The professional dancers who will compete on Dancing With the Stars" season 12 were revealed on Wednesday on the show "Good Morning America" and include Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
Smirnoff's partner is Ralph Macchio, star of the original "Karate Kid" movies in the 1980s. The actor told OnTheRedCarpet.com that that timing felt right for him to compete on "Dancing With the Stars" and added that he thinks people who grew up watching "The Karate Kid" movies will push for him to do well on ABC's hit ballroom dancing series.
Chmerkovskiy will compete on "Dancing With the Stars" with actress Kirstie Alley, known in recent years for her weight struggle.
In the past, Chmerkovskiy has partnered with Denise Richards, and actress and ex-wife of troubled actor Charlie Sheen and singer Brandy. Smirnoff competed last season with Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino of the MTV reality series "Jersey Shore."
Mark Ballas, who placed third last season with Bristol Palin, will partner with Disney Channel actress Chelsea Kane. Cheryl Burke will pair up with wrestler Chris Jericho, Kym Johnson is NFL player Hines Ward's new partner and Louis van Amstel will compete on the show with Kendra Wilkinson, an E! reality star and former girlfriend of Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner.
Supermodel Petra Nemcova's partner is Dmitry Chaplin, while rapper Romeo and Chelsie Hightower will hit the dance floor together. Lacey Schwimmer was made KROQ radio DJ Mike Catherwood's partner and talk show host Wendy Williams and Tony Dovolani paired up together. Retired pro boxer Sugar Ray Leonard will partner with Anna Trebunskaya.
"I'm so excited," Leonard told OnTheRedCarpet.com on Monday, shortly after the cast announcement. "I think when I met my dance partner and when I came here to meet the cast, that's when I knew that it's going to happen. It's no turning back now."
"Dancing With the Stars" pro-dancer and three-time winner Derek Hough is taking this season off to star in the upcoming dance movie, "Cobu 3D," which is being produced by Lionsgate and CJ Entertainment and will film in New York and Toronto this spring. He plans to return to the show in the fall.
"We wish Derek the best as he takes time off from 'Dancing with the Stars' to pursue his film career and look forward to having him return to the show in the Fall," the show's executive producer Conrad Green said in a statement to OnTheRedCarpet.com.
Hough has won three seasons of "Dancing With the Stars," including the 11th season with actress Jennifer Grey and 10th season with partner Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls. He also won the seventh season with Brooke Burke, who is now a co-host of the series along with Tom Bergeron.
Season 12 of "Dancing With the Stars" returns on Monday, March 21 at 8 p.m. ET with a two-hour premiere and "Dancing with the Stars: The Results Show" premieres the following week Tuesday, March 29 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
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