Dancing with the Stars All-Stars: Grading the New Pairs
Shawn Johnson, Derek Hough
Reunited, and it feels so — oh, wait.
Dancing with the Stars All-Stars season features plenty of old faces, but only five original pairings — a consequence of casting multiple celebs who on their respective seasons shared the same pros.
But change can be a good thing, right? Seven (potentially eight) of the returning stars hope so. Below, we size up the season's new couples on a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
Dancing with the Stars All-Stars pairs revealed!
Pamela Anderson and Tristan MacManus
Anderson's first season: sixth place, Season 10 with Damian Whitewood
MacManus' best finish: fifth place, Season 13 with Nancy Grace
Of all the new pairs, this one has the most potential and is the most intriguing. No offense to Nancy Grace and Gladys Knight, but MacManus has been due a younger partner (comparably) with dance ability — and more importantly, ableness — like many of his fellow male pros have had. (You know he hasn't been able to bring out his best stuff the past two seasons.) He's also a better match for Anderson physically than Whitewood, who was on the shorter side and never quite jelled with the Baywatch babe's dry humor. MacManus has also built quite the fan base over the past year, which could carry them if Anderson does her thing on the floor.
Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower
Castroneves' first season: champion, Season 5 with Julianne Hough
Hightower's best finish: fourth place, Season 8 with Ty Murray
Like Hough, Hightower is young, cute, blonde and perky, but her modern, athletic style might not mesh that well with Castroneves' old-school showman's charm. Plus, let's face it, the Indy 500 champ wasn't the best dancer in Season 5 and was as successful as he was mostly due to his exuberant chemistry with Hough, who was adept at playing to his goofy strengths. Can he duplicate the magic with Hightower?
Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough
Johnson's first season: champion, Season 8 with Mark Ballas
Hough's best finish: three-time champion, Season 7 with Brooke Burke, Season 10 with Nicole Scherzinger and Season 11 with Jennifer Grey
Can you say "favorites"? Hough, who had no returning partners, lucked out with the best female celeb in the mix, but it's not like he needs any more luck. He's already a judges' favorite, arguably the best choreographer, the show's only three-time champ, and has never finished worse than sixth place (just once) in his nine seasons on Dancing. If Johnson's surgically repaired knee that forced her to retire from gymnastics holds up, expect them to be in the finals.
Dancing with the Stars All-Stars cast revealed! And there's a twist!
Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya
Lachey's first season: champion, Season 2 with Cheryl Burke
Trebunskaya's best finish: runner-up, Season 10 with Evan Lysacek
Lachey is Trebunskaya's first true contender since Lysacek, and the two go way back — Lachey and Burke beat Trebunskaya and Jerry Rice in Season 2. Add in the 98 Degrees member's constant presence on Dancing over the years, and the familiarity ought to be there. The only question is if Trebunskaya can step up her choreography to "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" standards.
Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd
Marini's first season: runner-up, Season 8 with Cheryl Burke
Murgatroyd's best finish: champion, Season 14 with Donald Driver
This is the male equivalent of the Shawn Johnson get. Marini remains one of the show's most naturally gifted male celebs, and his loss to Johnson still has many fans crying foul. Murgatroyd concocted an unforgettable freestyle for Driver, but she'll need to come up with more challenging and memorable routines worthy of Marini's talent. But even if they don't win, they'll probably wipe the floor in the skin department.
Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy
Monaco's first season: champion, Season 1 with Alec Mazo
Chmerkovskiy's best finish: 10th place, Season 14 with Sherri Shepherd
This one is the biggest question mark. Monaco might as well have been on a different show back in the six-week-long Season 1, while Chmerkovskiy hasn't lasted long enough on either of his previous two seasons to show what he's capable of as a choreographer and a teacher. On top of that, he's had two very different relationships with his past partners, Elisabetta Canalis (non-existent) and Shepherd (too in-your-face). If Monaco's too rusty and/or they don't click, they could be out early. That being said, her soap fan base ought to be able to buy her a few weeks.
Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff
Ohno's first season: champion, Season 4 with Julianne Hough
Smirnoff's best finish: champion, Season 13 with J.R. Martinez
Smirnoff is at her best with a talented and game partner, and Ohno is just that. Their relentless work ethics will be a match made in a heaven and it would just be a matter of if their chemistry is the same. Like Castroneves, Ohno is partly adored for his playful, brother-sister vibe with Hough, and Smirnoff's tough love, drill sergeant ways is the complete opposite from the former pro.
Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday, Sept. 24 at 8/7c on ABC.
What do you think of the new pairs?