Dancing With The Stars Juniors: Everything You Need To KnowPublished on August 30, 2018. Updated May 22, 2019
Since Dancing With the Stars started its American version back in 2005, it has gone on for nearly 27 seasons and has become one of the most popular reality competition shows on television. While fans were unimpressed when the series deviated from its regular format with season 26’s Dancing With the Stars: Athletes, it has now committed to a full spinoff with Dancing With the Stars: Juniors. The all-new spinoff looks fun, different, and most of all, competitive so here is everything you need to know about Dancing With the Stars: Juniors!
12. The Premise
Dancing With the Stars: Juniors will be much like the Dancing With the Stars that fans have come to know and love just with younger pros and celebrity contestants. ABC hasn’t spoken out too much about the series, but the synopsis does read: “Dancing With the Stars: Juniors is a fresh take on an established favorite in which 12 celebrity kids will be partnered with professional junior ballroom dancers to perform choreographed routines.”
11. The Hosts
With Erin Andrews and Tom Bergeron holding down the hosting duties for Dancing With the Stars, DWTS: Juniors needed to find the right fit for its own hosts, and looked no further than two past DWTS contestants! ABC has confirmed that Jordan Fisher and Frankie Muniz will be hosting the spinoff, and as former child stars themselves they make the perfect pair for the job. Fans will remember that season 25 of Dancing With the Stars featured Jordan Fisher’s big win while former Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz placed third! “When they finally called that it was happening, I was so excited because I had such an amazing time on Dancing with the Stars,” Muniz told ET. “So, to be able to stay in the family and get to experience it from a different perspective and get to host the new show, like, I was thrilled. And I’m so glad to be doing it with Jordan because we have so much fun together. It’s going to be awesome!”
10. The Judges
Along with a new show and new hosts come new judges, and once again Dancing With the Stars fans will see some very familiar faces behind the judges’ table! Two-time Mirror Ball champion and longtime fan-favorite pro Valentin Chmerkovskiy will be judging along with Dancing With the Stars: Athletes winner, Olympian skater Adam Rippon, and of course Emmy-winning choreographer Mandy Moore, not to be confused with the This Is Us actress. “Very excited to be part of this awesome new dance show on @abcnetwork It’s going to be the BIGGEST show of Lil’ Superstars on television and I’m proud to help guide and celebrate the future of not just dance but the future influencers and leaders of our world,” Val said of his role on the show.
9. The Pros
Dancing professionals aren’t just adults, and as such the pros will of course be juniors as well. The junior pros are JT Church, Tristan Ianiero, Artyon Celestine, Hailey Bills, Rylee Arnold, Kameron Couch, Lev Khmelev, Jake Monreal, Sage Rosen, Brightyn Brems, Lamri Peterson, and Elliana Walmsley. Check out a promo of the new young pros:
Dancing With the Stars: Juniors won’t be completely devoid of adults however, many well-known pros from the original Dancing With the Stars have been teamed up as mentors to the young pros and their celebrity partners. The mentors and pros are JT Church and Alan Bersten, Tristan Ianiero and Artem Chigvinstev, Artyon Celestine and Brandon Armstrong, Hailey Bills and Jenna Johnson, Rylee Arnold and Lindsay Arnold, Cameron Couch and Hayley Erbert, Keo Motsepe and Lev Khmelev, Sasha Farber and Jake Monreal, Gleb Savchenko and Sage Rosen, Brightyn Brems and Cheryl Burke, Witney Carson and Lamri Peterson, Elliana Walmsley and Emma Slater.
With the incredible success of Dancing With the Stars, there are a lot of high expectations for Dancing With the Stars: Juniors. Anticipation is high for the show to succeed, and for audiences who are skeptical, Jordan Fisher said it is the best of both worlds in that it takes a show fans already love but is making it new again. “It’s Dancing with the Stars as you know it,” he said. “It’s people you are familiar with and that you love. It’s a stage that you’re familiar with, that you love, but it’s [all] brand new. It’s the same show — it’s the same feeling of sitting down and watching people compete in something that they’ve never done before.”
6. The Stars
On Tuesday, September 25 the full cast for Dancing With the Stars: Juniors was announced during the second episode of season 27 of Dancing With the Stars. The junior stars competing are: skateboarding/surfing competitor Sky Brown (10), Bristol Palin’s son Tripp Johnston Palin (9), actress Ariana Greenblatt (11), actor Jason Maybaum (10), reality star Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson (13), singer/songwriter and author Mackenzie Ziegler (14), Scottie Pippen’s daughter Sophia Pippen (9), Stevie Wonder’s son Mandla Morris (13), General Hospital actor Hudson West (10), MasterChef Junior winner Addison Osta Smith (13), Spelling Bee Champion Akash Vukoti (9), and black-ish star Miles Brown (13).
5. Some Relations
Although most probably don’t recognize the junior pros, some of their names might have seemed familiar! For example Lindsay Arnold is mentoring Rylee Arnold, and they are sisters! It seems dancing runs in the family as Arnold, who won season 25 with Jordan Fisher, will be trying to help her 13-year-old sister win her very own trophy with whatever junior celebrity she is partnered with. Another pro-mentor duo that are keeping it in the family are Jenna Johnson and Hailey Bills. Fresh off her season 26 win, Johnson will be mentoring her niece. “I am so excited to finally announce that I get to experience @dwtsjuniors with my gorgeous niece,” Jenna tweeted following the announcement. “Being her mentor has been a dream come true. I always dreamed of having a little sister and she’s basically turned out to be my twin. Get ready for this superstar @haileybills18.”
4. Impact on Dancing With the Stars
The mentor-pro format for Dancing With the Stars: Juniors which matches the longtime Dancing With the Stars vets with their younger counterparts was announced well before the pro cast for season 27 of DWTS was confirmed, and as it turns out there are many overlaps. Almost every mentor is also working as a pro on the regular Dancing with the Stars for season 27, and even Val is pulling double duty as a judge, so some were worried that the new series would detract the pros from the focus they need for their own show. Interestingly enough it was Dancing With the Stars host Tom Bergeron who reassured fans that there will be no impact because Juniors will not be a live show. “Juniors will be pre-taped, not live,” Bergeron wrote.
One thing that Dancing With the Stars producers learned very quickly was that although they thought the draw was going to be the stars they cast — their pros ended up stealing the show. As the series has progressed fans have tuned in season after season instead for their favorite pros who have ended up becoming just as or even more famous than their celebrity partners. So, when it came to casting their junior pros, they knew they needed to find the right mix of talent and charisma. Apparently casting was difficult because of the array of talented young dancers out there right now but also because they were looking to find taller boys aged 9-13 for their pros, and many dancers are smaller. Dance Network also reported that although sometimes when they would find someone who matched all the talent and technique they wanted, they didn’t necessarily have the personality/charisma they were looking for to keep the energy flowing for the show. In the end, many of the dancers chosen had previously appeared on shows like So You Think You Can Dance, Little Big Shots and America’s Got Talent, and some have also appeared on Dancing With the Stars as dance troupe members.
When can audiences expect to tune in to the new spinoff? Dancing With the Stars: Juniors premieres on Sunday, October 7 at 8 p.m ET on ABC. The premiere will come one week after season 27 of Dancing With the Stars premieres on Monday, September 24 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
1. Second Season
Unlike Dancing With the Stars: Athletes, the plan is to have Juniors continue on in its own series, but many are already skeptical because of similar attempts by other competition series. Junior editions of shows such as American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance have never been as successful as producers anticipated, but if Dancing With the Stars: Juniors performs in ratings, odds are it will be an easy renewal for ABC, and could possibly move to live-taping like its counterpart.