Dancing With the Stars is not messing around. The show announced its all-athlete cast for season 26 during Good Morning America on Friday and with an exhilarating trailer as well.
In the trailer, which you can watch in the video above, we see the 10 contestants showing off their skills: Adam Rippon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamie Anderson, Josh Norman, Jennie Finch, Chris Mazdzer, Johnny Damon, Mirai Nagasu, Arike Ogunbowale and Tonya Harding.
Retired NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be 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 their 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.
Fan-favorite Mark Ballas is also missing from this year's pro lineup, although he has taken seasons off in the past to focus on other creative projects, like when he starred as Frankie Valli in Broadway's Jersey Boys.
Fans speculated for months that Rippon, who took over fans' hearts at the 2018 Winter Olympics, would be joining the show, despite the fact that his schedule would conflict with dates of his already-confirmed Stars on Ice tour, which runs April 6 through May 20.
But when Entertainment Tonight asked Rippon about appearing on the show, he didn't deny it.
"I think it would be a great opportunity and it would be really fun," he said during a Facebook Live interview. "It would be really fun. I've always wanted to learn how to dance, because I've just been a solo act, like a one-man show."
"You know, it would be a crazy schedule," Rippon explained. "Like, the dates are all going on during the Stars on Ice tour, so it would be a lot of traveling. And I've never danced with a partner before. I think [my dancing skills] are more like solo skills."
"Usually I'm a crazy person, like really outgoing, kinda, like, loud, so when I go out, I'll just start dancing a little bit and I'll be having a good time and usually people think like, 'Oh, she's crazy,'" he continued, poking fun at his dance skills. "They're not wrong, but usually it looks like I'm going to hurt myself. And that's by myself! I don't know what kind of insurance [there is]."
Harding, who is most famous for her feud with Nancy Kerrigan, returned to spotlight this year with the release of Oscar-nominated I, Tonya. Kerrigan competed on Season 24 of DWTS, and will make her debut in the ballroom this season, reports Us Weekly.
Nagasu, another standout figure skater from the Winter Olympics, made history in February by becoming the first U.S. woman to land the notoriously tricky triple axel in an Olympic competition.
At 7-foot-2, the 70-year-old Abdul-Jabbar towers over his partner, and the show's reigning champion, Lindsay Arnold. He still holds the record as the leading point scorer in basketball.
University of Notre Dame hero Arike Ogunbowale led her team to win the national championship and made the cover of Sports Illustrated.0comments
Season 26 of Dancing With the Stars premieres Monday, April 30 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Photo credit: Twitter / @dancingabc