
When ET's Lauren Zima spoke to all the hopefuls following news of their casting, they opened up about who they see as their biggest competition.
"I might go with Cody Rigsby," Kloots said of the Peloton instructor. "I feel like he's gonna be sassy out there."
Siwa pointed to Olympian Lee and WWE star Mizanin as her toughest competitors, while James opted for someone more unexpected.
"Melora is one of the most competitive people I’ve ever met," the former Bachelor said of the actress. "She’s a dark horse. Don’t let her fool you. She is coming for the gold. She’s coming for that trophy. She’s the nicest lady, but she is a competitor! But that’s what makes it fun. Everyone is taking it serious and they all wanna win."
While some contestants were focused on competing, others were too starstruck to think that far ahead. Lee pointed to both Siwa and James as the competitors that she was excited to meet, with Shumpert, Mizanin and Rigsby agreeing with her on the former.
"My daughter is a huge JoJo Siwa fan, and I'm on the same show as JoJo Siwa, so I already won," Shumpert said. "Whether I win or not, I win at home… I'm the cool dad."
"I think she's coming to Dancing With the Stars to be able to tell her story and show her vulnerability. And is she a celebrity? Not traditionally, but what is a celebrity today?" Banks questioned. "If that's the case then there's no Instagram influencer that is a celebrity. We are in a whole different world and celebrity has taken a turn and a change. If people are talking about you, you're famous. And you can be on Dancing With the Stars."
ET previously announced that Britt Stewart, Cheryl Burke, Daniella Karagach, Emma Slater, Jenna Johnson, Lindsay Arnold, Sharna Burgess, Witney Carson, Alan Bersten, Artem Chigvintsev, Brandon Armstrong, Gleb Savchenko, Pasha Pashkov, Sasha Farber and Valentin Chmerkovskiy are this year's pros.
One pairing is already set, with Siwa set to dance with Johnson, as ET previously reported. The match-up is the first same-sex partnership in the show's history, a fact Siwa doesn't take lightly.
"Obviously dancing with another female is so history-making," Siwa told ET. "… I love to win but already doing what I did with this show, and with this experience, and dancing with another female, and being the first, I've already won in a way."
While fans will have to wait until the premiere to see who else is paired together, one potential partnership that's causing a stir is that of real-life couple Green and Burgess. Though Green would neither confirm nor deny if he got paired up with his girlfriend, he pointed out the potential advantage they'd have if they do get to dance together.
"Obviously because we know each other so well and there is chemistry there, that would be a huge positive," he said. "But you are just going to have to watch the show to find out."
The other contestants remained tight-lipped about their pros, but Kove called his partner "really great," while Shumpert gushed that his is "amazing," and Kloots insisted that hers is "the best."
"My partner is unbelievable and I am so excited," Hardin said. "I feel like we are the perfect match. I feel very seen and supported. I feel like we are going to work great together. We already are."
James agreed, telling ET, "I need a partner like I have who’s extremely patient and so tapped in. She brings the energy every time we're in there and makes the most of our practice time."
As for what the pros can expect from season 30, Banks told ET that "a lot of changes" will be coming their way.
"Competitive things, things we've never done before, [throwing] a little wrench at these professional dancers that know how to do everything," the host said. "The celebs have to do it too and they're already amateur, right? But it's the pros that are so perfect with everything. I think it's important to constantly challenge ourselves or else we get a little bit too complacent. They're some of the best dancers in the entire world and I think the best also need challenges to take them to the [next] level. So I can’t wait to see that."
The Judges and Host
Banks will be returning to host season 30, with Derek Hough, Bruno Tonioli, Carrie Ann Inaba and Len Goodman as judges.
Moore was thrilled to learn of Banks' return for a second season, as she and the model go way back.
"I was so happy just to, number one, see her on the show," the Real Housewives of Atlanta star said. "We had lost touch for many years and I’ve always been rooting for her from afar -- her the same, I think."
Banks expressed similar sentiments while speaking to ET.
"Her being on the show has made us reconnect," Banks said of Moore. "I love her so much. We were so, so close, like close to my family, spent the night in my house, like. And so for her to be there I have to be very careful not to play favorites because she is like family and I think Dancing With the Stars brought us together again. And I had nothing to do with casting her because I don't cast the show."
Goodman did not judge the previous season, as he was in the U.K. and unable to travel due to COVID-19 restrictions. Mizanin is pleased that Goodman is back this year, and is ready to face critiques from him as a judge.
"I am like, 'Is he back? Is he back?' And they are like, 'He is back,'" Mizanin told ET. "I am like, 'Oh boy, oh boy. Get your pen and paper ready because you are going to have a lot of notes on this.'"
Chiu, who's known for appearing on Netflix's Bling Empire, has a different feeling about the judging than her competitor.
"I think ignorance is bliss," she said of being judged. "I am just so happy to be a part of this journey and adventure that yes, I will take all of the feedback the judges have for me, and I will listen to them and correct myself, but I am just happy to be there."
Now that DWTS is on season 30, many of the contestants coming in personally know people that have competed in the past.
Moore told ET that fellow Housewife Erika Jayne offered some words of wisdom, Lee noted that her Olympic teammate, Simone Biles, gave her some pointers, Mel C said that her fellow Spice Girl, Mel B, told her to to "just enjoy it, lap it up," Jade said that her mom's former co-star, Candace Cameron Bure, told her to "be patient" with herself, and Hardin shared that her Office pal, Kate Flannery, advised her to invest in balm for her feet.
Kove, meanwhile, said that he had "a long chat" about the show with his Karate Kid co-star, Ralph Macchio.
"He said it was just great conditioning, and that he got really choked up when he left," Kove told ET. "He had a really good time… [He told me] to pay attention and be, you know, be available for the discipline because it's hard work, it's really hard work."
Advise from the music industry poured in for Allen, who said that he spoke with both AJ McLean and past DWTS winner Bobby Bones about competing.
"[AJ] was like, 'Boy, it's different.' He said it's fun. He was like, 'You're gonna kill it,' and I'm like, 'Yeah, no, I won't,'" Allen said. "... I was talking to Bobby the other day. We had a lengthy conversation about it. He was just [talking] about [how], like anything, you know you get out of it what you put into it."
"I love her so much. I told her, 'You better be hard on me.' She said, 'Don't you know? I will,'" Kloots recalled, before noting that Inaba advised her to find her "primal energy" while dancing.
Before the contestants can go in front of the judges, they have to attend grueling rehearsals with their pros. After less than a week of rehearsals, Moore said she's already felt "discomfort in some muscles and areas," while country singer Allen said that he's "got muscles in my body hurting I didn't know I had."
"Rehearsals are hard. I feel like people who aren’t dancers are like, 'Oh, you were a former athlete, you’re athletic,' it doesn’t transfer at all," James said. "My feet hurt, my back hurts, my shoulders hurt, everything hurts."
Meanwhile, Lee noted that she's "using muscles that I haven't used ever in gymnastics," a sentiment Kloots, a former Broadway performer, also expressed by noting that she had to "throw everything I know out the window and literally learn a whole new style of dance."
Mel C of Spice Girls fame called rehearsals "a challenge," and Siwa, who got her start on Dance Moms, said ballroom dancing is "very different" than her past dancing experience.
Green lamented that the rehearsals are "not like when I was younger and I used to go to clubs and dance," while Rigsby noted that "there is a whole lot more technique" than he thought there'd be.
"Dancing in heels, nobody warned me. That is tough," Jade said. "Try spinning in them, like, I am going to break my ankle."
When it comes time to perform, the contestants are ready to give it their all. Moore teased to ET that her Gone With the Wind fabulous twirl "might be a part" of her first dance, Rigsby noted that Peloton could "possibly" be worked into his inaugural ballroom performance, and Kove said a "really cool" Cobra Kai nod will pop up week one.
That reference, it turns out, is Kove's song of choice for his first dance. The actor will be dancing the Paso Doble to "You're the Best" by Joe "Bean" Esposito, which was featured on the Karate Kid soundtrack.
Also on night one, Mel C will get her wish to dance to a Spice Girls song. She previously told ET that the group offered "quite a lot" of songs to choose from, but Mel C opted to dance the Cha Cha to "Wannabe."
While Allen told ET that he hoped to stay on the show long enough to dance to one of his own songs, he'll begin the competition by dancing the Tango to "The Way I Are" by Timbaland ft. Keri Hilson and D.O.E.
Meanwhile, Green will dance the Foxtrot to "Skate" by Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, and Silk Sonic, Chiu will dance the Tango to "Glamorous" by Fergie and Ludacris, and Hardin will dance the Tango to "Simply Irresistible" by Robert Palmer.
Other night one songs and dances include Jade's Salsa to "Juice" by Lizzo, James' Cha Cha to "Give It to Me Baby" by Rick James, Kloots' Tango to "Dance Again" by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, and Lee's Jive to "Stay" by The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber.
Additionally, Mizanin will perform the Cha Cha to "Butter" by BTS, Moore will try to impress with the Foxtrot to "Kiss Me More" by Doja Cat ft. SZA, Rigsby will dance the Tango to "Physical" by Dua Lipa, Shumpert will work to wow with the Jive to "Hey Ya!" by Outkast, and Siwa will perform the Quickstep to "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?" by Jet.
As the season continues, many contestants plan to incorporate what they're known for into their performances, with Hardin noting that her past characters -- including ones from The Office, The Bold Type, Monk, Transparent -- could provide some inspiration.
"I am doing certain things, I will be like, 'That one had a little bit of Jan in it,'" she said of her Office character, before describing Jan as "pretty tough" and "pretty sexy."
Meanwhile, James told ET that he may work in rose petals to a dance as a nod to The Bachelor, and added that his best friend, Tyler Cameron, may make a cameo, too.
"I can't make any promises now, but there could be a cameo in one of the dances. I'm just gonna leave it there," he said. "... That's one of the first things we talked about. It's kind of non-negotiable. If I'm doing something, then Tyler has somewhere he has to be. It's a package deal. So he is gonna be, one way or another, in one of these performances."
In addition to her first Spice Girls dance, Mel C plans to honor the group throughout her time on the show, due in large part to its 25th anniversary.
"It's so wonderful and I really want to embrace that in the show... I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we get Spice action," she said, before noting that she "really hopes" the group will perform on the show.
Dancing With the Stars is known for making people get emotional during themed weeks, something several contestants are mentally preparing for.
"I don’t think it's a secret that I’m going through a divorce right now. I’m a single mom, I didn’t plan to be that. My daughter's almost three years old. I lost my grandmother, my inspiration, four years ago. [She] introduced me to dance," Moore said. "I think it might be a little tough for me here and there. But I'm just going to be that warrior that she raised me to be, and keep focused, and keep the eye on the prize, which is that mirrorball!"
"The emotions are just right at the top of everything. I try to keep strong and stay focused... for my daughter, to show her that I am a strong person and she can be, too," she added. "... Being emotional is not a sign of weakness, I think it's a sign of strength. So, to me, that’s a part of being strong."
Meanwhile, Kloots, who lost her husband, Nick Cordero, last year after a battle with COVID-19, admitted that the experience will "be hard" and "emotional."
"It's gonna sound weird to say, [but] I'm looking forward to it. I think that there will be some very cathartic moments on this show," she said. "I wanna dance to Nick's song. I want that moment. I know he'll be with me on the dance floor every single time, I mean, he's a performer. We met on a Broadway show. I know it'll be tough but in a weird way I kind of really look forward to that moment where I get to dance to his music."
Mel C noted that she is looking forward to people getting to know her "in a way they haven't before," while Chiu opened up about why the emotions have already begun to set in for her.
"I used to stand in line to go to [be in] the audience," she told ET. "I am going to get a little teary-eyed, but I love that show and I love what it represents. It is just a fantasy and a dream come true. I am going to bust out all of my best moves out there, and I hope that the viewers will join me on this journey and together we can have some fun."