New Celebs Confirmed! Everything We Know About ‘DWTS’ Season 29

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    Back to the ballroom! Dancing With the Stars — like most other things these days — will look a bit different when it returns for season 29. The changes coming to the ABC reality competition show are starting at the top!

    Hosts Tom Bergeron — who has been at the helm of the show from its debut in 2004 — and Erin Andrews, who joined in 2014, will not be returning to the ballroom. Both Andrews and Bergeron were surprised by the news.

    “As we embark on a new creative direction, he departs the show with our sincerest thanks and gratitude for his trademark wit and charm that helped make this show a success,” the network said in a statement in July. “Erin will also not be returning, and we appreciate all that she brought to the ballroom. Fans have been rooting for her since she originally competed as a contestant back in 2010, and her signature sense of humor has become a hallmark of the show.”

    In turn, ABC announced that Tyra Banks will step in as the new host. The America’s Next Top Model creator opened up to Us Weekly exclusively about her new gig, admitting that while she is feeling “pressure,” she’s hoping people will enjoy the changes she has in mind.

    “My goal is for a 12-year-old to be sitting on the couch with their parents and grandparents and everybody can relate personally to what they see on that screen,” Banks, who will also serve as an executive producer, told Us. “That’s a hint. Not giving up the goods. You’ll have to tune in!”

    On August 18, the pro dancers were also revealed — and that list includes Sharna Burgess, who was absent on season 28 despite winning season 27.

    “If they ask me, I will jump up and down — [I] might do the ugly cry,” the dancer exclusively told Us ahead of the announcement. “I’m not sure. You know, I missed my family. I miss dancing. I miss creating. I miss teaching.”

    Scroll through the gallery below for more to know about the upcoming season.

    Anne Heche, Jesse Metcalfe and Vernon Davis Join the Cast!

    Us Weekly confirmed on August 29 that actress Anne Heche (Donnie Brasco, Seven Days, Seven Nights), John Tucker Must Die star Jesse Metcalfe and former NFL player Vernon Davis are set to join Season 29. 

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    Premiere Date

    Season 29 will debut on ABC Monday, September 14, at 8 p.m. ET.

    Eric McCandless/ABC

    Making Changes

    In July, ABC announced that hosts Andrews and Bergeron would not be returning to the show. He has been the host since the show’s 2004 debut, and she joined in 2014.

    Kelsey McNeal/ABC

    A New Host

    Hours after the announcement that Bergeron and Andrews were out, ABC announced that Banks will step in as the new host.

    Drew Altizer Photography/Shutterstock

    The Pros

    In August, ABC announced the list of professional dancers set to compete on season 29. Season 27 winner Burgess, who was noticeably absent during season 28, will return, in addition to Peta Murgatroyd, Val Chmerkovskiy, Keo Motsepe and many more. Artem Chigvintsev will also be back after being cut last season.

    Kelsey McNeal/ABC

    Making History

    Britt Stewart will also compete, becoming the first Black female pro on the show. “My heart is filled with gratitude to have been given this opportunity,” she wrote via Instagram after the reveal. “I can hardly contain my excitement to step into this new position.”

    Larry Marano/Shutterstock

    Backstreet’s Back

    Us confirmed on August 24 that AJ McLean is set to compete on season 29. The Backstreet Boys member teased the news via Instagram. “I’m on a very strict diet, grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, no sodas of any kind, and completely sober for almost nine months,” he said via Instagram. “This amazing, but rigorous, workout is all due to my amazing trainer, Mr. Bobby Strong. He’s been a huge asset in my transformation, trying to get myself prepared and ready for what’s to come in the next few weeks. A lot of surprises coming from me.”

     

    Days later, McLean confirmed the news via Twitter.

     

    “We’re going for the mirrorball, baby!! I am so grateful to  @dancingabc and @abcnetwork for the opportunity to be joining this season’s cast of #DWTS,” he captioned a selfie from a dance studio. “I also want to thank my wife and my two girls for letting Daddy go on this new adventure. I’m doing it ALL for you!”

     

    Matt Baron/Shutterstock

    Bachelor Throwback

    Months before announcing any other celebrities, Chris Harrison asked Kaitlyn Bristowe to compete on season 29. The former Bachelorette — who has voiced her hopes to do the show for years — happily accepted during an episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever in June. Bristowe previously claimed that Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss didn’t allow her to dance on the show.

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    New Protocals

    Amid the coronavirus pandemic, things will look a bit different. Married pros are not allowed to live together while filming, there will be no studio audience and there will be specific new protocols put into place.

    “It’s a new stage — very bright, very fancy, a lot of LED screens and there’s definitely going to be a different feel, for sure,” Artem Chigvintsev told Entertainment Tonight in August. “We kind of have to co-exist with what’s happening in the world so they have to restructure the stage to make it top-notch. So it’s gonna be a whole new stage, a very surprising stage. … I heard in the rehearsal room there’s going to be pre-set cameras. It’s going to be, like, no people besides the dancer and the celebrity.”

    ABC

    ‘Lucky’ Girl

    While she wouldn’t reveal the name of her famous dance partner, longtime pro Cheryl Burke admitted to Entertainment Tonight that she was “very, very happy” with her match. “It’s somebody who I think will have lots of potential, but is also just a really cool person,” she said in August. “I am going to have to spend a lot of time with this person, so you hope you just like them as a person first, and I definitely can check that box. I think he has some rhythm, so we will see. Ballroom is a whole other beast!”

    Burke played coy when asked about her partner’s specific traits but noted that “he’s definitely in the business” and has some dance experience under his belt. “He’s going to really want to go hardcore but then I’m going to have to tell him just to chill and have fun,” she said, adding that she felt “lucky” to have a place in the competition this season.

    ABC/Craig Sjodin

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