Last season of Dancing with the Starswas totally controversial, you guys! The cast of participants was loaded with talent, including someone who was already technically a professional dancer. Also on the roster was a pro gymnast who could bounce like a kangaroo, a pop star who was as familiar with the stage as Bruno Tonioli is familiar with hip thrusts and running back so light on his toes that he floated into our hearts.
Sure, some of the dancing was outstanding, but judges (and America) critiqued harder than normal and some talented dancers were let go before their time (I'm still not over Heather Morris' early exit) while others rode popularity to the finals.
ABC appears to have taken the criticism it got for including dance-happy contestants and course-corrected for the upcoming Season 25, because this is a wide open competition with no clear favorites or obvious sacrificial lambs. The flipside of that? It's also a roster of mostly lesser-knowns.
The biggest name on the list, at least for this child of the '80s and '90s, is Debbie Gibson, who ruled the pop charts with hits like "Electric Youth" and "Only in My Dreams." Gibson's done time on the reality circuit, with appearances on Celebrity Apprentice and 2006's yes-it-really-existed Skating with Celebrities. Also, never forget that she fought Tiffany in Syfy's Mega Python vs. Gatoroid.
The riddle of "Who is A?" may have been put to bed on Pretty Little Liars, but one more question remains: can the Liars dance? We'll find out the answer when Sasha Pieterse struts her stuff. Pieterse, who played Alison on the Freeform series, continues ABC's tradition of keeping it in the corporate family.
If you're looking for someone to bet on, I have a last name for you to throw money on: Lachey! Both Nick and Vanessa Lachey are competing this year, and Nick's background as the frontboy for boy band 98 Degrees certainly gives him an advantage on the dancefloor. This generation's Brooke Burke, Vanessa Lachey, won't be afraid of the spotlight as a former Miss Teen USA and host of several television shows, including TRL and Wipeout.
The hunk factor will be with real estate dreamboat Drew Scott, who found fame on Property Brothers. The man knows a good value when it comes to square footage, but how is his footing? If you only come for those who you hope will trip over their own feet and fall on their faces, there's no Mr. T or Rick Perry this season, but perhaps the closest is Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz. I mean, I don't know if he can dance and I'm just guessing here, but like I said, there are no Chris Kattans this season.
MEN LIKE SPORTS! So Season 25 will use a few sports stars of years past to bring in male eyeballs. Former NFL wide receiver and forever diva Terrell Owens follows football's rich tradition of Dancing with the Stars contestants. He'll be joined by former Los Angeles Lakers (that's a basketball team) guard Derek Fisher as reps from the pro athlete arena.
See how the couples pair up in the gallery below.
Dancing with the Stars Season 25 premieres Monday, Sept. 18 at 8/7c on ABC.