Dancing with the Stars Season 28 is nearly here, and fans are about to get acquainted with its star-studded cast. This year, the lineup includes some huge celebrities, including stars from TV, movies, music, sports and even politics. They'll have to leave all that behind as they step out onto the dance floor.
The acclaimed competition series is really shooting for the stars this season. After a rocky ratings performance last fall and then a skipped season in the spring, ABC has revamped the series this time around to recapture its former glory.
At least some of that effort went into the casting, as evidenced by the list below. We will also see big enhancements in the wardrobe department, the professional dancer lineup and the format, which will reportedly focus more on the stars themselves.
Another big change will be in the suspense department. For the first time ever, Dancing with the Stars did not announce the pairings between the pros and the celebrities ahead of time. Instead, they will unveil these team-ups and the dynamics behind them in the first episode of the season.
Here is a look at the names gracing the stage this year on Dancing with the Stars.
First up is country music superstar Lauren Alaina. The "Road Less Traveled" singer has released two albums and gone platinum, all at the age of 24. Hailing from Georgia, Alaina often tips her hat to the female country stars that came before her, notably in her latest song "Ladies in the '90s."
Alaina has undeniably joined their ranks now, however, with rave reviews from prestigious outlets like Rolling Stone and Billboard, and the most-streamed female country album of 2017 to her name. Now, Alaina will try and translate that talent into dance moves, and fans cannot wait to see how it goes.
Supermodel Christie Brinkley may be one of the most recognizable faces on the DWTS stage this year. The 65-year-old has been a pop culture icon for years, appearing on over 500 magazine covers in her career.
That was never enough for Brinkley, who used modeling to springboard into acting, writing and generally being an entrepreneur. This includes some big turns in musical theater, including a recent revival of the musical Chicago, where she played Roxie Hart. Hopefully, this triple threat can ballroom dance just as well.
Fifth Harmony star Ally Brooke went solo earlier this year, and now she will have to learn to collaborate again with her professional dance partner. Brooke's first solo album is coming soon, but in the meantime the 26-year-old is ready to work out her nerves on the dance floor.
Of course, reality TV fans already know Hannah Brown well from her recent run on The Bachelorette. The show's 15th season left Brown engaged to Jed Wyatt, only to discover that he had a secret girlfriend the entire time. As a consolation, Brown reportedly asked runner-up Tyler Cameron out on a date.
Beyond her high-stakes dating life, the 24-year-old is a born and bred country girl and a beauty pageant star. Brown has been open with fans about her history of anxiety and depression, so hopefully her nerves won't get the better of her on Dancing with the Stars.
Fans of Netflix's reboot Queer Eye know Karamo Brown well, and soon the rest of the world will too. Brown, 38 is known for being compassionate and sensitive on TV, in print and on his podcast, where he examines the issues of every day life from every angle. Now, fans will learn how good he is when the talking stops and it comes down to dancing.
Comedy superstar Kate Flannery may be best-known for her time on The Office, where she played the lovable office party fiend Meredith. Flannery has also been seen on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl and Young Sheldon, as well as movies like Tenured, Slow Learners and 4th Man Out. She has done voice work for cartoons like Steven Universe, and has done countless improv comedy shows with the Groundlings.
Needless to say, Flannery's credits are prodigious, but her dancing skills remain to be seen.
Football fans know Ray Lewis from 17 triumphant years on the field. In his final game, Lewis led the Baltimore Ravens to victory in Super Bowl XLVII before retiring, cementing his place in NFL history.
Lewis was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame last year. He has also written a bestselling memoir titled I Feel Like Going On, and appeared on Showtime's series Inside the NFL. Fans will have to tune in this week to see how his foot work translates to the dance floor.
Most '90s kids remember Kel Mitchell as the orange soda-loving chaotic half of Nickelodeon's Kenan & Kel. He was also featured on the network's other live-action series at the time, including All That and The Amanda Show. Mitchell and his co-star Kenan Thompson even spun-off in a feature film titled Good Burger, providing some of his most memorable quotes.
Mitchell has continued acting into his adulthood, on shows like Friends of the People, Tails of Valor, Game Shakers and Loiter Squad, among others. He even returned to Nickelodeon for an appearance on Sam & Cat.
Off screen, Mitchell is dedicated to anti-bullying campaigns, which sometimes lean heavily on faith. Mitchell takes speaking engagements across the U.S. where he encourages young people to chase their dreams and be good to each other.
These days, it is hard to say whether Lamar Odom is better known as an NBA legend or a reality TV star. The basketball player joined the word of the Kardashians for several years, though they turned out to be some of the darkest years of his life as he worked through his drug addiction and past trauma.
All of that is now behind Odom, who shared all the gory details in his memoir, Darkness to Light this year. He has a new spring in his step, which he is going to need if he has any hopes of winning the dance competition this year.
The most controversial casting pick for the season is undoubtedly Sean Spicer, former White House Press Secretary for the Trump administration. Spicer made headlines in the early days of Trump's presidency for his emotional press briefings, and his place in the pop cultural lexicon was cemented by Melissa McCarthy's impressions of him on Saturday Night Live.
Spicer has a long career in Republican politics, both before and after working for President Trump. He also wrote a book detailing his time in the White House, and his since taken up work in the private sector.
Still, many people are displeased to see DWTS giving Spicer yet another new platform, so he will have to earn his place on TV. Soon we will see whether he is up to the task.
James Van Der Beek
James Van Der Beek is a unique actor, equally at home in blockbusters like Varsity Blues and The Rules of Attraction, and niche cult classics like Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. He has a long resume on TV as well, from Dawson's Creek to more recent appearances like Pose on FX.
Finally, rounding out the cast is Mary Wilson, an formidable jack of all trades. Wilson is, in no particular order, a professional singer, a bestselling author, a motivational speaker, a businesswoman and the former U.S. Cultural Ambassador. Fans may know Wilson best for singing in the original lineup of the Supremes, but has had a long and wide-ranging career since then, and she will bring all of that experience to the stage this season.
Dancing with the Stars Season 28 premieres on Monday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.