Monday's premiere of the all-athlete season of the ABC reality show started with a bang when hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews appeared behind a new SportsCenter-esque desk, both rocking headsets reminiscent of an athletic commentator. Behind them, in the place of the massive Mirrorball, hung a giant Jumbotron to further complete the sports motif.
Instead of the show’s red room, there is a skybox for all the cast’s chats to take place.
"Look what we've done with the place," Bergeron said excitedly.
"I love it," Andrews added.
In the condensed four-week season, retired NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is partnered with pro Lindsay Arnold; MLB player Johnny Damon will dance with pro Emma Slater; Tonya Harding is heading to the ballroom with pro Sasha Farber; figure skater Mirai Nagasu is paired with pro Alan Bersten; figure skater Adam Rippon joins pro Jenna Johnson; snowboarder Jamie Anderson joins pro Artem Chigvintse; Olympic luger Chris Mazdzer will dance with pro Witney Carson; softball player Jennie Finch is paired with Keo Motsepe; NFL player Josh Norman will dance with Sharna Burgess; University of Notre Dame women's basketball player Arike Ogunbowale will dance with Gleb Savchenko.
Noticeably missing from the pro dancers lineup were Maksim Chmerkovskiy, wife Peta Murgatroyd and bother Val Chmerkovskiy. The three are currently out on the CONFIDENTIAL dance tour, which ends May 16, as previously reported in a PopCulture.com exclusive. Maks' absence from the special four-week event further fuels rumors among fans that season 25, when he was partnered with Vanessa Lachey, could have been his last.
Voting is also a little different. The polls will open at the beginning of the episode and closing a few minutes after the last couple steps off the stage. While all of America can obviously vote, Puerto Rico also can will be able to vote this season.
If you cast your vote but then change your mind, but you can change your vote on the official Dancing With the Stars website at any point during the episode.
Toward the end of the episode, voting will close and votes will be tallied. Two couples will then be eliminated.
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Photo credit: ABC