To say the Season 25 cast of Dancing with the Stars is varied would be an understatement. From a Paralympic champion to an HGTV host to an NFL star, this season truly has the most diverse cast yet. Not only are we inspired by so many of the stars’ journeys, but it makes choosing a favorite dancer pretty difficult.
Let’s get to know the cast a little better by taking a look at the most remarkable facts about each star.
1. Victoria Arlen
Pro dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy called his dancing partner Victoria Arlen the “closest thing he’s ever seen to a living miracle.” At only 11 years old, Arlen became paralyzed for 10 years, four of which left her in a coma. She became determined to walk again and even competed in the 2012 London Paralympic Games, where she won a gold medal, three silver medals, and set a world record with her freestyle swim.
Seeing her dance at the Season 25 premiere of DWTS, we wouldn’t have ever known she combatted paralysis. Judge Carrie Ann called her leg action “so crisp and clean,” which is particularly remarkable, considering Arlen has no feelings in her legs whatsoever due to nerve damage.
Arlen’s determination and joy for life are truly inspiring, and Chmerkovskiy has said that working with Arlen is “an incredible opportunity to grow and inspire people and I’m grateful for it.”
2. Derek Fisher
From NBA champion to New York Knicks coach to broadcaster and in-studio analyst, you’d think Derek Fisher has hit every opportunity professional basketball has to offer. However, Fisher took all of his experience and used it to help the lives of youth with the Derek Fisher Basketball Academy. Since 2009, this camp experience has helped develop “basketball, leadership, and life skills” of children and teens.
As admirable as Fisher’s career has been, he’s ready to learn a totally new skill: dancing. He has “zero years of dancing experience, people,” which he confessed in his ABC Meet the Cast interview. Fisher’s dancing partner, Sharna Burgess, compared his current dancing to a “baby elephant,” but that their goal is to move to the “lion stage.”
Though he only got to dance a few dances before getting eliminated in Week 3, we loved watching him perform — no matter what wild animal he resembled!
3. Sasha Pieterse
Most well known for her role in Pretty Little Liars, dancing is a totally new endeavor for Sasha Pieterse. However, Pieterse’s parents were both ballroom dancers, so we love getting to see her tap into her dancing roots.
In an interview with HollywoodLife, Pieterse said, “I started acting when I was four, and I was never really interested in dance. I loved watching it, and I appreciated it, and I knew how much hard work it took, but I was never willing to do it.”
Apparently, DWTS asked Pieterse to dance on the show a few years ago, but the schedule conflicted with PLL. We’re happy she can now take the time to commit, because she was poised, confident, and displayed a lot of personality in her first dance with Gleb Savchenko.
4. Drew Scott
As foreign as it feels to see Drew Scott without his twin brother and co-host of HGTV’s Property Brothers, Jonathan, we like seeing him step out of his comfort zone. Scott’s talents are wide-ranging, so we’re not surprised to see him give dancing a go.
We were surprised to learn that, in 2015, the Scott brothers entered the country music scene. They wrote and recorded “Hold On” and “Let the Night Shine In,” the former making it to the Billboard Hot Country charts. They even used their dabbling in music for a good cause by donating all proceeds to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, with their 2017 countrified twist on “My House” by Flo Rida.
We may be secretly hoping to see Scott and his dancing partner, Emma Slater, dance to one of their country songs in the future.
5. Nikki Bella
Nikki Bella may have followed in her twin sister’s footsteps into the world of WWE, but now, Bella is the “longest reigning” Divas Champion. Though she’s definitely used to working her body in front of a crowd, Bella admitted she felt super nervous leading up to her dance. She ended up channeling her WWE moves by finishing the dance with a body slam, which probably made her feel more at home.
The star of E!’s Total Bellas and Total Divas told E! News that she’s already lost five pounds since starting with DWTS, and that she “kinda [wants to] lose five more but actually keep the butt really big.” She said that she’s actually eating “more carbs than ever, which is crazy!”
Bella’s fiancé and fellow wrestler, John Cena, definitely admires her for all the hard work she’s clearly putting in. She said that immediately following her dance, he texted her, “Wow! Wow!,” which was the first of many loving messages he sent her.
6. Frankie Muniz
The actor may have been blushful when practicing for his first dance with Witney Carson, but Frankie Muniz definitely delivered when dancing to “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles. It was slightly surprising seeing him feel embarrassed while dancing, as noted by Carson, considering he’s been an entertainer for so much of his life.
His hesitance to get out there and dance may have to do with some injuries he’s sustained from race car driving, which he took on as a post-acting professional career. He revealed in the DWTS premiere that he had broken his back in a racing crash, in addition to injuring his hands and ribs. He even had a mini-stroke in 2012, so we’re particularly amazed to see him out here doing so well.
7. Lindsey Stirling
In Lindsey Stirling’s first dance with Mark Ballas, we couldn’t tell who was the professional dancer and who was the star. Stirling is actually no stranger to the DWTS set, as we learned that she has played violin for the show a few times, but has never stepped foot on it as a dancer.
Not many violinists have made a claim to fame in mainstream culture, but Stirling has opened the door for future violinists to come. She has nearly 10 million YouTube subscribers and sells out tour after tour. As a winner of two Billboard awards, she may have a mirror ball trophy to add to the shelf!
8. Jordan Fisher
When Lin-Manual Miranda calls you “super talented,” you know you’re destined for stardom. Jordan Fisher performed in Miranda’s Broadway show, Hamilton, in the roles of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton. He also performed in Fox’s Grease: LIVE as Doody. So while Fisher’s first dance on DWTS blew us away, his talent didn’t particularly surprise us.
Dancing to “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” by Shawn Mendes with partner Lindsay Arnold, he nearly left judge Carrie Ann speechless. She exclaimed, “You shouldn’t be dancing like that in Week 1!”
We’re sure we’re not alone in thinking Fisher and Arnold are up for the mirror ball trophy this season.
9. Barbara Corcoran
Real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran is living proof that if you persist, you can make your dreams a reality. It took 22 different jobs for her to reach her career goals in starting the Corcoran Group, and now, she’s the “queen of NYC real estate” and a Shark Tank star. In an interview with Us Weekly, Corcoran claimed, “My biggest successes in life have all happened on the heels of failure. I’m good at getting back up.”
Corcoran gave it her all in her first couple of dances with partner, Keo Motsepe, but she was among the first to be eliminated in Season 25.
10. Terrell Owens
NFL player Terrell Owens is an experienced dancer … if you count his touchdown dances on the field. Though Owens acknowledged that his confidence on the field may come across as having a big ego, all we can see is that he has a big heart. He’s partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association and regularly raises awareness about the disease, which sadly took his grandmother.
He’s also led the What TO Do Global Campaign, which is “an initiative aimed at empowering and motivating youth around the world through speaking, workshops, and with the launch of an inspirational clothing line for men, women, and children.” We are certainly inspired by his initiatives, as well as his confident dance moves.
11. Debbie Gibson
Singer Debbie Gibson couldn’t go anywhere unknown in the ’80s. At only 16 years old, Gibson made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for making it to No. 1 on the charts with “Foolish Beat,” as the youngest artist to write, produce, and perform a song. She admitted that she tried wearing a brown wig and glasses to go out in public peacefully, but fans would instantly recognize her.
Appearing on DWTS is a true accomplishment for Gibson, as she recently battled debilitating symptoms of Lyme disease. In an interview with Closer Magazine, Gibson revealed that her body felt extreme fatigue and “[responded] negatively to most foods, including fats and carbohydrates.” She also dealt with “numbness and tingling in her extremities,” which is an entertainer’s worst nightmare.
Though Gibson gave it her all with dancing partner Alan Bersten on DWTS, she was voted off second.
12. Nick Lachey
We were shocked to learn that Nick Lachey isn’t a seasoned dancer, considering the fact that he’s been in boy band 98 Degrees since 1997! He did mention on the Season 25 DWTS premiere that 98 Degrees was never a dancing boy band, but there’s definitely a stigma that comes with the territory.
Despite that, Lachey seemed to have fun during his first dance with Peta Murgatroyd, performing better than he let on. Speaking of Lachey …
Nick Lachey is dancing in his younger brother’s footsteps
Keep in mind that Nick’s younger brother and fellow 98 Degrees member, Drew Lachey, not only competed in Season 2 of DWTS, but he was actually the dancing champion.
While Nick may be accepting some pointers from Drew, we’re sure he hopes to earn the second mirror ball trophy in the family. Drew did tell ABC news that “this is going to be one of his favorite casts to watch because of the variety.”
It probably also helps that not one, but two Lacheys are in the mix. Which leads us to …
13. Vanessa Lachey
“I do everything in my life for my kids and for my husband, but this is an opportunity for me to kind of do something for myself,” Vanessa Lachey confessed in her intro video to DWTS. Lachey definitely seemed to find a good balance, however, in her first dance with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. The choreography involved strollers and babies, but she broke out some sexy moves, too.
Even though Vanessa and Nick Lachey have three kids, she’s still managed to stick with her TV career since her Total Request Live days. She starred in Dads and Truth Be Told, co-hosted on Wipeout and True Beauty, and has made guest appearances on Hawaii Five-O, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, CSI-NY, and Psych. In October 2017, she will return to co-hosting, but this time on Top Chef Junior.
The competition between the Lacheys will stand out in the cast
While all of the cast members have their own unique appeal, the competition between husband and wife Nick and Vanessa Lachey is sure to play a major factor this season. Though their embarkment on this adventure together is adorable, the two also admitted to being super competitive with each other.
As much as they each want to bring home the mirror ball trophy for themselves, it seems comforting for each star to have their spouse along for the ride. Nick concedes, “Look, at the end of the day, we’re all in a competition together, but it’s still your spouse, and you support them and you want to see them do well.”
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