Out of 15 total celebrity contestants, at least five have had prior dance experience, and some have danced professionally and have had extensive training.
Mel C, also known as Sporty Spice, has proven herself to be a good dancer in the past, at least when it comes to hip hop dancing, and it’s much the same for contestant JoJo Siwa, who came to fame following her time on the show “Dance Moms.”
Melora Hardin, who is most well-known for her tenure as Jan Levinson on “The Office,” was also extensively trained in dance as a young woman, according to a Yahoo Entertainment article. She grew up as a dancer, going to the Joffrey Ballet in New York when she was 13 years old.
They join Cody Rigsby, a Peleton fitness instructor who has made a living as a background dancer in the past and Amanda Kloots, who is a trained dancer because of the time she’s spent on Broadway.
The other celebrities who have been cast in the upcoming season are Olympic gymnast gold medalist Sunisa Lee, former “Bachelor” Matt James, actor Brian Austin Green, “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kenya Moore, Lori Loughlin’s daughter and influencer Olivia Jade, country music star Jimmie Allen, former NBA player Iman Shumpert, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, and “Karate Kid” actor Martin Kove.
Fans Think Celebrities With Extensive Dance Experience Have an Unfair Advantage
Fans are not exactly happy with the way “Dancing With the Stars” has handled casting celebrities this time around.
On an Instagram post celebrating Amanda Kloots joining the season, one fan commented, “She was a dancer on Broadway – not fair!”
Another commented, “I got a question… so JoJo Siwa is a contestant, right? How is that fair she has dance experience? Cause when Heather Morris was on she was voted off for having dance experience. Just really not fair.”
On a separate post, a fan wrote, “I LOVE Amanda, but isn’t a bit unfair to have professional dancers on the show like Amanda and JoJo? She was a Rockette! I know they are professional dancers who haven’t done ballroom, but they are still starting at level 1000 in comparison to others.”
One person commented on a post about Cody Rigsby regarding his dance experience.
“This Peleton dude is a professional dancer. Danced for Katy Perry and Nikki Minaj,” one person wrote.
In replies to the tweet announcing Siwa on the show, some fans expressed their concerns.
“So someone who rose to fame on a dance show is going to compete against people who have never danced before,” one person replied.
“Umm, she has been dancing her entire life. Why do you have her as a contestant? That’s so unfair to the others. So glad I stopped watching when you fired Tom and Sharna. Poor decisions!,” another user tweeted.
Cheryl Burke Defended Casting Celebrities With Dance Experience
During an interview on E! News’ Daily Pop, Burke talked about how the prior dance experience can actually be a disadvantage for some celebrities, and she prefers not working with them.
“I prefer almost the athletes, because when you have dance experience and it’s not ballroom dance, it’s like you have to un-train your brain, and it’s a lot harder to develop new habits when you’ve been doing something for so long,” Burke shared. “With AJ [McLean], last season, that was our challenge as a couple was to get rid of those hip-hop postures.”
She joked, “You should never watch me dance hip-hop, because it’s very proper hip-hop. It’s nice to have somebody in a way that has no experience so they have no bad habits.”
“Dancing With the Stars” premieres on Monday, September 20, 2021, at 8 p.m. Eastern time on ABC.