‘DWTS’ Sea­son 25 short on star power

Ball­room pros might have more wattage than many of the celebri­ties

USA TODAY US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Carly Mal­len­baum

It’s time for an­other round of “Danc­ing With the Stars.” But this fall, the ball­room pros might have more star wattage than many of the celebri­ties on ABC’s re­al­ity se­ries.

For Sea­son 27, “Harry Pot­ter” star Evanna Lynch (Luna Love­g­ood), “Dukes of Haz­zard” lead John Sch­nei­der and “Facts of Life” ac­tress Nancy McK­eon are tak­ing the stage to com­pete for the mir­ror­ball, along with a mix of other ac­tors, ath­letes – in­clud­ing Olympic gym­nast Mary Lou Ret­ton and blind skier Danelle Um­stead – a comic, a model, a re­al­ity star, a ra­dio host and a record­ing artist.

Last spring’s short­ened all-ath­letes ver­sion of the ABC re­al­ity se­ries “was ob­vi­ously all about high com­pe­ti­tion,” ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer An­drew Llinares says. But the show re­turns to its reg­u­lar full-sea­son glory Sept. 24 (Mon­days, 8 EDT/PDT), where “we’ll have a whole va­ri­ety of peo­ple and there might be a lit­tle bit more of a fun (mood). You’ll see more of a jour­ney, more of a pro­gres­sion in peo­ple.”

One of them, Ir­ish ac­tress Lynch, says she’s ex­cited to re­turn to dance about a decade af­ter be­ing re­jected by a dance col­lege, and to “have some­thing more to talk about be­sides her four “Pot­ter” films.

“I want to in­tro­duce other things (and) try to chal­lenge my­self to be out­go­ing,” she says.

Lynch learned Ir­ish danc­ing and bal­let as a child, then stud­ied other forms of dance for fun while on set in Lon­don, where she was ob­sessed with Michael Jack­son. She is look­ing for­ward to her most high-pro­file project since the “Pot­ter” films, be­cause “the thing that I love, that lights me up, is per­form­ing.”

The list of con­tes­tants:

Evanna Lynch, 27

How you know her: The ac­tress and an­i­mal-rights ac­tivist played de­light­fully ec­cen­tric and artis­tic Raven­claw stu­dent Luna Love­g­ood in the “Harry Pot­ter” movies from 2007 to 2011.

Her part­ner: Keo Mot­sepe, who al­ready has been coach­ing Lynch through new dance moves and In­sta­gram ideas. Their part­ner hash­tag: #ke­vanna.

Mary Lou Ret­ton, 50

How you know her: She’s the first Amer­i­can woman to win a Team USA all-around gold medal for gym­nas­tics, with per­fect-10 scores in 1984.

Her part­ner: Pro Sasha Far­ber, who mar­ried fel­low pro Emma Slater.

Ti­nashe, 25

How you know her: The pop/R&B singer was an ac­tress and girl-group mem­ber be­fore go­ing solo with her big­gest hit, “2 On.”

Her part­ner: Bran­don Armstrong, a long­time mem­ber of the show’s per­form­ing dance troupe who will mark his first time as a pro part­ner.

Danelle Um­stead, 46

How you know her: She’s a vis­ually im­paired Alpine skier who has won medals in three Par­a­lympic Games with her hus­band, Rob, as her guide.

Her part­ner: Pro Artem Chigv­int­sev, who of­ten skied to school while grow­ing up in Rus­sia.

Bobby Bones, 38

How you know him: He’s an “Amer­i­can Idol” men­tor and host of coun­try ra­dio’s “The Bobby Bones Show.”

His part­ner: Aus­tralian dancer Sharna Burgess is a three-time run­ner-up on “DWTS.”

Juan Pablo Di Pace, 39

How you know him: TheAr­gen­tinian ac­tor played Je­sus in “A.D. The Bi­ble Con­tin­ues.”

His part­ner:

Ch­eryl Burke. Two-time cham­pion

John Sch­nei­der, 58

How you know him: For play­ing Bo Duke in the orig­i­nal “Dukes of Haz­zard” se­ries and as Clark Kent’s adop­tive father, Jonathan, on “Smal­lville.” He was in the news ear­lier this year, sen­tenced to jail for un­paid al­imony.

His part­ner: English pro Emma Slater won the mir­ror­ball with NFL run­ning back Rashad Jen­nings in Sea­son 24.

Nikki Glaser, 34

How you know her: She’s a standup comic who has ap­peared on Net­flix spe­cials and Com­edy Cen­tral roasts.

Her part­ner: Rus­sian dancer Gleb Savchenko hasn’t placed in the top three yet, but he chore­ographed one of the sex­i­est “DWTS” rou­tines of all time.

DeMar­cus Ware, 36

How you know him: The for­mer line­backer played for the Dal­las Cow­boys from 2005 to 2013 be­fore join­ing the Den­ver Bron­cos for three sea­sons and win­ning a Su­per Bowl.

His part­ner: Pro Lindsay Arnold, who fa­mously per­formed a salsa with Ka­reem Ab­dul-Jab­bar on a fel­low dancer’s shoul­ders last sea­son.

Milo Man­heim, 17

How you know him: He sang and danced as Zed in the Dis­ney Chan­nel mu­si­cal movie “Zom­bies.”

His part­ner: Pro Wit­ney Carson, who was a cham­pion in Sea­son 19 with part­ner Al­fonso Ribeiro.

Alexis Ren, 21

How you know her: The “Sports Il­lus­trated” swim­suit model with more than 12 mil­lion fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram and a “Maxim” cover, trained in bal­let.

Her part­ner: Pro Alan Ber­sten, who had a tu­mor re­moved from his neck this year.

Joe Ama­bile, 31

How you know him: The re­al­ity TV per­son­al­ity from the most re­cent sea­sons of “The Bach­e­lorette” and “Bach­e­lor in Par­adise” has been nick­named “Gro­cery Store Joe” be­cause he’s a trader-turned-gro­cery store buyer.

His part­ner: Jenna John­son, last sea­son’s cham­pion with Adam Rip­pon.

Nancy McK­eon, 52

How you know her: The ac­tress played Jo Pol­ni­aczek on the 1980s NBC sit­com “The Facts of Life.”

Her part­ner: Val Ch­merkovskiy is a long­time pro who will also be a judge on next month’s “Danc­ing With the Stars: Ju­niors.”

CRAIG SJODIN/ABC

Mary Lou Ret­ton will team with Sasha Far­ber.

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