Dancing With Stars Season Five Contestants Announced

So, as everyone likely already knows, the next season of contestants on DWTS has been announced. They are:

Spice Girl Melanie Brown, paired with Max Chmerkovskiy;

Musical recording artist Sabrina Bryan, paired with newcomer Mark Ballas (hmmm, any relation to Belle of the Ballroom World, Dame Shirley???);

Indianapolis 500 champ Helio Castroneves, paired with young champ Juliana Hough, a favorite of mine from last season. Helio is from Brazil, fun fun 🙂 ;

Basketball team owner Mark Cuban, paired with Kym Johnson;

Actress Jennie Garth from 90210 (hmmm, don’t remember her?), paired with Derek Hough newcomer to the show and brother of the marvelous Juliana;

Model Josie Maran, paired with Alec Mazo (winner from season one);

Soap opera actor Cameron Mathison, paired with Edyta Sliwinska;

Boxing champ Floyd Mayweather, paired with my idol, Ms. goddess Karina Smirnoff 😀 ;

Vegas legend Wayne Newton, paired with the amazing and talented genius of a dance teacher, Cheryl Burke;

Marie Osmond (aww!), paired with cutie, Jonathan Roberts;

Model Albert Reed, paired with Jonathan’s lovely wife, Anna Trebunskaya, who has been doing quite well in pro Latin competition lately; and

longtime actress Jane Seymour, paired with former American Rhythm champion, Tony Dovolani.

Season premiere is scheduled for September 24th, and looks like it’s to last for three days. Will begin with a battle of the sexes group comp, with male contestants going at it en groupe against female.

Maria at A Time to Dance has a rather funny little list of why she so strongly prefers SYTYCD to DWTS. I don’t think the two shows are comparable though. I think the latter is about turning normal people (well, not normal or they’d be complete nobodies like me — they have to be celebrities on some level to draw an audience — but people who are not natural-born dancers) into the best ballroom dancers they can be. The former is about people who already have talent in a certain dance form honing that ability and learning to be versatile and to work well with partners and choreographers. Okay, at least theoretically, and IMO anyway. I like the former show because the dancers are often so amazing (especially this last season :D); I like the latter because I can often relate to the challenges faced by the amateurs. Learning to dance as an adult is damn hard!

My biggest problem with DWTS is that it seems that the pro dancers aren’t given enough due for their very difficult work, a thought shared by at least one professional dance critic as well. After Pasha was booted from SYTYCD, one of his fans on his Television Without Pity thread, suggested maybe he could be on DWTS so that his fans wouldn’t miss him too much. I think it’s actually a sweet idea. Pasha’s a great teacher, and, if an already famous dancer is on the show, perhaps it’ll create more appreciation for the pros.

Anyway, hopefully it’ll be a decent season. We’ll see…
P.S.: don’t forget to watch Nureyev tonight 🙂


  1. Thank goodness! No Brian Fortuna! Something about that guy is just creeeeeepy.

  2. Oh that’s right, Parker — I forgot about him!

  3. Hi Tonya, I found the link to your site from Maria’s. To answer your question, yes, Mark Ballas is the son of Shirley and Corky Ballas. I’m not in the ballroom world but I spend a lot of time on Dance-Forums and Mark’s name came up several times in the DwtS thread over there.

    Link to the Dancing with the Stars section from Dance-Forums if you’re interested:


  4. Thanks Beto! Oh cool, that’s so exciting that their son is going to be on the show this season!! I’ve never seen Corky dance, but have seen Shirley lecture and give demos at Blackpool, and she so lives up to her legend!

  5. Tonya, I agree with you that SYTYCD and DWtS are two different shows and the distinction you draw between the two of them is on target. I find it really hard to relate to DWtS because it’s hard to relate to most celebrities in general, but your point that it sheds light on the adult learner’s plight is one that I had not considered. On the other hand, how many John and Jane Q Publics have access to their own personal world champion ballroom dance teacher who spends hours and hours each week giving them privates? The show is entertaining, yes, but I don’t think it does a great service to the world of dance. SYTYCD on the other hand, shows the world just how hard you have to work to get *that* good, and occasionally cultivates appreciation for real art via the choreography.

  6. Hi Maria — Yeah, I understand what you are saying. I think SYTYCD is doing a real service for the dance community too and I’m so glad others think that way! DWTS could almost be about anything — celebrities learning any kind of new skill. I’m glad it’s ballroom dancing though 🙂 I’m sure I like it so much because its focus is the kind of dance I know most about; plus I love some of those pro dancers so much!

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