Photo by the Associated Press
After over a week of leaks, the official cast of the 17th season of "Dancing With the Stars" was announced Monday morning - and the lineup proved those leakers knew just what they were talking about. And this time they were talking about more than a few notable names.
Actress Valerie Harper was reported to be a sure lock for new lineup, despite an ongoing battle with terminal cancer that her doctor only recently revealed to be "pretty close to a remission," and "Dancing" hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke confirmed that and other casting news on "Good Morning America."
The 74-year-old will be joined by returning pro dancer Tristan MacManus. Here are the names of the 11 stars who'll soon offer Harper some stiff competition in the battle for the mirror-ball trophy and the pro partners who promise to show them the moves:
- Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, 25 - The reality TV star will follow in the footsteps of her former fellow "Jersey Shore" cast member, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino," by taking the "Dancing" stage. She'll work with former Troupe member and first-time pro Sasha Farber.
- Leah Remini, 43 - The former "King of Queens" actress, who left the Church of Scientology this year, will learn the steps with hoofer Tony Dovolani.
- Bill Nye, 57 - Actor, television host and all-round "Science Guy" Nye will groove with "Dancing" first-timer Tyne Stecklein.
- Elizabeth Berkley, 41 - The film and television star behind memorable parts in "Saved By the Bell" and the now-cult classic "Showgirls" will hit the floor with Val Chmerkovskiy.
- Keyshawn Johnson, 41 - The retired NFL wide receiver will learn the ballroom basics from Sharna Burgess.
- Amber Riley, 27 - The actress and singer, best known for her role as Mercedes Jones on "Glee," will learn from "Dancing's" only four-time champ, Derek Hough.
- Jack Osbourne, 27 -The reality TV star, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012, plans to show fans his dance-floor skills alongside two-time champ Cheryl Burke.
- Christina Milian, 31 - The actress, singer-songwriter and social media correspondent for "The Voice" will dance with two-time pro winner Mark Ballas.
- Corbin Bleu, 24 - He's already proved himself a triple threat on-screen in Disney's "High School Musical" series, and Bleu will get to prove his ballroom merit with Karina Smirnoff.
- Brant Daugherty, 28 - The "Pretty Little Liars" star will waltz with Peta Murgatroyd.
- Bill Engvall, 56 - Actor-comedian Engvall from the Blue Collar Comedy troupe will move to the music with newbie pro Emma Slater.
Who's shaping up to be an early favorite? Well, that depends on who you ask. After the cast announcement, Nye warned viewers he was in it to win it.
"It's all physics!" he said.
But Polizzi believes she could have the edge.
"I did eight years of gymnastics, six years of cheerleading, so I'm going to bring it," she insisted.
The cast isn't the only thing that will be new about the ballroom competition. As was announced in May, for the first time since the show began, "Dancing With the Stars" will go from two episodes a week to just one for season 17. That means performances and results will all be revealed on Mondays.
But viewer voters need not worry about losing their voice in the new one-night system. The results shown each Monday night will actually reflect the votes (and judges' scores) for routines performed the previous week.
See how well the ballroom babies strut their stuff when the bash kicks off Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. on ABC.