DWTS desperation results in partner-changing twist; cast announced

In a twist that sounds more desperate than anything else, Dancing with the Stars will force its cast of celebrity contestants to switch professional partners mid-season based on viewer votes. The 18th season’s cast has been announced, and includes Olympians Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who will dance with pro partners, not each other. The show’s ratings have been declining in recent seasons, and so producers fired its co-host and band.

ABC calls the twist “The Switch Up” and says “America will be given the power to vote and change celebrities and professional dance pairings. This new rule will affect all couples as they will be required to switch partners at a point in the season. Never before have dance partnerships been split up during the course of competition.”

This sounds like it’ll definitely create drama–and work against one of the things that works best about the show, which is watching the relationship between the celebrity and pro develop over the season.

Here’s the cast:

  • Pro hockey player Sean Avery with Karina Smirnoff
  • Actor Candace Cameron Bure with Mark Ballas
  • Comedian Drew Carey with Cheryl Burke
  • Olympian Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
  • Reality star Nene Leakes with Tony Dovolani
  • Nickelodeon star James Maslow with Peta Murgatroyd
  • Wonder Years star and math book author Danica McKellar with Valentin Chmerkovskiy
  • Swimmer Diana Nyad with Henry Byalikov
  • Paralympian Amy Purdy with Derek Hough
  • Disney Channel star Cody Simpson with Witney Carson
  • Olympian Charlie White with Sharna Burgess
  • Billy Dee Williams with Emma Slater

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.