Dancing With the Stars Season 18 Cast Revealed: Candace Cameron Bure, NeNe Leakes and More

DWTS Cast 2014Full House star, a boy bander and an Atlanta housewife are among the next crop of hopefuls eyeing that elusive Mirror Ball Trophy.

RELATED | Dancing With the Stars: Our Fantasy (Ringer-Free) Cast for Season 18

In anticipation of Dancing With the Stars‘ Season 18 premiere on March 17 (8/7c on ABC), the new cast was revealed on Tuesday’s Good Morning America, and we can’t believe how many TV stars — both current and former — made the cut:

* Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years), dancing with Val Chmerkovskiy

* Cody Simpson (Australian pop star), dancing with Witney Carson

* Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars), dancing with Emma Slater

* Diana Nyad (Long-distance swimmer), dancing with Henry Byalikov

* NeNe Leakes (The Real Housewives of Atlanta), dancing with Tony Dovolani

* James Maslow (Big Time Rush), dancing with Peta Murgatroyd

* Sean Avery (Former NHL player), dancing with Karina Smirnoff

* Drew Carey (The Price is Right), dancing with Cheryl Burke

* Candace Cameron Bure (Full House), dancing with Mark Ballas

* Charlie White (Olympic gold medalist, ice dancing), dancing with Sharna Burgess

* Meryl Davis (Olympic gold medalist, ice dancing), dancing with Maksim Chmerkovskiy

* Amy Purdy (US Paralympic Team Snowboarder), dancing with Derek Hough

STANDING: EMMA SLATER, BILLY DEE WILLIAMS, DANICA MCKELLAR, VALENTIN CHMERKOVSKIY, SEAN AVERY, CANDACE CAMERON BURE, MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY, MERYL DAVIS, NENE LEAKES, TONY DOVOLANI, SHARNA BURGESS, CHARLIE WHITE, CHERYL BURKE, DREW CAREY, DIANA NYAD, HENRY BYALIKOV; SITTING: KARINA SMIRNOFF, DEREK HOUGH, MARK BALLAS, PETA MURGATROYD, JAMES MASLOW, WITNEY CARSON, CODY SIMPSON

RELATED | It’s Official: DWTS Alum Erin Andrews to Replace Brooke Burke-Charvet as Co-Host

But wait, there’s a catch! At one point during the DWTS season, the stars will swap partners — and it’ll be up to America to decide who ends up together.

The just-announced contestants will join judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman, as well as host Tom Bergeron and new co-host Erin Andrews for Season 18.

Which contestant(s) are you already rooting for? Vote for your top pick below, then drop a comment with more of your thoughts.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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123 Comments
  1. Ashley says:

    James Maslow!!!

    • Zack Quinti says:

      LANDO!

    • Theresa Sahm says:

      THANK YOU DWTS WE NEED MORE HEALTHY AND RATED G
      SHOWS LIKE THIS THAT WE CAN WATCH AND ENJOY WITH OUR CHILDREN AS WELL AS OUR PARENTS.

      I BELIEVE THAT AMY PURDY SHOULD REMAIN WITH HER PARTNER DEREK HOUGH AS I BELIEVE THAT DEREK’S PROFESSIONALISM KNOWS HOW FAR TO PUSH HIS PARTNER. MY HAT GOES OFF TO DEREK’S PARENTS FOR RAISING A GENTLEMEN AND LADY SUCH AS DEREK AND JULIANNE. THEY SURELY MAKE THEIR PARENTS PROUD IN BEING POLITE AND SO MANNERLY.

      • Butters says:

        Why are you yelling?

      • David says:

        Too many athletes but still worth watching!

      • The Beach says:

        If you’re so concerned with politeness and manners then learn some internet etiquette and take off the caps lock!

      • BrittBritt says:

        If you are worried about being polite an mannerly … please don’t yell at us.

      • Hannah says:

        One is a professional beard and the other a closet case, I’m sure they’re very proud.

      • Heather Hasol says:

        UR absolutely correct. Derek & JulieAnne are as kind as can be.Had to have been raised by wonderful parents.

        • I was so glad to hear that that the audience will vote who will dance with each partner even after DWTS have already chosen the partners.I think that’s great! That’s not fair when DWTS picks the partners.Seems like some of the professionals get all the best partners.It’s not fair! That’s why It’s a great idea that the audience votes during the season who changes partners.That’s the BEST idea yet. Love It. Good idea DWTS.

      • Forwardad says:

        Please take your cap lock off.

      • BRKing says:

        I look at Theresa’s comment differently…since this is DWTS & most likely a lot of elderly women & elderly gay men watch this…maybe Theresa is yelling at them so they hear & understand her…you know!?
        …but I totally understand what she’s saying about Derek Hough & partner…I can’t wait to see them dance…

      • JB Smooove says:

        I don’t mind your typing in all caps. I don’t live by these fake ass online netiquette rules.

  2. Kristin says:

    It will come down to Meryl and Charlie…

    • DD says:

      I agree.

      • The Beach says:

        Aha…now I understand why they have decided not to defend their title at the upcoming World Championships.

    • Laura says:

      Agreed, unless one of them ends up as the annual “shocker” early exit. But can you imagine the ratings if those two were pitted against each other in the finale?

      Although I have to say I’m a tiny bit disappointed- my favorite part of watching them is watching them together. It will be quite odd with them separated.

      • Stacey says:

        I don’t know. Maks is notoriously known to be hard on his partners, unless they can stand up to the pressure and him. And while Meryl (and Charlie) is a ringer in the sense she has ballroom experience from training and she’s a “ice dancer”, but still curious to see how they respond to each other. Meryl couldn’t be paired with Derek due to their association on their Olympic program. And Meryl doesn’t have the warmest of personalities from what I have seen, so we shall see how it goes…Charlie might actually last longer. But both will have a in on their ability to pick up steps, which is sorta unfair to some of the others. I figure the swimmer will be one of the first to go. No name recognition, and a new partner!

        • DH says:

          I had a chance to meet Meryl, and she’s actually a very warm, very sweet girl. I think she puts her game face on, and keeps it on, during competition, but one-on-one, she’s an absolute doll.

        • AngieD says:

          Athletes tend to do well on DWTS because they know how train. While Meryl and Charlie are ice dancers, it’s a lot different doing a twizzle on the floor vs ice skates. They really have to get up on their toes more than when they skate.

        • S. says:

          Meryl’s not the warmest of personalities? Wow you can’t read people. She’s a sweet person, clearly. Unless Tyra Banks taught the girl to “smize” then it’s natural warmth. Charlie’s just more of a chatty goofball in interviews. She was so shy she didn’t talk to him for a long time when they first got paired together according to the package on NBC during the Olympics.

  3. Alex says:

    Sean Avery.
    Andy as guest judge?

  4. Yasin says:

    Your missing Amy Purdy

  5. Tv Troz says:

    Hey! Meryl and Charlie just got a gold medal for ice DANCING. Any problems with having two professional DANCERS competing? Ah… whatever, DWTS is almost toast anyway.

    • Riana says:

      James is pretty much a dancer too. That’s why the boy banders always finished in the top 3.

    • AngieD says:

      They are skaters who dance on ice. Meryl and Charlie will need to work on dancing with their feet more. Ice dancing doesn’t require one to dance on toes. Twizzling on ice is different from turning on floor. Their advantage is being athletes who know how to train. If you look at the history of DTWS, most of the top finishers are either athletes or performers with dance experience.

  6. Andrea says:

    LOVE Meryl and Charlie! I think they’ll have an advantage, unless people are turned off by all of their prior experience.

  7. xomareen says:

    Glad that Witney and Henry joined the pros. Plus, two Chmerkovskiys are better than one.

  8. Amanda says:

    I like Meryl and Charlie but they’re ringers! What made Dancing with the Stars such a phenomenon was taking people who could not dance (Kelly Monaco) and turning them into dancers. That was the fun part watching the transformation from awkward two left feet to beautiful dancer. You can’t start with people who have already had that training – Derek Hough helped prepare them for the Olympics!

  9. Lauren says:

    I’m pretty happy with this group! There’s a lot of interesting personalities not to mention, some celebrities who are relevant right now. I said I wasn’t going to watch after they fired the band (still mad!) but I don’t know… pretty interested to see how the Olympians do.

  10. emma says:

    I am madly in love with meryl and charlie but I think this is totally not fair. The definition of ice dancing is ” a discipline of figure skating that draws from ballroom dancing” They are already professional ballrooms dancers. They are the best in the whole world! (on ice which is even more difficult).
    It was already weird with shawn or aly raisman because gymnasts always take dancing class and their flexibility is a huge advantage on the show but gymnastic was still admissable. ICE DANCING IS CHEATING. (sorry but english is not my first language)

    • Stacey says:

      I actually think it works Charlie favor more than Meryl even though she has Maks who is a fan favorite. Charlie has the ability to skate buy, with the potential of all the attention on Meryl. I agree though it doesn’t seem fair given they are dancers on ice, and need ballroom training for many of their competition routines. Heck they had Derek choreography their Olympic short dance. But it might work to Charlie’s advantage, since both can’t last. And you have plenty of television stars with a lot of name recognition like Drew Carey, Winnie Cooper and DJ Tanner. Ice Dancing has never been that much of a popular discipline. So I am curious how much fanbase they will have…

      • emma says:

        Agree, i’m curious about that too but i wasn’t talking popularity (obviously candace cameron bure is a bigger fan favourite than them) but their partecipation goes against the entire premise of the program, which is make famous people who don’t dance dance.

        • justsaying says:

          candace has become very polarizing in recent years due to her stance on how women should behave in relationships and outspokenness about religion. On that gymnastics show, it was annoying how she as a character and in real life kept feeling the need to push her religious agenda. To me, if you really are that secure in your religion and it’s “righteousness”, then you shouldn’t need to discuss it all the time. Don’t proselytize, lead by example…. quietly. To me it’s much more effective than in your face tactics. But there are a lot of people who feel the same way as her and are just as obnoxious about it, so she’ll probably get their vote. Let’s face it, DWTS is more a popularity contest than a dance competition. Always has been, always will be. That’s why I like shows where the judges decide the winner instead of “Murica”. Cause “Murica” is still stuck with a high school mentality as a whole.

          • justsaying says:

            Actually, quite a few people come on this show trying to “relaunch” their careers. Or to take them to the next level. There’s a reason you don’t see huge A listers on this show. They don’t need it and/or are too busy to do it.

          • justsaying says:

            and then you see the poll results for candace cameron and you see what i mean. the midwestern type bible thumpers will all support her for no other reason than that she talks about god and subservience to her husband ad nauseum. one reason i think it’s obnoxious to do so is because it smacks of self righteousness and lack of humility. other people are christian but don’t feel the need to talk about it all the time. does that make them less christian? less deserving of things? does tim tebow really think he’s the only christian playing football? what makes you better than others?

          • Melora says:

            Would have preffered Lisa Whelchel over Candace. Lisa does not try to convert people at least and is far less polarizing.

          • Stacey says:

            I don’t think Candace is as polorizing as her brother would have been if he had done the show. Candace has her views. But she’s gone back to a acting career once her kids started to grow up. While Kirk has stayed in the religious acting genre….And while she doesn’t do anything risky. I think Kirk is more hardcore, and would never do this show. While Candace has her views, but is more stable about the balance. Valuing her marriage (and having some unique views about being a wife) is not the same thing as some of the stuff Kirk has been vocal about… So we shall see. I see her knowing what the show is about, and Mark will be able to help her find the right balance…

          • Mary says:

            At first I didn’t know what you were referring to re Candace but then I realized she’s Kirk Cameron’s sister and it all made sense. :P man, I don’t know if that means she’s going to get far just because of her “base” voting like crazy for her. All I know is that if she turns this into some pulpit for her, I’m out.

        • AngieD says:

          entire premise of the program is NOT to make famous people who don’t dance dance. This hasn’t been true for a really long time. Every season has had celebrities with prior dance experience – Joey McIntyre fr season 1, Drew Lachey won season 2, Sabrina Bryant, Nicole Scherzinger won her season, Jane Seymour trained to be a ballerina in her youth, Joey Fatone…. The list goes on and one.

          Also, Ice dance is different from dance. On ice, you spin on the edge of the blade. In the ballroom, you need to spin on your foot – more pointed vs flat.

          Meryl and Charlie are also at a disadvantage due to the people who don’t want to vote for people who are perceived as dancers.

    • C says:

      Lighten up–this is just for fun. It’s not like “American Idol” where people are trying to launch a career. What about when Kristie Yamaguchi was on the show some years back?

      • Mia says:

        Kristie isn’t an ice dancer…

      • justsaying says:

        Actually, quite a few people come on this show trying to “relaunch” their careers. Or to take them to the next level. There’s a reason you don’t see huge A listers on this show. They don’t need it and/or are too busy to do it.

    • ben says:

      Your English is flawless

    • beese says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I’m disappointed that Meryl and Charlie were chosen- being in dance shoes versus skates will not make a difference. Each one will have impeccable timing and perfect body framework regardless of who their partner is. Bad decision DWTS. I’m tempted to cut out of this season which will be a first. And I’m not happy about Erin Andrews, either- too bad.

  11. JKR says:

    I’m more concerned at Winnie Cooper vs DJ Tanner?! What’s a 90s kid to do?!

  12. kelly says:

    Where is Tristan? :(

    • Sydney says:

      I know right; we so need Tristan back on our TV’s. :( Even having Maks back doesn’t make up for no Tristan

      • L says:

        I read that he is on an extended honeymoon. I will miss him though. I just want him to get a younger partner so he can show us what he can really do.

        • Angela says:

          If that’s the case, then that’s sweet and I hope he’s having fun. Still, though, yeah, disappointed to know he won’t be on this season. And I agree on him getting a younger, more energetic partner.
          Interesting cast. Biggest surprise is seeing Drew Carey in there! Him and Cheryl Burke together…I’m rather curious to see how that goes.

    • Stephanie says:

      I know right! ! I read through it twice and got irritated. Of course mark, maks, val and let’s not forget everyone’s fav, derek. They all get to return. I hate that bc he hasn’t gotten far with a contestant, that they let him go. How about actually Giving him a chance.

  13. Gilded Lady says:

    Having the two Ice Dancers is probably the most ringer-y couple they could have ever gotten. They’ve even taken lessons from Derek before! Still, hope they can make some money out of it :)

  14. beanyboy says:

    Maks got a ringer!

    • sarah says:

      I am sure that with the audience choosing the new partners twist they announced that Meryl will end up with Derek, who choreographed her and Charlie’s dance for the Olympics.

    • The Beach says:

      I so wish that with the new audience pick that Derek would end up with Charlie. I can just imagine those two blonds gliding across the dance floor. LOL

  15. wrstlgirl says:

    Eh, I’ll pick it up about halfway through to see who’s left. I’m really not very excited about this group. Plus I can only take Carrie Ann in very, VERY small doses. She’s annoying as hell. Let me guess, She’ll be drooling over Sean Avery and canoodling James Maslow :-)

  16. Chill out people! Charlie and Meryl are ICE dancers. Hard wood floor and shoes might bite them in the butt. Although how cool would it have been to pair Charlie and Meryl together with a pro helping them??????

  17. leigh says:

    I was so excited until I saw Ne Ne Leakes. I am not a fan of the Housewives series but in other things I have happened to see her in I couldn’t continue to watch. I think with this exception this list is pretty interesting. Drew Carey? Awesome.

  18. sarah says:

    Candace will have a hard time with the outfits and with the sexy dances!
    I may watch, if I do I will root for her and Danica! Winnie Cooper and DJ Tanner.
    I love that Cheryl has Drew Carrey.
    The switching of the partners twist is very interesting, I am sure they are doing it to see if Derek will win again.

    • Stacey says:

      I don’t know. She’s been known to wear some sexy dresses on the red carpet. It’s about managing the outfit for the routine. And also Mark is a good partner as he had to deal with Bristol, and I am sure Candace is a lot more open than Bristol was about the experience. They won’t be trying to sell romance or a showmance since she’s happily married.

  19. J says:

    Charlie White!?! Squeee!

  20. ArchieLeach says:

    Winnie Cooper!

  21. GS says:

    I’m just glad there isn’t a football or basketball player in the bunch! I’m excited about Candice, Danica, Charlie, and Meryl. I don’t care if they are ringers. When I complained about Nicole, Jennifer, etc., it was always it isn’t the same thing. Dancing on thin blades on a sheet of ice is quite different than dancing on the ground so there. Can’t stand NeNe or any housewife for that matter and not a fan of Drew Carey either but I’ll check it out. Maks is back!!

  22. Mary says:

    I have mixed feelings about the bunch. While I love Charlie and Meryl, like the others have said, it’s hard to not feel like they’re ringers. But it would be interesting to see them compete with each other. The other “celebrities” – eh. I’m curious what kind of “drama” Nene is going to bring. She’s already got a huge head on RHOA about her “star” status so I wonder if we’ll get more of “I’m rich!” from her on the show.

  23. chris says:

    James will be winner!

  24. chris says:

    oops I meant the winner!

  25. Philip says:

    Just a question. I know that Drew Carey has had shows on ABC in the past, but isn’t he contracted to CBS now that he’s hosting the Price is Right. I didn’t think he would be able to compete on DWTS on a competing network. How will he be able to balance the two shows schedules.

    • Kendall says:

      I guess CBS sees it as good promotion. Since TPIR is a daytime program, there’s not really any conflict there.

  26. Steve F. says:

    Winnie Cooper vs. DJ Tanner! Squee!!! (For the record, I’m on Team Danica.)
    -
    A bit surprised to see Meryl Davis and Charlie White… let’s see how they do on hardwood.
    -
    LANDO!!! Hope there’s also a Colt 45 reference somewhere.
    -
    And speaking of Star Wars: as C-3PO would say, THANK THE MAKER JUAN PABLO ISN’T ON THE SHOW!

  27. Name This Tune says:

    Happy to see Max is back!
    No Richard Sherman?

    • Kendall says:

      Richard Sherman is on the verge of making a gazillion dollars on his next contract. It’s probably not the best time to risk that with a dancing injury. He’s not a flash-in-the-pan role player like Jacoby Jones.

  28. Lorie says:

    Overall, I’m happy with this group. While I’m never 100% satisfied with an entire cast, I’m looking forward to the new season. So glad Maks is back!

  29. Kalee says:

    Charlie White AND Meryl Davis??? Um… good luck to everyone else.

  30. christine says:

    Is it fair to put olympic athletes, let alone “ice dancers” up against a bunch of folks like NeNe and Drew Carey?

    • wrstlgirl says:

      Nothing about this show has ever been fair. It’s all about getting the best people they can who they think people will tune in to watch. money, money, money, money

  31. Gerald says:

    Best looking cast I think they have had in years.

  32. Ally Oop says:

    Not even the curiosity for seeing Sean Avery ballroom dancing can get me to watch this show.

  33. The Beach says:

    Since NeNe enthusiastically admits that she was a stripper/exotic dancer in her younger days, maybe they can just erect a pole in the middle of the dance floor.

  34. Larry says:

    Billy Dee Williams? What is this? DANCING WITH A WALKER. Nothing like appealing to an “older” demographic. Have they asked Betty White to participate? Now, SHE would increase the ratings. What’s all the talk about restarting careers? You can’t raise the dead. Tom doesn’t need a co-host with those inane questions after the performances. Carrie Ann is totally annoying. I wish she would fall off her chair every week, and speaking of chairs, does Bruno really need one? He never stays seated. I wonder why his rear is so sensitive. LOL All this said, I’ll still tune in to watch DANCING WITH THE D-LISTERS.

  35. JoAnne says:

    I am so tired of Derek winning all the time. He is HOLLYWOOD HOTTIE and far too much talent for the rest of the Pro’s to teach against.. We have a family contest & I bet everyone will pick Derek to win. I don’t care. I LOVE my Mak’s and will bet on him to win! Just as I’ve always have in the past. This time, he finally he finally has a good partner. After all the years he’s been on DWTS it is his turn, GO MAK’s.

    • Doreen C Watson says:

      You hit the nail on the head. Ditto to all. Sick of Derek the fair haired boy and his know it all sister. Welcome back Max. At least you bring spunk to show. Where did u find Erin Andrews chatty but never stops. Looks sloppy. Sorry tell it like I see it. DCWatson Rochester NY

  36. Sara says:

    Rooting for Val/Danica, Maks/Meryl, or Mark/Candace!!!

  37. Bob Smith says:

    Does Emma Slater look nervous to anyone else? Looks like Billy Dee might have Roman Hands.

  38. Babybop says:

    Candace Cameron, Meryl and Charlie, AND James Maslow (I’m a slight BTR fangirl)?? Now I have to watch this season…

  39. Meh…after last season this group seems fairly lackluster.

  40. LC says:

    I love the idea of having Meryl and Charlie on the show and will be rooting for them. So many people are crying “ringer”, but you also have to think that they will struggle with the voting. Since they compete as a couple, and people are familiar with them as a couple, it’s not inconceivable that people will vote for both of them. That means a split vote. Unless one of them really steps forward to distinguish their individual appeal, they may be in trouble until one of them is voted off.

  41. Billy Vick says:

    I will NOT BE WATCHING this season because they have not included Tristan MacManus as one of the professional dancers. I am not trying to be “sour grapes” here. If you think about it, for the past few years, he has been paired with the “charity cases”. NOT THAT I DIDN’T LOVE most of them. But he was paired with the older women, women that had terminal illnesses, medical conditions that forced them to drop out after the 1st round, women with EGOS T H I S B I G who didn’t take the competition seriously and other contestants who never allowed his talent as a professional to ever be seen. THEN as a further INSULT to me and I feel to him, the balance of those seasons, he wasn’t even used as an extra in routines after his team was eliminated.

  42. Magali says:

    For the sake of his partner I really hope Sean Avery as a better attitude as a ballroom dancer then as a NHL player. Let’s just say sportsmanship wasn’t his best quality. Neither was being liked by his teammates nor his coaches. Good luck Karina!

  43. Anna says:

    Wow. This is the best cast I can remember in a while. This should be a great season with the athletes involved. But I’m a Wonder Years product, so Go Winnie!

  44. Lore says:

    Winnie Cooper!!!

  45. David4 says:

    They have one star this year! Amazing!

    Drew Carey has time to do this garbage but no time for Whose Line?

  46. mewp12 says:

    I only knew Two of them . the old guys. Drew Carey and Billy Dee.

  47. barbara says:

    not too bad of a cast i have to agree about billyd he is a bit of an oldster just don’t see him going far. i wud have preferred the one who played jo instead of cameron.

  48. Mika02 says:

    Just when I was on my way out due to Erin Andrews & no live band but this cast sounds awesome & Maks is back can’t wait!

  49. Thea says:

    Maks is back AND he’s paired with Meryl? #dreamscometrue

    Also really hope that Cody guy is decent enough to keep Witney on my screen for a few weeks. Loved her on SYTYCD and she was a great addition to the troupe past cycle.

    Really looking forward to Charlie, Candice and Danica as well. Between them and Meryl, we might actually have someone not!Derek win this time around! *crosses fingers*

  50. Cathy Joyce says:

    Love the show and I am looking forward to it. I will miss Tristen, Brooke, and the musicians, but I am sure everyone will do their best to make it a great show! Welcome Erin!