Dancing With The Stars All-Stars pairings: Maks and Kirstie, Peta and Marini, Derek and Shawn lead list

Early handicapping: Gilles and Peta, Shawn and Derek, and Kirstie and Maks are the odds-on favorites to make the finals. Photo: ABC/Adam Taylor

SAN DIEGO, August 13, 2012 –  The producers of “Dancing With the Stars” are some of the smartest people in the TV industry. While we learned two weeks ago which previous competitors were confirmed for the Fall 2012 “All-Star” competition, they waited until the conclusion of the London 2012 Summer Olympics to announce the pairings of the professional dancers with the stars. Not a bad way for ABC to remind people that “Good Morning America” is still around after everyone got used to watching NBC’s “Today Show” from London.

Some of the professionals have become more famous and far more central to the show than the so-called “celebrities” they are dancing with, something the producers probably didn’t anticipate when “Dancing With The Stars” began, and it worked in their favor today.

The big question for longtime fans was whether the producers intended to pair the all-stars with their former pro partner, because there were several conflicts. Nick Lachey, Emmitt Smith and Gilles Marini all danced with Cheryl Burke. Mark Ballas danced both with Shawn Johnson and Bristol Palin. Apolo Ohno and Helio Castoneves both danced with Julianne Hough, who is no longer on the show. So yes, some of the pairs needed to switch it up.

Cheryl Smith and Emmitt Smith will try and repeat their success from Season 3. Photo: ABC/Adam Taylor.

Here’s the list of pairings:

  • Reality star Bristol Palin drew her original partner, Mark Ballas.
  • This means Olympic gold medal gymnast and former DWTS champion Shawn Johnson would draw a new partner, and she hit the DWTS Lottery. She will dance with Derek Hough.
  • Retired NFL running back Emmitt Smith was the one out of the three original partners who danced with Cheryl Burke who draws her again.
  • This leaves former DWTS Season 2 champion, actor and singer Drew Lachey, to try and repeat with a new partner, and this time he will dance with Anna Trebunskaya. Their upbeat, happy personalities should mesh well.
  • This also means actor Gilles Marini drew a new partner. Hold on to your seat. This may be the hottest pairing in DWTS history. Marini will dance with with Peta Murgatroyd, who won last season with Donald Driver. I need to have my thesaurus ready because I’m going to run out of ways to say hot, smoking, sizzling when describing these two.

Ooh la la… the pairing of Season 14 champion Peta Murgatroyd (here with Donald Driver) and Season 12 runner up Gilles Marini is smokin’ hot. Photo: ABC/Adam Taylor.

  • Both Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno and Indy car driver Helio Castroneves won with partner Julianne Hough, who is no longer on the show. Ohno drew Karina Smirnoff for All-Stars, while Castroneves will dance with Chelsie Hightower.
  • The first time actress Pamela Anderson participated in the competition, back in season 10, she danced with pro Damian Whitewood This time she’ll dance with Tristan MacManus, who danced with Gladys Knight last season. This is a good match for Anderson; MacManus has a way of getting the most from his partner and he seems to be extremely patient.
  • Actress Kelly Monaco won the very first Mirror Ball Trophy in the first season with pro Alec Mazo. For her return, she’ll dance with Val Chmerkokvskiy. And every woman in America is envious.
  • Actor and ‘N Sync member Joey Fatone will dance with his original Season 4 partner Kym Johnson.
  • Melissa Rycroft danced with pro Tony Dovolani when she was added at the last minute to Season 8. This time the two get the full preparation time for all-stars.
  • The producers couldn’t deny the fans, and it had to happen: Actress Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy are paired up again for DWTS All-Stars. Remember, they came in second in Season 12. 

Early handicapping: Marini and Murgatroyd, Johnson and Hough, and Alley and Chmerkovskiy seem to be the odds-on favorites to make the finals. Ohno and Smirnoff will be competitive and they are both athletic with terrific work ethics, but it will depend on whether they have the right chemistry. Smith and Burke will need to step it up as the level of competition has greatly improved since they won Season 3.

I’m most looking forward to the new pairing of Marini with Murgatroyd, and will enjoy seeing Kirstie and Maks sparring and performing. Johnson and Hough might be the most athletic couple ever on the show.

One last competitor will be chosen by the fans from a ballot of three: Season 14 competitor Carson Kressley; Season 10 Disney actor Kyle Massey; and Season 2 Disney actress Sabrina Bryan. All three have been performing along with Fatone in the Las Vegas stage version the past few months, and should be well-trained and ready to hit the dance floor. This is important because the results of the vote won’t be announced until August 27 on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Fans can vote online here for their choice. 

Among those announced, we have six previous winners, including the winners from the first five seasons: Kelly Monaco, Drew Lachey, Emmitt Smith, Apolo Ohno, Helio Castroneves; and Shawn Johnson of Season 8; and three second place runners-up, Fatone; Kirstie Alley and Marini. There are two third place participants; Melissa Rycroft of Season 8 and Bristol Palin of Season 11. The only competitor of the named group who was not a finalist is Pamela Anderson, who placed sixth in Season 10, a fairly generous result.

“Dancing With the Stars” debuts Monday night, September 24, at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time, and airs on Monday and Tuesday nights on the ABC Television Network. Count on Communities live chats all season long!


Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.



Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities at WashingtonTimes.com” when quoting from or linking to this story.   




Copyright © 2012 by Falcon Valley Group


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.


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