“Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” has found its judges — and they’re all very familiar faces to “Dancing” fans.
Two-time “Dancing” champ Val Chmerkovskiy, Emmy-winning choreographer Mandy Moore (not that Mandy Moore) and reigning “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes” champ Adam Rippon will dole out scores on the kid version of the long-running show. The reveal was made on Monday’s “Good Morning America.”
Chmerkovskiy won Seasons 20 and 23 with Rumer Willis and Laurie Hernandez, respectively. He sat out the “Athletes” season — the first installment he’s missed since joining the show in Season 13 — but his new fiancee Jenna Johnson won with Rippon. (“I believe Adam will be a bridesman. Is that what it’s called?” Chmerkovskiy quipped on “GMA.”) Chmerkovskiy is a solid choice for the show, which will be pre-taped. The spin-off won’t be hosted by Tom Bergeron or Erin Andrews, so a veteran like Chmerkovskiy is a good connective tissue to the mothership.
Moore, who choreographed “La La Land,” is a household name to anyone who knows anything about dance. A longtime choreographer for “Dancing” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” she won the Best Choreography Emmy last year for two routines she created for “Dancing” (she was also nominated against herself for two “SYTYCD” numbers). “”I’d love to brag on Mandy’s behalf,” Chmerkovskiy said. “She’s behind every awesome performance you see on ‘Dancing with the Stars.'” Moore has the pedigree and resume to fill that “expert” role on the panel.
Needless to say, Rippon does not have that… unless the four weeks he spent learning routines for “Athletes” qualifies. But the Olympic figure skater does bring hype and attention to the show as the Pyeongchang breakout continues to maximize his post-Olympic and post-skating opportunities. He’s also the only judge who knows what it’s like to learn dancing from scratch in a compressed amount of time, so he can provide guidance and words of wisdom on that front. Plus, he’s already bringing the one-liners.
“I used to be embarrassed [when I was a kid]. Not anymore. Because I was thrown to the fire, lived with the wolves, and that’s what I’m going to do with these kids,” he joked.
“Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” premieres Sunday, Oct. 7 at 8/7c with a two-hour episode.