While UK viewers might currently be fixated on the glitz and glamour of Strictly Come Dancing, the US equivalent Dancing with the Stars is also in full flow – with the competition really beginning to heat up.
The 29th series kicked off on September 14th, with 15 celebrities stepping onto the dance floor, and so far seven have been eliminated – while one contestant was also forced to withdraw due to a medical emergency.
Seven dancers now remain in the competition, each desperate to get their hands on the mirrorball trophy.
So, from a Selling Sunset agent, to a huge Tiger King name, and a 90s R&B star, here’s who is in the DWTS line-up.
Carole Baskin – OUT WEEK TWO
Big Cat Rescue owner Carole Baskin made her way onto the dance floor for the 29th series of the show.
Unfortunately however, her journey had to come to an end, with Baskin and her professional dancer Pasha Pashkov being sent home after a somber Samba to Circle of Life while dressed in full on lion gear.
“Dancing is extremely hard for me, and I need all your votes I could possibly get,” Baskin pleaded ahead of the votes.
Judges Derek Hough and Bruno Tonioli chose to save Anne Heche and her partner instead.
You can find out more about who left Dancing with the Stars here.
She hoped her appearance on the dancing show would allow viewers to see her in a different light after the documentary, in which Joe made various accusations against her.
“The biggest thing for me is the longer my partner and I can stay in the running and in the competition it will keep the cats forefront in the viewers’ eye, and to me that was where Tiger King missed the ball,” she said.
“It really should have been focused on the animals and I’m hoping Dancing with the Stars will do that. I am competitive but I am competitive with myself I want to do the very best that I can possibly do.”
Chrishell Stause – OUT WEEK SEVEN
Unfortunately, she was sent packing in week five of the show despite impressive scores from the judges, after her Waltz to Rihanna’s Love on the Brain with professional partner Gleb Savchenko landed her in the bottom two.
She came up against Skai and Alan in the dance-off, with the judges voting to save the Disney star.
On leaving the show, Chrishell told Entertainment Tonight, “I feel like this show has been very therapeutic. We worked through so many things through this.
“I’ve had to talk about things that I didn’t necessarily want to talk about, and I’ve had to push myself. In doing that, it’s just freed me up a little bit.
“I know it should be a sad moment right now, because, of course, I didn’t want to leave, but I’m so happy that I’ve had this experience and I’m so grateful. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and I’ll never forget it.”
The news of her involvement in Dancing with the Stars came after the estate agent hinted she’d been working on some extra projects, writing on Twitter: “I’ve never been this busy before! So many things I’m working on so I have been sucking on social media – So insert something witty here while I go take a nap.”
Backstreet Boys’ AJ McLean is among the 15 celebrities stepping onto the dance floor for the 29th series of Dancing with the Stars.
Fans will recognise him from the 90s boyband, which launched in 1993. The group, made up of AJ, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson, and Brian Littrel, became very successful in the late 90s-early 2000s. In 2013 they celebrated their 20th anniversary and released a new album called In a World Like This.
McLean, who shares daughters Ava Jaymes, seven, and Lyric Dean, three, with his wife Rochelle, told Good Morning America that his little girls can’t wait to see their dad on the show.
“They are stoked — especially my oldest,” he said. “She’s been doing competitive dance now for the last two years and my youngest is obviously trying to follow in her big sis’ footsteps, so they’re both just elated.”
He added: “It’s going to be awesome for them to watch daddy cutting a jig on TV.”
The Canadian television personality, podcast host, and former spin class instructor is best known for her role as a contestant on the nineteenth season of ABC’s The Bachelor, and as the lead on the eleventh season of The Bachelorette.
During the promotional announcement video, Bristowe joked that since she is “no longer accepting roses”, she’d be happy to take a few 10’s from the judges.
Vernon Davis – OUT WEEK FIVE
Former American football player Vernon swapped the field for the ballroom – and lasted until week five when he was eliminated following a Cha Cha Cha routine.
Speaking about his departure he said, “It was a great journey for me, I learned a lot about myself.”
Vernon is best known for his sports career. He played college football at Maryland, and was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers sixth overall in the 2006 NFL Draft.
In 2009, Davis co-led the NFL in touchdown receptions and consequently earned his first of two career Pro Bowl selections.
Speaking in the announcement promo, he said: “I may have a Superbowl ring, but I need that mirror ball trophy.”
Jesse Metcalfe – OUT WEEK FOUR
The actor showed off his dance moves on the 29th series, but sadly it just wasn’t enough to impress the judges.
Jesse was the fourth celeb to be eliminated from the dancing show, after finding himself in the bottom with Vernon Davis and pro Peta Murgatroyd.
Fans will recognise the actor from his multiple TV and film roles including Desperate Housewives’ John Rowland, and his title role in noughties chick flick John Tucker Must Die.
Monica Aldama – OUT WEEK SIX
Cheerleading coach and star of Netflix docuseries Cheer, Monica made her way onto the dance floor this year and lasted until week six when she was eliminated alongside professional partner Val Chmerkovskiy during Villain’s week.
In her final show, she performed a jazz routine while dressed as Nurse Ratched, dancing to Little Willie John’s 1956 song Fever.
On her elimination, she said, “Thank you so much for supporting us, for supporting me, in this journey. And thank you to Val for being so amazing.
“I’m definitely going to miss this journey, but I’m so excited to see my kids, to be at my house, to see my dogs. I can’t wait. Texas, I’m coming home!”
Monica was originally feeling confident about going all the way, saying shortly after the announcement: “This is one competition I was born to win.”
Anne Heche – OUT WEEK THREE
The actress, director, and screenwriter was the third celeb to be sent home from the dancing competition.
It comes after the judges voted to save Monica Aldama and Val Chmerkovskiy instead of her.
Heche is best known for her acting roles. Following a dual role in the daytime soap opera Another World, she came to mainstream prominence in the late 1990s with the films Donnie Brasco, Volcano, Six Days, Seven Nights, and Return to Paradise.
The young actress joins the dancing show as this year’s youngest celeb at just 18-years-old.
Skai is best known for her portrayal of Zuri Ross in the Disney Channel series Jessie, which she starred in in 2011.
She has also voiced Glory Grant across the Marvel Rising series, and voiced Summer in the animated series DreamWorks Dragons: Rescue Riders.
In 2016, she was included in Time Magazine’s list of Most Influential Teens.
The star is trying her hand at dancing instead of acting. She is best known for her roles as Penelope Alvarez on the Netflix and Pop TV sitcom One Day at a Time, Darci Factor in The CW comedy Jane the Virgin, and Vanessa Diaz on the HBO drama Six Feet Under.
Jeannie Mai -WITHDREW
Television host and stylist Jeannie, who is best known for her work on the makeover show How Do I Look? and the syndicated daytime talk show The Real, was forced to withdraw in week eight of the show due to a medical emergency.
She was diagnosed with epiglottitis – a serious throat condition that requires immediate surgery.
In a statement to People, she said, “It saddens me that I will not be able to continue with the competition on DWTS. My doctors discovered a health concern with my throat which requires immediate attention and surgery
“I am heartbroken that my DWTS journey has to end here. The last several weeks have been an amazing learning experience. I have pushed myself to new limits physically and mentally, and I am so proud of how far we’ve come. I can’t thank my partner Brandon enough for being so supportive and believing in me.
“I also want to thank MAI fans who voted every week and I wish everyone else in the competition the best of luck!”
It’s about to get hot in here, because US rapper Nelly is also joining the DWTS line-up.
The 90s star – who is famous for his hits Hot In Here, Dilemma and more – will be ditching his mic for a pair of dancing shoes in a bid to be crowned the 2020 champ.
Speaking to Good Morning America, Nelly revealed he was “up for the challenge”.
He said: “I’m a Scorpio I feel like I can do anything so this is gonna be my biggest test yet, but I’m up for it,” he laughed, adding, “I love competition and I think this is one that will set me apart from others if I can pull this one off only because I got two left feet, and probably two right ankles, so I’m trying to see where we can go with this thing.”
Fans will recognise Nev Schulman from MTV’s Catfish, where he helps people track down someone they’ve been dating online only to find they’re not at all like the person they pretended to be on the Internet.
Nev revealed he’s “super excited” to join the show, although he admitted he would have liked Max Joseph – who he worked with on Catfish – to be his dance partner.
— Nev Schulman (@NevSchulman) September 2, 2020
Charles Oakley – OUT WEEK ONE
Former basketball player Charles Oakley was the first contestant to be eliminated from the competition, after the judges chose to save Carole Baskin over him.
Oakley was a member of the National Basketball Association’s Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets.
As a power forward, he consistently ranked as one of the best rebounders in the NBA.
American figure skater Johnny Weir will also be stepping onto the dance floor for the 29th series of DWTS.
He is a two-time Olympian, the 2008 World bronze medalist, a two-time Grand Prix Final bronze medalist, the 2001 World Junior Champion, and a three-time US. National champion.
And it sounds like Johnny is planning to add DWTS 2020 champ to his list of titles, after he replied to his pal and fellow figure skater Adam Rippon on Twitter.
As he thanked Rippon for wishing him good luck, he said: “Hoping to follow in @Meryl_Davis @kristiyamaguchi and your fabulous footsteps.”
— Johnny Weir (@JohnnyGWeir) September 2, 2020
Figure skating champ Meryl Davis won the series back in 2014, while Kristi Yamaguchi – who is also a figure skater – won in 2008, and Rippon won the 26th series in 2018.
Dancing with the Stars starts on September 14th on ABC from 8pm – 10pm Eastern Time (ET). If you’re looking for something to watch tonight, check out our TV Guide.