“In terms of the pros returning, a lot of them are former champions … as well as finalists,” says Gold Derby contributor Cordell Martin during our video slugfest to discuss the August 24 announcement of the “Dancing with the Stars” pro dancers (watch above). “It’ll be interesting to see if Artem and Keo can finally have that chance in the finals and go for the Mirror Ball Trophy, as well as Alan.”
There are 13 pro dancers competing in the upcoming 25th season of “DWTS.” Of those, seven have won the Mirror Ball Trophy at least once: Mark Ballas (twice), Cheryl Burke (twice), Witney Carson, Val Chmerkovskiy (twice), Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Peta Murgatroyd (twice), and Emma Slater. Of the remaining six, two others have finished in the top three, but haven’t won: Lindsay Arnold and Sharna Burgess. Then there’s Gleb Savchenko, who hasn’t had a top-three finish but did make the finals in season 23 with celebrity partner Jana Kramer, finishing fourth.
That leaves just two pros in this fall’s roster who have struggled to advance in their previous seasons: Artem Chigvintsev and Keo Motsepe, neither of whom has finished better than sixth. Perhaps you can attribute some of that to the teaching ability of the pros, but a lot of “DWTS” success for pro dancers comes down to a luck of the draw. It’s much easier to make the finals with an Olympic gymnast, for instance, than with an older celebrity with limited range of motion and no athletic or dance training. Chigvintsev (who actually won the British version of “DWTS”) and Motsepe have often been unlucky in that regard, so Martin and I are both rooting for them to be paired with celebs who could take them all the way.
But then there’s first-time pro dancer Alan Bersten, who has been promoted from the troupe. “We will see if casting is nice to him his first go around with a ringer, or someone with some kind of dance skill,” says Martin. What do you think? Are you also rooting for Chigvintsev and Motsepe? Or do you hope someone else wins the Mirror Ball Trophy?