The new cast for Dancing with the Stars season 21 has been revealed. With 13 stars from a 15-year-old social media star to a 71-year-old Oscar nominee, there’s something for everyone. Except sports fans as horse racing jockey Victor Espinoza is the lone athlete.
Meet the Cast of Dancing with the Stars Season 21>>
But as we wait for the competition to begin, it’s always fun to take a look at the 13 couples and try to predict which ones will go far and who will be eliminated early.
No Chance for the Old Folks
The oldest winner ever is 51-year-old Donny Osmond, so it’s safe to immediately rule out the three stars over 60. I’m sure Gary Busey, Paula Deen and Chaka Khan will provide some much needed comedic relief and insanity, but that can only take them so far. The best they can hope for is to eke through like Patti LaBelle or Tommy Chong, or maybe be an ironic trainwreck choice like Jerry Springer or Nancy Grace.
It doesn’t help that Gary and Paula are both partnered with pros who haven’t been with DWTS since season 15, Anna Trebunskaya and Louis van Amstel. Were none of the current pros willing to take on those two notorious celebrities? And Chaka is stuck with Keo Motsepe, a pro who hasn’t made it past week 3 in either of his first two seasons.
No Chance for Them Either
Yes, I’m officially declaring that nearly half of this cast has absolutely no chance at winning the Mirror Ball. Hayes Grier is only 15, and being that young didn’t work out so well for Willow Shields last season. Victor Espinoza is only 5’2”, which will be an issue, and the brief clips we’ve seen show him to be a rather terrible dancer. I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s the first person eliminated.
Then there’s Kim Zolciak, yet another member of the Real Housewives franchise. She’s also from Atlanta and partnered with Tony Dovolani, just like NeNe Leakes, who made it to the middle of the pack. Zolciak is less recognizable and likable than NeNe, which should make it even harder for her.
There are always a few stars who may or may not do well. Andy Grammer is a musician and appeared as a performer last season, so he could surprise everyone or make an early exit. Tamar Braxton is a bit of an unknown, but being partnered with Val Chmerkovskiy helps her a lot as he’s finished in the Top 6 in each of the last six seasons.
Then there’s Alek Skarlatos, the biggest unknown of them all. He may not be that well known aside from being a current hero, but Noah Galloway proved last season that voters love soldiers, especially heroes. But he’s going to have to build up a fan base since he doesn’t have much of one going in.
The Top 4
Based on first impressions, there are really only four pairs this season with a legitimate shot at winning the Mirror Ball Trophy.
Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough: As I always point out, Derek has made it into the Top 4 for his past 11 seasons in a row, making Bindi a shoo-in for the finale. However, she definitely doesn’t fit the profile of his usual partners, so it’s hard to tell how they will do. Can Derek break his streak of finishing in fourth place for the last two seasons in a row?
Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess: Boy bands from the ’90s do very well on DWTS. Drew Lachey from 98 Degrees won season 2 while Joey McIntyre from New Kids on the Block and N*Sync’s Joey Faton and Lance Bass all made it to the Final 3. Sharna made her first appearance in the finale last season with Noah Galloway and this could definitely be her time to shine.
Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson: Carlos is young, good-looking and from Big Time Rush, a band/TV show that required him to do choreography. Fellow BTR member James Maslow made it all of the way to fourth place in season 18 while Witney Carson won with Alfonso Ribeiro and dragged Bachelor Chris Soules to fifth place. If I were them, I’d already be planning my Freestyle.
Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas: Alexa, as an attractive actress and singer in her 20s, fits the mold of recently successful stars like Rumer Willis and Janel Parrish (making a bit odd she’s not partnered with Val). She has everything you might look for in a winner, plus the added bonus of competing against her husband. After all, being the female half of a duo worked out very well for Meryl Davis.
On top of that, this could be a big comeback for Mark Ballas. The pro won two of his first four seasons, but now he’s gone 12 straight seasons without a win. Sure, he’s made it to the Final 3 five times, but he couldn’t pull off a third Mirror Ball. He tends to do really well or really poorly, and with this partner and this cast, I expect really well.
Can Dancing the the Stars Repair Paula Deen’s Reputation?>>>
Before the first dances even take place, I predict that Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas will win Dancing with the Stars season 21. She has the right look and build to go far and he’s a fan favorite choreographer who proved last season that he can come up with inventive concepts.
In recent years Mark’s been burdened with stars who required him to be more conservative as a choreographer (14-year-old Willow Shields or wholesome Christians like Sadie Robertson, Candace Cameron Bure and Bristol Palin). But with Alexa, the sky’s the limit as long as he doesn’t mind her husband watching and Mark could easily join his BFF Derek as the only pros with more than two Mirror Balls.
Dancing with the Stars season 21 premieres Monday, September 14 at 8pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)