'Dancing With The Stars' 2014: Season 18 Celebrity Cast Announced

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"Dancing With The Stars" returns for its 18th season and the new crop of celebrity competitors may be the fiercest yet.

Fresh off their gold-medal win at the Sochi Olympics, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the dynamic ice dancing duo, headline the all-star lineup, along with "The Wonder Years" star Danica McKellar, comedian turned game show host Drew Carey, swimming legend Diana Nyad, and acting great Billy Dee Williams.

Former "Full House" actress Candace Cameron Bure, "Real Housewives" reality star NeNe Leakes, Australian pop singer Cody Simpson, and "Big Time Rush" actor-singer James Maslow are among the other celebs with their eyes set on the prized mirrorball trophy.

In two "Dancing" firsts, double-amputee snowboarding champ Amy Purdy, who lost both of her legs as a teenager and pushed to become a world-champion adaptive snowboarder, will be the first Paralympian to compete. Sean Avery is the first former hockey player in "Dancing" history.

In another surprise, pro dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy, the bad boy of the ballroom and favorite, will return after sitting out last season to much fanfare to dance with Davis.

CLICK HERE to see all of the pro pairings!

The hit ABC show is shaking things up, from the replacement of host Brooke Burke-Charvet with sports host Erin Andrews, to the announcement of an unprecedented format in which viewers can vote to switch celebrities and their pro partners mid-season.

The entire celebrity cast was announced live today on "Good Morning America" from Glendale, Calif., ahead of the March 17 premiere. Tom Bergeron and new co-host Erin Andrews unveiled the celebrities and their professional partners, including reigning season 17 pro champ Derek Hough who will dance with Purdy, and beloved veterans Cheryl Burke, Mark Ballas, Karina Smirnoff, Tony Dovolani, Val Chmerkovskiy and more.

Read below to learn more about the new cast and CLICK HERE to see their pro partners. Watch the two-hour season premiere of "Dancing with the Stars," Monday, March 17, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Meet the Season 18 Cast

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Credit: ABC/Todd Wawrychuk


Which celebrity is a New Kids on the Block fan? Click here for surprising fun facts about the new cast.

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Meryl Davis

Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis brings her gold-medal winning skating skills to the dance floor. Davis, 27, has been skating with partner Charlie White, 26, since 1997. While they won't be paired together on the show, the breakout Sochi stars will be fierce competition.

"I think we're excited for a little healthy competition," Davis said today on "GMA," adding that the trash talk between the two is "brewing."

Pro Partner: Maksim Chmerkovskiy



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Charlie White

The Sochi star and second-half of the American ice dancing duo will trade skates his skates for dancing shoes this season.

“The way you move is completely different,” White explained. The skater said he's excited to try something new -- especially tackling the Tango.

Pro Partner:
Sharna Burgess




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Candace Cameron Bure

The actress, who broke out as a child star as D.J. Tanner on the hit '90s series "Full House," is also a New York Times best-selling author and mom of three.

"I'm a great wedding dancer. That's when I dance, so I have my little Carlton move. I'm going to bank on that," she joked on "GMA."

Don't be surprised to see Bure's "Full House" co-stars cheering her on in the ballroom. "I know they will," she said. "They're big supporters."

Pro Partner: Mark Ballas




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Danica McKellar

Best known as Winnie Cooper on "The Wonder Years," the actress turned-mathematician and best-selling author for her line of "Math Doesn't Suck" books, brings her brains and acting chops to the ballroom.

"I hope they’ll be there for me,” McKellar said of her "Wonder Years" fan base. "I've been a fan of ‘Dancing With The Stars’ since the very beginning. I'm just thrilled and I hope to do a good job."

Pro Partner: Valentin Chmerkovskiy



CLICK HERE to see all of the pro pairings!

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Diana Nyad

The swimming legend, who became the first person to complete a historic 110-mile swim from Cuba to Key West in September 2013 on her fifth attempt, brings her determination and fearlessness to the competition.

"The absurd thing is that in my little circle of friends, I'm the dancer. Now that I'm here ... I'm so miserable at this, it's beyond words,” she said today on "GMA."

Pro Partner: Henry Byalikov,
a first-time professional partner hailing from the troupe.





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NeNe Leakes

The breakout "Real Housewives of Atlanta" reality queen-turned sitcom actress brings her bold personality to the ballroom.

“I’m going to go for it … I’m so excited. I love clothes so I can’t wait to wear one of those things,” she said, pointing to a dancer’s costume. 

Pro Partner: Tony Dovolani

 






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Cody Simpson

The 17-year-old Australian pop singer, who has amassed more than 12 million combined Twitter and Facebook followers and nearly 200 million YouTube views while on tour, and will now take to the "Dancing" stage.

Simpson said his dance moves aren’t bad, but “I’m trying to learn this whole Latin thing. I’ve got to learn how to move my hips.”

Pro Partner: Witney Carson, a first-time pro.


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Drew Carey

The stand-up comedian and actor, known for long-running shows, "The Drew Carey Show" and "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" went on to host "The Price Is Right," and brings his humor to the ballroom this season.

"Since I've lost the weight, ['Dancing' is] all I’ve wanted to do," Carey said.

Pro Partner: Cheryl Burke






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Amy Purdy

Double-amputee snowboarding champ Amy Purdy lost both of her legs at 19 to meningitis, and went on to become a world champion in adaptive snowboarding and a motivational speaker. She is the first Paralympian to compete in the show's history.

"I can't wait to start dancing," Purdy said in a recorded video message since she's competing in the Paralympics for Team USA.

Pro Partner: Derek Hough

"She's an incredibly amazing courageous woman and she's all about defying the odds," said Hough, a five-time champ.

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Sean Avery

Former NHL star Sean Avery is the first hockey player in "DWTS" history. Avery played left wing for the Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars, and the New York Rangers, and was known as his team's "enforcer" and for his unpredictable on-ice antics.

Pro Partner: Karina Smirnoff






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Billy Dee Williams

Dubbed the "black Clark Gable" for roles in "Lady Sings the Blues," opposite Diana Ross, and 1975's "Mahogany," the iconic actor has played numerous characters during his storied career, including scoundrel Lando Calrissian in the "Star Wars" trilogy.

"This is my last hoorah," said Williams.

Pro Partner: Emma Slater





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Credit: Bobby Quillard

James Maslow

The Nickelodeon star and "Big Time Rush" singer has headlined sold-out tours across the globe and may be a triple threat.

"I can't say I've ever Fox-trotted on tour, but I'm trying now," he explained.

Pro Partner: Peta Murgatroyd






Which celebrity is a secret New Kids on the Block fan? Click here for surprising fun facts about the new cast.


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Who are you most excited to see hit the dance floor this season? Tell us what you think in the comments and watch the two-hour season premiere of "Dancing with the Stars," Monday, March 17, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

CLICK HERE to see all of the pro pairings!

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