All Things Dancing with the Stars

Meet Dancing Stars Marlee Matlin and Jason Taylor

Jason Taylor by Bob D'Amico/ABC, Marlee Matlin by Bob D'Amico/ABC

As Dancing with the Stars' newbies get ready to dazzle on the dance floor — the hit reality competition returns Monday, March 17 — we've got a week-long guide to who's hoofing for Season 7. Check back each day for our profiles of more pairings. — Deborah Starr SeibelJason TaylorAge: 33 Best Known For: Playing for the Miami Dolphins and being named the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the YearLives In: Weston, FloridaPartner: Edyta SliwinskaAdvantages: He's got fast moves and the right attitude. "I've never admitted this, but I always wanted to learn how to tango," says Taylor. "I've seen it in the movies, and I thought it was sexy." Disadvantages: Taylor hurt his left foot at the end of last season and has dislocated "about every finger in my hand," he says. And unlike almost every other contestant who has been on this show, Taylor doesn't want to lose weight, "because I still have a day job."Marlee MatlinAge: 42 Best Known For: Winning a best-actress Oscar for 1986's Chi... read more

No Dancing in the Sheets for Virgin Julianne?

Julianne Hough by Gregg DeGuire/

Hollywood may be rife with hard-partying, serial-dating young stars, but Julianne Hough isn't one of them. I know, it's hard to believe, but the blond Dancing With the Stars bombshell not only abstains from drinking, smoking and drugs — but she's still a virgin.Us reports that in the new issue of CosmoGIRL!, Hough, 19, opens up about her closed-door policy. She explains that she wants "to be with that special person. I think to have sex before marriage is an individual [decision]." She adds, "[Waiting] will strengthen that relationship.""I'm not trying to preach consequences here," she continues, "but I think when you say no, down the line, it will be a better decision."Hough was previously engaged to Zack Wilson, a contestant on Dance War, but broke things off because she was too young for marriage. She was also rumored to be romantically linked to Helio Castroneves, but denied involvement with the dance champ. Since then, Hough says she hasn't been dating a whole lot, and fee... read more

Dancing Alum Joins Broadway's Chorus Line

Mario Lopez by Jordan Strauss/

Saved by the Bell's Slater is now Zach. Mario Lopez, who a short while back learned a thing or two on Dancing with the Stars, will be calling the shots as choreographer Zach when he joins A Chorus Line on April 15. "Every actor dreams about appearing on a Broadway stage," the New York Daily News quotes Lopez as saying. "I have as well, and have been searching for the right time and opportunity." Lopez is booked for a five-month run. — Matt Mitovich read more

Karina Smirnoff Undergoes Surgery

Karina Smirnoff by Donato Sardella/

Karina Smirnoff underwent surgery this morning for her back, according to Extra. Her former dance partner, Mario Lopez, revealed that Smirnoff injured her back during the Dancing tour, but apparently kept it hush-hush.Despite the surgery, there's no need to worry that she'll be kept from the dance floor for long: She's expected to be back in the rhythm of things in time for this season's March 17 premiere, alongside her new partner, R&B crooner Mario. — Anna Dimond read more

Maksim Judges the New Season's Dancing Stars

Maksim Chmerkovskiy by John Sciulli/, Cristian de la Fuente by Bob D'Amico/ABC, Cheryl Burke by Craig Sjodin/ABC

He may be sitting on the sidelines this time around, but Maksim Chmerkovskiy hasn't removed himself entirely from the sixth season of Dancing with the Stars. Shortly after the new celebrity-pro pairings were revealed, the handsome hoofer shared with us his more-than-qualified take on some of the contenders. — Deborah Starr SeibelCristián de la Fuente and Cheryl BurkeWill things look pretty for the Ugly Betty star? "He’s a good-looking dude, and Latin, and has that swagger," says Maksim. "And [two-time champion] Cheryl knows how to do her thing, getting people to the finals." Jason Taylor and Edyta SliwinskaTackling the ballroom floor is nothing new for a Dancing star (see: Rice, Jerry and Smith, Emmett). "I really like Jason," says Maksim. "He and Edyta are going to do great together and make a beautiful couple."Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark BallasThe Olympic gold-medalist very well could have the mettle to go far in the competition. "This pairing is one of the bette... read more

Def Leppard to Rock Dancing with the Stars

Def Leppard by Kevin Mazur/

Gunter glieben glauchen globen! It looks like this season's contestants on Dancing with the Stars will — for at least one night — be head-banging instead of waltzing.In what strikes me as an odd pairing, English rockers Def Leppard have posted on their website that the band will be stopping by DWTS for a performance on April 29, in the midst of their 20-date trek with Styx and REO Speedwagon. (Someone please keep Bruno out of the mosh pit!) The following night the band will appear in a slightly more comfortable setting, performing an outdoor mini-concert on Jimmy Kimmel Live! What do you think about having the rock-and-rollers grace the ballroom? —Adam Bryant read more

Maksim Comes Clean About His Soap Stint

Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Alicia Minshew and Rebecca Budig by Steve Fenn/ABC

What does Maksim Chmerkovskiy know about pole dancing? Nothing. But that didn't stop All My Children from hiring him as an expert. The Dancing with the Stars stud will play himself on the Feb. 26 episode, where he'll teach the erotic art to several of Pine Valley's dishiest babes. "When I got to [AMC] they were shocked that I've never done pole-dancing before —like, why would I? — but I figured it out and tried to keep it clean," says Chmerkovskiy. He insists he has no interest in acting and has nixed most other non-dancing offers. "People have wanted to put me in a cowboy hat and make me the next Nashville Star," he says. "Trust me, that's not where my talent is. I'm like a peacock — beautiful but you don't want to hear it sing."His impression of AMC? "It's really hard work but, to be honest, soaps are a bit cheesy," Chmerkovskiy says. "All the girls were telling me about their crazy storylines. One of them had been in a coma three times. Another one used to be a gho... read more

On Oprah: Derek Gets a Special Dancing Partner

The Oprah Winfrey Show: Oprah Presents Dancing With The Stars! (c)2008 Harpo Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Photographer: George Burns

When you watch Indiana housewife Deneen Carmichael doing the mambo on Oprah, know this: It was almost too much. "My knees were shaking so badly that I thought I was going to fall," says Carmichael, 33, who, along with the new cast and former champs such as Helio Castroneves and Emmitt Smith, is part of Oprah's Thursday celebration of Dancing with the Stars. "The only other time I've felt adrenaline take over my body like that was when I had to have an emergency C-section," says Carmichael, who gave birth to her first child 15 months ago.Carmichael had written in to Oprah, saying that she had been inspired by Dancing — particularly actress Jennie Garth's struggle — to take introductory ballroom classes "as a great way to lose that extra baby weight." Oprah producers responded last week by sending to her dance studio a camera crew... as well as a surprise teacher, Garth's Dancing partner, Derek Hough. "I said, 'You've got to be kidding,'" recalls Carmichael, who was stunned ... read more

Look at Who's Dancing This Season!

There's a Broadway star. An NFL bruiser. Elvis' ex. An Olympic gold medalist. And an Academy Award-winning actress who happens to be deaf. Oscar winner Marlee Matlin (Children of a Lesser God) tops the list of names on the new dance card for ABC's Dancing with the Stars, and in doing so takes over from Heather Mills (an amputee) to become the most unlikely person ever to compete on the runaway hit series. Here is the rest of the lineup of hoofers. Season 6 kicks off March 17. — Deborah Starr Seibel Adam Carolla, 43, comedian/syndicated DJ | Pro partner: Julianne HoughCristian de la Fuente, 33, actor (Ugly Betty) | Pro partner: Cheryl BurkeShannon Elizabeth, 34, actress (American Pie) | Pro partner: Derek HoughSteve Guttenberg, 49, actor (Three Men and a Baby) | Pro partner: Anna TrebunskayaPenn Jillette, 52, illusionist | Pro partner: Kym JohnsonMario, 21, R&B singer | Pro partner: Karina SmirnoffMarlee Matlin, 42, actress | Pro partner: Newcomer Fabian SanchezPriscilla Pr... read more

It's Official: Maksim Won't Be Dancing this Season

Maksim Chmerkovskiy by Paul Redmond/

When the roster of celeb hoofers and pro partners is announced for Dancing with the Stars' sixth season, one fan fave will be missing: Maksim Chmerkovskiy. "He just needs a break," an ABC spokesperson tells People. "He is part of the Dancing family, and he will be back" — perhaps for the occasional results show, and quite possibly as part of a Season 7 team. "The 25 million viewers are going to remember me whether I'm there or not," Maksim — who in the past two rounds led Mel B. and Laila Ali to the finals (yet never claimed the crown) — told back in December, when word first spread that he might take a break. In fact, the 28-year-old let slip his intention to skip Season 6 in that same interview, only to "backtrack" a day later upon seen his declaration in print. "I was like, 'Ah, what have I said?' It was very tear-jerky for me," he said then. "When I had a free moment, I read all the e-mails and looked at my fan site and people were just devastated, to ... read more

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