Dancing With the Stars Juniors premieres tonight, at 8 p.m. ET/PT and 7 p.m. CT on the ABC network. This junior edition of DWTS focuses on young pros teaching celebrity kids how to dance, with the help of pro dancers from season 27 of Dancing With the Stars. The show is set up just like the regular version of the show, with a couple small exceptions. The biggest difference seems to be that each team will have a mentor. The mentors consist of pro dancers from season 27 of Dancing With the Stars, who are appearing on DWTS every Monday and Tuesday night, in addition to appearing on this new show.
The mentors this season include Lindsay Arnold, Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten, Jenna Johnson, Emma Slater, Sasha Farber, Cheryl Burke, Keo Motsepe, Artem Chigvintsev, Witney Carson and Gleb Savchenko. The only mentor who is not a DWTS pro is Hayley Erbert, who has appeared for several seasons on DWTS as a troupe dancer. For those unaware, troupe dancers often participate in opening numbers, as backup dancers for the competing contestants, and for entertainment after commercial breaks.
Just like the regular version of the show, Dancing With the Stars Juniors has junior troupe dancers. According to Pure DWTS, the troupe dancers are Makeila Lawrence, Cody Bingham, Reese Hatala, and Sebastian Jozuka.
As for the mini pro dancers this season, they are Rylee Arnold, Hailey Bills, Brightyn Brems, Kami Couch, Kamri Peterson, Elliana Walmsley, Artyon Celestine, JT Church, Tristan Ianeiro, Lev Khmelev, Jake Monreal, and Sage Rosen. Arnold is actually the little sister of pro mentor Lindsay Arnold and Hailey Bills is the niece of mentor Jenna Johnson. Johnson also has connections to two of the three judges on DWTS Juniors. Over the summer, Johnson and DWTS Jr. judge Val Chmerkovskiy. The two are also competitors on season 27 of Dancing With the Stars, just like most of the other mentors on the show. In addition, Johnson previously won the mirrorball trophy with another DWTS Jr. judge – Adam Rippon. The Olympian took home the win on DWTS with Johnson and now has accepted the role as a judge.
So, the judges’ panel is made up of Valentin Chmerkovskiy, choreographer Mandy Moore and Adam Rippon.
The hosts of Dancing With the Stars Juniors this season are former DWTS mirrorball finalists Frankie Muniz and Jordan Fisher, according to Parade. The two actors also previously appeared on tour with the Dancing With the Stars cast, traveling across the country with them. Fisher and Muniz were up against each other when on the show, but Fisher won.
When Fisher dished on what to expect from the DWTS Juniors cast to Parade, he gushed that, “It is a true black hole of love, warmth and genuinely rooting for each other. They’ve built this community unlike anything that I’ve ever seen and have all remained in each other’s lives. As an extension of that, we naturally want to see the kids do well. You naturally want to root for them, especially when they are passionately working their butts off for it.”
Tune in to the ABC network, on Sunday nights, at 8 p.m. ET/PT and 7 p.m. CT to catch all the action on Dancing With the Stars Juniors.