For America’s Ballroom Challenge 2008! The show will air five Wednesdays in a row from January 30th through February 27th, 8-9 EST on PBS. This year there are two new hosts: replacing Marilu Henner and Tony Meredith are Jasmine Guy (remember her from The Cosby Show?) and many-times champ Ron Montez. If you’ve missed the past two years, each night of this show (filmed live at the Ohio Star Ball held in Columbus in November — probably the largest and most popular ballroom competition in the country) will consist of a different ballroom style danced at the American comps: American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Standard, and International Latin (woo hoo), and the final night will be a “best of the best” competition among the four winners of each style, dancing two unique solos.
To me, highlights this year will be Katusha Demidova in Standard dancing with her new partner, Arunas Bizokas, as well as the newly-crowned U.S. National champs in Smooth (the smashing JT Thomas & Tomasz Mielnicki) and Rhythm (Jose DeCamps & Joanna Zacharewicz; this category is always a huge show-down though thanks to DeCamps & Zacharewicz, and the wild and spectacular Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Julia Gortchakova). Unfortunately, we’re not going to get a shot of my favorite Yulia Zagoruychenko in Latin, since she was, at the time of that competition, just beginning a new partnership. Still, watch Latin for longtime champs Andrei Gavriline & Elena Kruychkova and two couples who are solidly on the way up: Delyan Terziev & Boriana Deltcheva, and new favorites of mine: Vaidotas Skimelis & Jurga Pupelyte. I’ll post again closer to January 30th in reminder, but for now, go here for deets. (It doesn’t look the PBS channel is updated yet for this year’s show, but once it is, it should be here).