Dancing with the Stars Season 21 Fall Season Cast, Starts Sept. 14!


Welcome, DWTS fans! It’s that time again! Here’s the Dancing with the Stars Season 21 Cast and Pro-Pairing Announcement, from www.abc.com, Sep2015: The celebrity cast members of Dancing with the Stars are strapping on their ballroom shoes and getting ready for their first dance on MONDAY, SEPT. 14 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

*TAMAR BRAXTON is a Grammy-nominated singer, talk show host, and reality television personality. A veteran performer who began singing backup vocals for her older sister Toni at age 12, Tamar Braxton was also a founding member of R&B group The Braxtons with Toni and their siblings Traci, Towanda, and Trina. Tamar’s third solo album, Calling All Lovers, releases September 11, 2015. Tamar executive-produces and stars with her sisters in the WE TV reality hit Braxton Family Values, as well as the spinoff Tamar & Vince, with her music-manager/ husband Vince Herbert. Elsewhere on the TV front, Braxton co-hosts and produces the daytime talk show, The Real. PRO DANCE PARTNER: VALENTIN CHMERKOVSKIY

GARY BUSEY Gary Busey celebrates his 45th Anniversary in show business during 2015.  Busey rose to fame in Hollywood when he became an Academy Award nominee for Best Actor for his performance in the title role of Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story. His other feature film credits include memorable roles in The Firm, Under Siege, Point Break, and Lethal Weapon. He’s also appeared on Celebrity Wife Swap and Celebrity Apprentice, and he became the first American to win Celebrity Big Brother U.K. in 2014.  PRO DANCE PARTNER: ANNA TREBUNSKAYA

*NICK CARTER The singer, songwriter, and actor sparked his career at the tender age of 12 as the youngest member of the iconic boy band Backstreet Boys, which has sold over 130 million records worldwide and earned five Grammy nominations. Carter was named one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World,” has released two solo albums, and starred with his fiancé in the VH1 reality series, I Heart Nick Carter.PRO DANCE PARTNER: SHARNA BURGESS

PAULA DEEN One of the best-known personalities in the world of cooking, Paula Deen is the author of 14 cookbooks that have sold more than 8 million copies. In addition to her many television successes, Paula launched Paula Deen Live! in 2014, a nationwide tour of 90-minute shows featuring Paula making her favorite seasonal dishes. On her digital lifestyle network, the Paula Deen Network, Paula provides viewers with cooking tips, new recipes, and step-by-step instruction on how to cook her signature Southern dishes in an unscripted format. PRO DANCE PARTNER: LOUIS VAN AMSTEL

VICTOR ESPINOZA After coming close twice, jockey Victor Espinoza earned the famous Triple Crown earlier this year, winning the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes aboard speedy American Pharoah. It was the first time in 37 years that the feat had been accomplished. The first Hispanic jockey to ever win the Triple Crown, Espinoza has won over 3,000 races in his career and donates 10% of his weekly winnings to The City of Hope for childhood cancer research. PRO DANCE PARTNER: KARINA SMIRNOFF

 ANDY GRAMMER With his 2011 self-titled debut album, pop singer Andy Grammer became the first male pop star in a decade to reach the Top 10 at Adult Pop Radio on his first two singles, “Keep Your Head Up” and “Fine By Me,” certified platinum and gold, respectively. Andy’s second album, 2014’s critically acclaimed Magazines or Novels, continues his disarming success with his huge hit “Honey, I’m Good.” PRO DANCE PARTNER: ALLISON HOLKER

HAYES GRIER At just 15 years old, Hayes Grier is a rising star in the social media world, with more 3.5 million followers on Vine and more than 2 million Twitter follows. The North Carolina teen shot to fame with his personal videos and is currently on a live tour across the United States. PRO DANCE PARTNER: EMMA SLATER

*BINDI IRWIN The 17-year-old Australian wildlife conservationist and actress has continued the legacy of her parents, Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin and Terri Irwin, starring in a series of wildlife shows, including “Bindi:The Jungle Girl,” “Bindi’s Bootcamp,” and “Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors.” As an actress, Bindi starred in the films Free Willy: Escape from Pirate’s Cove and Return to Nim’s Island. In 2014, Bindi was awarded the prestigious Australian Geographic Society’s Young Conservationist of the Year, an honor that she dedicated to her late father, Steve Irwin. PRO DANCE PARTNER: DEREK HOUGH

CHAKA KHAN is an international music icon who has influenced multiple generations of artists and continues to do so as a singer, songwriter, producer, visual artist, author, actor, philanthropist, entrepreneur, activist, and mother. A ten-time GRAMMY® Award winner who has the rare ability to sing in eight music genres, Chaka has released 22 albums and racked up ten #1 Billboard magazine charted songs. Chaka is currently at work on a series of mixed-media visual works with a planned gallery exhibition in 2016, as well as a new CD, set for release later in 2015. PRO DANCE PARTNER: KEO MOTSEPE

*ALEXA PENAVEGA Alexa is known worldwide for her role as Carmen Cortez in four blockbuster Spy Kids films, as well as Machette Kills and From Prada to Nada. PenaVega made her Broadway debut in 2007 when she played Penny Pingleton in the Tony Award-winning Broadway version of Hairspray. Fans of the ABC hit drama Nashville also know her for her turn as Kiley Brenner. Alexa is married to actor/singer Carlos PenaVega, who will also compete in Season 21 of Dancing with the Stars. PRO DANCE PARTNER: MARK BALLAS

*CARLOS PENAVEGA Actor/singer Carlos PenaVega shot to fame and cult status after starring on the highly successful Nickelodeon musical comedy Big Time Rush, which also took to the road and toured with the ensemble cast around the globe. Having studied musical theater at the Boston Conservatory, Carlos recently released his first solo single in Spanish, Electrico, which charted in the Top 10 on the Latin iTunes songs charts. Carlos is married to actress Alex PenaVega, who will also compete in Season 21 of Dancing with the Stars. PRO DANCE PARTNER: WITNEY CARSON. [Carlos and Alexa married last year. VW]

ALEK SKARLATOS Army National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos has joined the Dancing with the Stars Season 21 cast! Alek became a worldwide hero in August when he helped avert a massacre aboard a Belgian train. While on vacation after a deployment in Afghanistan, the 22-year-old sprang into action when an armed attacker began shooting on the train. Alek and two of his friends, Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone and student Anthony Sadler, disarmed and subdued the attacker, who was armed with guns and a box cutter. The California native is an avid painter and military history buff. In between National Guard deployments, Alek studies at a local community college and plans to enter the police force. PRO DANCE PARTNER: LINDSAY ARNOLD

KIM ZOLCIAK BIERMANN Known for her blonde wigs, catchy pop songs, and vivacious personality, Kim is also the mother of 6 children. Her socialite status amongst Atlanta’s elite snagged her the reality spot on Bravo’s hit show, Real Housewives of Atlanta. Her debut single, “Tardy for the Party,” reached the number three spot on iTunes. In 2012, Kim released her second single, “Google Me.” In April 2012, Kim’s spinoff, Don’t be Tardy for the Wedding, debuted on Bravo. The series revolved around Kim’s extravagant wedding to NFL Falcons player Kroy Biermann. The series was a huge hit for Bravo and is currently on air for its fourth season.  PRO DANCE PARTNER: TONY DOVOLANI

*In Vickie’s opinion so far, the ones to watch.

I read that domestic diva Paula Deen is age 68, she’s lost a lot of weight, and she may do better on the dance floor than many people expect. For those of you who don’t know, actor Gary Busey is a good person who sometimes behaves erratically; he was injured badly in a motorcycle accident maybe 20 years ago, which seems to account for his actions.



Some things don’t change—and shouldn’t. One of them is that Tom Bergeron is staying on as host for several more years—on contract. I didn’t find any news about usual co-host Erin Andrews (sports host and Season 10 finalist with Maks), so I supposing that she’ll return, too.

However, a little shakeup is going on at the judges’ table. The word is that Len Goodman will not return fulltime as head judge; he probably will be involved in some way, to some extent. Len is very busy at home in England with “Strictly Come Dancing” and with a new grandson. It seems to be official that judges Bruno Tonioli, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Julianne Hough will be back, assisted by guest judges who have not yet been identified. This supposed confirmation comes after a rumor that Bruno might be replaced

No word yet on a possible replacement for Len, but I think we all can agree that it would have to be someone with extensive ballroom experience. At the end of the spring season pro dancer Tony Dovolani expressed interest in judging, but it doesn’t appear that he will get to serve in that capacity, at least not this season. Whom do you think Len’s replacement could/should be, which country/show is that dancer from, and why do you have that opinion?



Henry Byalikov, due to issues that arose when he assisted Derek and Nastia last season.

Peta Murgatroyd is on the Season 21 poster with Artem Chigvinstev. However, she overdid it this year, following back-to-back seasons with a summer of touring. She just had surgery on one of her feet/ankles and will be out most of the fall season, helping with rehearsals whenever possible.  Not sure about Artem’s status.

Brittany is said to be out, too.



Mark Ballas has been extremely busy: Buying a new house in Beverly Hills, opening his first dance and performing arts studio– in Charlotte, North Carolina, maintaining a successful romantic relationship with his girlfriend, and getting ready for the new, fall season.

Witney Carson reportedly gets insomnia during the season when the show is airing because she’s so focused on figuring out choreography and everything else that she and her celebrity partner need to make their dances their best. She added her appreciation that the pros are so supportive of one another.


I heard that Derek, Julianne, and Tessandra Chavez just won an Emmy for their choreography of last season’s “Elastic Heart.” And, yet, I also heard that the Emmys aren’t supposed to be telecast until Sep. 20—hmm.


Maks Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd have been a romantic couple for a while. Julianne Hough is engaged to Brooks Laich. Amy Purdy, Derek’s celeb partner of a few seasons ago, married 14-year love Daniel Gale in Idaho in August.


Candice Cameron Bure, who partnered with pro Mark Ballas a few seasons ago, wrote a book about her time of the show: “Dancing With the Stars, Dancing Through Life: Steps of Courage and Conviction.”


Most of the pros and some of the former pros seemed to be everywhere on land during the “off season” this summer while others were performing on cruise ships. Siblings Derek and Julianne had a fabulously successful MOVE Live On Tour that was attended by some former DWTS celebrity contestants. Ballroom with a Twist starred former pros Dmitry Chaplin, Chelsie Hightower, Lacey Schwimmer, and Tristan MacManus; they were joined at times by Bachelor Chris Soules and handsome actor Gilles Marini, who nearly won (I still say he should have won) the Mirror Ball with Cheryl Burke several years ago. Others attended various red carpet, awards, and fundraising events, and Val visited a dying teen.


Have a fave continuing pro throughout the history of DWTS or one you want to return? Who gets your vote?



Which celebs are still your faves, and why? Should they return if given the chance?


DWTS Baby Reunion and Birthday Party

Sources say that in August, a baby reunion for a birthday party was held and included two pros. In attendance were the gorgeous former DWTS pro Edyta Sliwinska (still married to Alec, winner of season 1 with Kelly Monaco, as far as I know) and returning pro/former ballerina Anna Trebunskaya (no longer married to former pro Jonathan).



Rumor has it that Princess Kate Middleton’s little sister Pippa yearns to complete on DWTS with Derek as her partner; supposedly, Mark wants her to be his partner.   Wonder whether the Palace would let her do it.

For a while this summer DWTS staffers seemed to be paying lots of attention to Lindsay Lohan, Nick Jonas, and Shay Mitchell. Others who either have expressed interest or seem to be potential future candidates are Kacy Catanzaro, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Allison Braver, two-time Bachelorette runner-up Nick Viall, Christine Ouzounian (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s’s Nanny), Kobe Bryant, Terrell Owens, Hayley Erbert, Scott Disick, and perhaps others whom I did not hear about.

Supposedly, Caitlyn Jenner, Demi Moore, Rick Schroeder, Piers Morgan, and Jodie Sweetin all said no.

REMEMBER: “The smile is the dance of the face. Dance is the smile of the body.”

5 STARS! My book, “Dancing in the Stars: Carroll Webster—International Dance Luminary of Vaudeville & Hollywood,” has received 5-star reviews on Amazon. It’s the biographical story of my handsome father, Carroll Webster, as a professional ballroom dancer in the 1930s and 1940s. You can travel with him from the dance marathons to Vaudeville and the Golden Age of Hollywood, when dance was extra-beautiful in tailed tuxes and gorgeous gowns. While DWTS shows you the glamour of pro dancing when they make it big, DITS shows you the struggles and successes both along the way and at the hills of Hollywood. Available at www.createspace.com/5311269


Let’s get our dance shoes clicking and our smiles ready for DWTS!  See you on Monday night!  Meet me back here whenever you can to discuss cast, performances, pros, hosts, judges, predictions, and more!

Vickie L. Weaver

Vickie L. Weaver

Owner at Writestyle
Writing has been an important talent and part of my life since I was a child.Professionally, after decades of employment for others, I founded Writestyle in 1996 to provide writing, editing, proofreading, training, and more to clients worldwide (www.writestyle.com).Clients often call my work “magic.”I have written and/or edited for “Coexistence Magazine” (national), for “Ohio Magazine,” and for various newspapers.In addition, I have edited or contributed to the writing of numerous books.Personally, I have written in various genres.I have always composed poetry; as such, I have won awards and publication for some of my poems, and I am compiling a book of my poetry.One of my children’s books is set for publication.With my second husband, family and friends in Ohio, I enjoy music and dance, aid charitable causes, and strive for beauty and harmony in life.
Vickie L. Weaver

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