The Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars pairings have been announced — and while five pro-celeb combos are repeats of their original seasons, only football legend Emmitt Smith and two-time champ Cheryl Burke scored themselves the mirror ball trophy.
That leaves the rest of the field populated with some serious power pairings and fan-favorite match-ups that should equate with a highly competitive and ultra-entertaining outing.
“We’re trying to pair people based upon what we think is going to make the most intriguing season and make a brilliant season,” executive producer Conrad Green told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, “and that will all become clear on the 13th.”
So here’s how the mixing and matching shook out:
• KIRSTIE ALLEY reunites with MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY, who returns for his 13th season.
• JOEY FATONE reunites with two-time champ KYM JOHNSON, who returns for her 12th season.
• BRISTOL PALIN reunites with two-time champ MARK BALLAS, who is returning for his 11th season.
• MELISSA RYCROFT reunites with TONY DOVOLANI, who returns for a 14th season.
• EMMITT SMITH reunites with two-time champ CHERYL BURKE, who returns for her 14th season.
• PAMELA ANDERSON (original partner Damian Whitewood) teams with TRISTAN MACMANUS, who returns for his 3rd season as a professional partner.
• HELIO CASTRONEVES (original partner Julianne Hough) will dance with CHELSIE HIGHTOWER, who is returning for her 7th season.
• SHAWN JOHNSON (original partner Mark Ballas) partners with three-time champ DEREK HOUGH, who returns for his 10th season.
• DREW LACHEY (original partner Cheryl Burke) teams up with ANNA TREBUNSKAYA, who returns for her 10th season.
• GILLES MARINI (original partner Cheryl Burke) partners with last season’s champ, PETA MURGATROYD, who is returning for her 3rd season as a professional partner.
• KELLY MONACO (original partner Alec Mazo) joins VALENTIN CHMERKOVSKIY, who returns for his 3rd season.
• APOLO ANTON OHNO (original partner Julianne Hough) dances with Season 13 champ KARINA SMIRNOFF, who returns for her 12th season.
“We are all friends, so there’s gonna be an element of camaraderie that I think will be evident right out the gate, that just by the very nature of the other seasons, it would have been impossible to emulate,” host Tom Bergeron said of the super-grouping.
But that doesn’t mean the competition won’t be fierce — a notion that weighs especially heavily on the minds (and bodies) of the show’s first two winners.
“I had a very good time doing it, but I was Season 2,” said former champ Lachey. “For me coming back, that was six years ago, so I almost have something to prove. The competition has stepped up every season since then. I’m six years older. I want to go out and I want to see how I stack up against the best from every other season.”
“Drew thinks he has a hard time because he’s six years away,” retorted Season 1′s pre-dance-off champ General Hospital actress Monaco. “I’m seven years gone, older. So, yeah, it’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be a lot of hard work, that’s for sure!”
What do you think of the match-ups, DWTS fans? Will the smolder of Max and Kirstie rise above the pure power of Shawn and Derek? Can Emmitt and Cheryl win again? Let us know your prognostications in the comment section below!
Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars premieres Monday, Sept. 24 at 8/7pm CT