“Dancing with the Stars” announced its cast of 12 celebrities for season 24 of the dance competition series, but just as important as the stars themselves are the professional dance partners who train them for the ballroom. The celebs come and go every season, but the pros often stick around year after year, so their fan bases may be just as important in keeping a contestant in the competition. Such is the case with Val Chmerkovskiy, a star in his own right and the defending Mirror Ball champion, having won season 23 with Laurie Hernandez. If he wins again that would be his third Mirror Ball Trophy; no pro dancer has won that many except Derek Hough, who has a record six “DWTS” titles. Can he pull it off?
The new season starts on March 20, so before he and his competitors hit the dance floor let’s consider the pros and cons.
Chmerkovskiy is one of the most popular and established dancers on the show this season, and his status as a fan-favorite was solidified by his warm and affectionate chemistry with Hernandez in season 24. Suffice it to say that he’s on a roll.
In his 11 previous seasons, he has made it to the finals six times (55%). That includes four of his last five seasons; he fell short in season 21, finishing fifth, but that’s only because his celeb partner Tamar Braxton had to withdraw due to illness.
Chmerkovskiy’s partner is Normani Kordei, who has musical and dance experience with the girl group Fifth Harmony, so she may be able to handle challenging choreography right from the beginning.
Val is competing against his big brother, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who has competed off and on since season two, so he’s more experienced and arguably just as popular.
In season 23 Val had the advantage of being partnered with Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Laurie Hernandez, but this time he’s competing against a gold medal gymnast: Simone Biles, who is competing with Sasha Farber. Can he still win now that the dancing shoe is on the other foot?
Back-to-back wins are rare on “Dancing with the Stars.” That feat has only been achieved by Cheryl Burke (seasons two and three), Julianne Hough (seasons four and five) and of course Derek Hough, who did it twice (seasons 10 and 11, seasons 16 and 17).
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