Ian Ziering and Cheryl Burke, <EM>Dancing with the Stars</EM> Ian Ziering and Cheryl Burke, Dancing with the Stars

Who's the youngest? The most surprisingly fit? The tallest toe-tapper in the show's history? As the Monday, 8 pm/ET premiere of the new season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars nears, TV Guide invites you to step right up and meet the new line of celebrity hoofers.

Billy Ray Cyrus, 45
Best known for: His country-music career and playing Dad on Disney's Hannah Montana
Lives in:
Los Ange­les and Nashville
Dancing for: daughter Noah, who told her first-grade teacher that Daddy was "scared" to sign on for DWTS. "The teacher told my little girl to go home and tell me, ‘Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game,'" he says.
Partner: Last sea­son's runner-up, Karina Smirnoff
Advantages: Good-old-boy Southern charm. Rhythm from years of playing music. And something judge Bruno Tonioli will love: hips that move.
Disadvantages: Cyrus, who has had no formal training, swears he can't dance, though he's inspired millions of others to get up on the floor and form "Achy Breaky Heart" dance lines. He says he won't use his trademark song on DWTS — unless they ask him to sing it. "I've never done the dance," he says. Or much other public dancing, for that matter. "I didn't go to my senior prom. I didn't go to hardly any dances in high school because I didn't want to get out on the dance floor. I was just too bashful."

Heather Mills, 39
Best known for: Being the estranged wife of Sir Paul McCartney, and the fact that she'll be the first dancer to compete on an artificial leg. In 1993, Mills was walking near Kensington Palace when she was hit by a police motorcycle. The accident severely damaged her left leg, which had to be amputated below the knee.
Lives in: Brighton, England
Dancing for: Any­one with a disability who thinks they can't dance.
Partner: Jonathan Roberts, last paired with Rachel Hunter
Advantages: The sympathy factor. "I totally applaud her," says fellow com­petitor Shandi Finnessey. "For Heather to give a voice to people who are disabled, it obviously shows her strength, her passion." Also, the judges won't mark her score down for moves she can't possibly do, like pointing her left toe.
Disadvantages: The regimen is going to be brutal. Mills, training in the London area, has said that she is trying out various prosthetics to see which one works best.

Apolo Anton Ohno, 24 (the youngest competitor)
Best known for: Winning a 2006 Winter Olympics gold medal in short-track speedskating
Lives in: Colorado Springs
Competed in: World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Milan, Italy, from March 9 to 11, which means that the first day he had to devote completely to dancing was March 13, less than a week before the premiere. "I had about five minutes to learn my first dance," he says.
Dance background: None
Dancing for: Sport. "Every single time they announce my name, people will tie it to the Olympic Games and the dream and the spirit that come with that struggle," Ohno says.
Partner: Newcomer Julianne Hough
Advantages: Superbly conditioned by his normal six to eight hours a day in training, Ohno has some of the strongest legs on the planet, lightning-fast reflexes and coordination. "You have to have rhythm to be involved in short-track speedskating because there's actually a lot of counting," he says.
Disadvantages: An inexperienced DWTS partner — and a lot of bad habits. "I'm hunched over and my back is relaxed," Ohno says. "In the ballroom dances you have to be very upright." So standing up straight is a challenge? "It's going to take some practice."

Joey Fatone, 30
Best known for: Being a member of one of the most popular boy bands of all time, 'N Sync. Now Fatone's a Broadway actor (Rent, Little Shop of Horrors).
Lives in: Orlando
Dance background: No formal training, but lots of boy-band dancing on stage. Fatone also helped choreograph many of the 'NSync routines.
Sounding board: Season 2's champ, Drew Lachey, who told Fatone with great understatement, "It was a little difficult."
Dancing for: Wife, Kelly. Fatone thinks they should give ballroom dancing a whirl. "That would be interesting because I've never danced like that with her before."
Partner: Kym Johnson, last paired with Jerry Springer
Advantages: Fatone's lighthearted attitude ("It's like, what the heck?") and picking up steps quickly.
Disadvantages: Not physically ready. "I've been trying to build up my stamina by doing some cardio and weights at Gold's Gym," Fatone says. Ballroom dancing is not 'N Sync. "I'm always used to doing things on the count of one," he says. "But the cha-cha starts on the count of two. That confuses the hell out of me."

Ian Ziering, 42
Best known for: Beverly Hills, 90210
Lives in: Hollywood Hills, California
Dance background: About a dozen jazz classes when he was around 12 years old. "My mom felt that it was important that I be a triple threat," Ziering says. "So to that end, I had singing, dancing and acting lessons."
Dancing for: "My dad. We giggle when I say I'm going to dance class."
Partner: Two-time champ Cheryl Burke, last paired with Emmitt Smith
Advantages: Ingenious partner and a formidable work ethic
Disadvantages: Fear. "Before I started, I would watch the DWTS tapes and think, 'I can't do this!'"

Shandi Finnessey, 28
Best known for: Miss USA 2004
Lives in: Los Angeles
Dance background: Tap, ballet, jazz and gymnastics until the age of 7 or 8. Nothing since then.
Partner: Newcomer Brian Fortuna
Advantages: Great beauty and a love of dance. "I've always goofed around in clubs doing the robot or the running man," Finnessey says. "I keep trying to get Brian to put the robot into our dance moves!"
Disadvantages: An inexperienced partner and minimal name recognition. "My agent said, ‘They're going for big names this year.' I said, ‘I know I'm a nobody! Just get me a meeting.'"

Paulina Porizkova, 41
Best known for: Being a supermodel and the wife of the Cars' lead singer, Ric Ocasek
Lives in: New York City
Partner: Alec Mazo, last paired with Season 1 champ Kelly Monaco
Advantages: A great partner and a willingness to laugh at herself. "The big joke in my family was that I was as graceful as a 2-by-4," Porizkova says.
Disadvantages: Zero dance background, except for the one dance she did at her wedding. "I believe it's called a Drunken Slow Shuffle," she says. "My husband detests dancing."

Laila Ali, 29
Best known for: The youngest daughter of the legendary world heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali is the face of women's boxing and the undefeated super middleweight boxing champ. Her record? 24-0.
Lives in: Los Angeles
Dancing for: Fiance, former NFL wide receiver Curtis Conway
Partner: Maksim Chmerkovskiy, last paired with Willa Ford
Advantages: Ferocious work ethic and a left hook that could flatten any judge who'd give her a bad review
Disadvantages: "I have a tendency to seem cocky, but I want all the votes, so I have to be likable."

John Ratzenberger, 59
Best known for: Playing Cliff Clavin, Cheers' know-it-all mailman (1982-93) and hosting the Travel Channel's John Ratzenberger's Made in America.
Lives in: Los Angeles
Dance background: None
Partner: Edyta Sliwinska, last paired with Joey Lawrence
Advantages: He's surprisingly fit, with a red belt in karate.
Disadvantages: Ratzenberger was an 11th-hour substitute for Vincent Pastore, which means he'll have only 17 days to practice before his first dance. "We're a little bit stressed about the fact that we're two weeks behind everybody," Sliwinska says.

Leeza Gibbons, 49
Best known for: Hosting Entertainment Tonight and Extra. She also has her own syndicated radio show, Hollywood Confidential.
Lives in: Los Angeles
Dance background: None
Dancing for: "My dad. He would be in the competition if he could."
Partner: Tony Dovolani, last paired with Sara Evans
Advantages: Warm and witty personality
Disadvantages: Her age. "I cannot wear those hoochie outfits!" Gibbons says. "And I did a yoga class with my daughter last night and she said, ‘You've gotta be more flexible.'"

Clyde Drexler, 44
Best known for: His NBA career. Superstar for the Portland Trail Blazers and the Houston Rockets, "the Glide" earned his nickname for his leaping abilities and was named one of the game's 50 greatest players.
Lives in: Houston
Dancing for: Two daughters, Erica, 20, and Elise, 15. "Someday I'd like to dance at their weddings."
Sounding board: Sea­son 3 champ Emmitt Smith. "When I called him, he said, ‘More peo­ple know me now from DWTS than from my years as the leading rusher of all time in the NFL,'" Drexler says.
Dance background: Drexler took an elective dance class in college but doesn't remember "one single step."
Partner: Elena Grinenko, last paired with Tucker Carlson
Advantages: Tremendous work ethic, experience performing before large crowds, and stamina. "After our two- to three-hour dance workouts, I'll go run four to five miles," Drexler says.
Disadvan­tages: 6-foot-7 frame. "I'll be the tallest contestant to date."

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