Dancing with stars juniors

‘Dancing with the Stars: Juniors’ cast revealed

Global has revealed the very first celebrity cast of Dancing with the Stars: Juniors waltzing onto the dance floor during the two-hour premiere on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global.

The youngest cast ever features 12 celebrity kids, including Toddlers & Tiaras’ Alana Thompson (Honey Boo Boo), MasterChef Junior winner Addison Osta Smith, and YouTube sensation Mackenzie Ziegler.

Each week, the junior couples will charm audiences with unforgettable routines and dazzling costumes. Each celebrity contestant will be paired with professional junior ballroom dancers, and mentored by one of the Dancing with the Stars professional and troupe dancers.

READ MORE: ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Season 27 cast revealed: Mary Lou Retton, Nancy McKeon and more

Dancing with the Stars: Juniors is a fresh take on an established favourite in which 12 celebrity kids will be partnered with professional junior ballroom dancers to perform choreographed routines, which will be judged by Emmy Award-winning choreographer Mandy Moore, professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy, and Dancing with the Stars: Athletes champion, Adam Rippon.

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Meet the young dancers and their mentors below:


Addison Osta Smith, 13

About: Addison was the first girl and youngest contestant ever to win MasterChef Junior at the age of 10 years old.

Dancing Partner: Lev Khmelev

Mentored by: Keo Motsepe


Alana Thompson, 13

About: Alana Thompson, or more famously known as Honey Boo Boo, started her career on Toddlers & Tiaras when she was five years old and quickly rose to fame.

Dancing Partner: Tristan Ianiero

Mentored by: Artem Chigvintsev


Akash Vukoti, 9

About: Akash is a SPELLEBRITY – when he was six years old, he became (and is currently) the youngest boy ever to compete in the history of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Dancing Partner: Kamri Peterson

Mentored by: Witney Carson


Ariana Greenblatt, 11

About: Ariana is a small-but-mighty star on the rise who just wrapped filming The One and Only Ivan, and currently stars as Daphne Diaz on Stuck in The Middle.

Dancing Partner: Artyon Celestine

Mentored by: Brandon Armstrong


Hudson West, 10

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About: Hudson booked his first commercial at the age of six and currently stars as Jake Spencer in General Hospital.

Dancing Partner: Kameron Couch

Mentored by: Hayley Erbert


Jason Maybaum, 10

About: Jason currently stars as Levi in the live-action comedy Raven’s Home, and has previously appeared in Becoming Bond, Workaholics, and Superstore.

Dancing Partner: Elliana Walmsley

Mentored by: Emma Slater


Mackenzie Ziegler, 14

About: Mackenzie, a professional dancer, singer/songwriter, and actress was most recently seen starring in the YouTube series Total Eclipse and has released her first novel Kenzie’s Rules for Life.

Dancing Partner: Sage Rosen

Mentored by: Gleb Savchenko


Mandla Morris, 13

About: Son to Stevie Wonder, 13-year-old Mandla Morris is an aspiring fashion designer who loves to draw and sketch clothing.

Dancing Partner: Brightyn Brems

Mentored by: Cheryl Burke


Miles Brown, 13

About: Miles stars in the Emmy-nominated and critically acclaimed comedy series black-ish and recently wrapped production on the independent film, Emmett.

Dancing Partner: Rylee Arnold

Mentored by: Lindsay Arnold


Sky Brown, 10

About: Sky is known as a skateboarding and surfing phenom, which has led her to become a viral video media sensation.

Dancing Partner: JT Church

Mentored by: Alan Bersten


Sophia Pippen, 9

About: Sophia is the daughter of six-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Scottie Pippen. She became the face of Oscar De La Renta Kids and has walked the runway for other children’s brands.

Dancing Partner: Jake Monreal

Mentored by: Sasha Farber


Tripp Palin, 9

About: Tripp Palin, son of Bristol Palin and grandson of Sarah Palin, loves travelling between Alaska and Texas, where he’s embraced by a large, active family. He spends his time outdoors and loves fishing, four-wheeling, snow machines, dirt bikes, football, and soccer.

Dancing Partner: Hailey Bills

Mentored by: Jenna Johnson

READ MORE: ‘Dancing With the Stars: Athletes’ crowns season 26 winner

Dancing with the Stars: Juniors premieres Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. ET on Global.

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Viewers can catch every twirl, kick, and sashay live or following the broadcast the next day on GlobalTV.com, Global GO (available on Apple TV and Google Chromecast), and on demand.

Mentors and Junior Pros Announced

The big reveal is here: who are the Dancing with the Stars: Juniors Pros and Mentors? Pro dancers have been selected to serve as team mentors and paired up with professional junior ballroom dancers to help 12 celebrity kids learn choreographed routines, and hopefully become dancing champs by the end of the season! While the identities of the celebrity kids have yet to be revealed, the professional team-ups are:

Alan Bersten (mentor) and JT Church (Juniors pro)

Artem Chigvintsev (mentor) and Tristan Ianiero (Juniors pro)

Brandon Armstrong (mentor) and Artyon Celestine (Juniors pro)

Jenna Johnson (mentor) and Hailey Bills (Juniors pro)

Lindsay Arnold (mentor) and Rylee Arnold (Juniors pro)

Hayley Erbert (mentor) and Kameron Couch (Juniors pro)

Keo Motsepe (mentor) and Lev Cameron (Juniors pro)

Sasha Farber (mentor) and Jake Monreal (Juniors pro)

Gleb Savchenko (mentor) and Sage Rosen (Juniors pro)

Cheryl Burke (mentor) and Brightyn Brems (Juniors pro)

Witney Carson (mentor) and Kamri Peterson (Juniors pro)

Emma Slater (mentor) and Elliana Walmsley (Juniors pro)

The hosts of this new spin-off series are Dancing with the Stars Season 25 champion Jordan Fisher, and Season 25 finalist Frankie Muniz. The routines will be judged by Dancing with the Stars: Athletes champ and Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, seasoned Dancing with the Stars pro Valentin Chmerkovskiy, and Emmy-winning choreographer Mandy Moore. The show, which premieres SUNDAY OCTOBER 7, 8|7c, is a fresh take on the established favorite, Dancing with the Stars.

And don’t miss the Season 27 premiere of the original, the show that started it all, Dancing with the Stars, MONDAY SEPTEMBER 24, 8|7c for amazing dancing and more information about Dancing with the Stars: Juniors.

Frankie Muniz and Jordan Fisher, from Season 25 of Dancing with the Stars, will host Dancing with the Stars: Juniors!

Mandy Moore, Val Chmerkovskiy, and Adam Rippon are the judges for Dancing with the Stars: Juniors

Dancing with the Stars: Juniors Cast Revealed — Honey Boo Boo, Tripp Palin Johnston and More!

ABC just revealed the celebrities competing on the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars: Juniors.

DWTS Season 25’s Jordan Fisher and Frankie Muniz will host the upcoming season, with Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, longtime DWTS pro and two-time Mirror Ball champ Val Chmerkovskiy and La La Land choreographer Mandy Moore as judges.

During the season, the 12 celebrity kids and their professional junior dance partners will be mentored by current and former DWTS pros including Jenna Johnson, Sasha Farber, Cheryl Burke and Hayley Erbert.

Here are the DWTS: Juniors pairings:

Addison Osta Smith with Lev Khmelev, mentored by Keo Motsepe

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The 13-year-old chef was the first girl and youngest contestant ever to win MasterChef Junior at the age of 10. She is currently working on her first cookbook and wants to inspire kids and adults to do what they love.

The MasterChef season 4 winner won the competition in January 2016 and has since made appearances on The Late Late Show with James Corden, the now-cancelled FABLife (where she met Chrissy Teigen) and The Steve Harvey Show.

Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson with Tristan Ianiero, mentored by Artem Chigvintsev

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Thompson, who just turned 13 years old, kickstarted her career on TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras at the young age of 5 and made a name for herself while staring in her own reality series, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. She’s currently starring in Mama June: From Not to Hot with her mother, Mama June Shannon, which is in its second season on WEtv.

“I’ve never even watched the show before to be honest,” Thompson exclusively tells PEOPLE. “I wanted to do it because, when they asked me, I thought this is something that I’ve never done and it’d be super fun and a great experience. So I figured, let’s do it!”

Akash Vukoti with Kamri Peterson, mentored by Witney Carson

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Best known as the youngest boy ever to participate in the history of Scripps National Spelling Bee, Vukoti, 9, competed in his first spelling bee when he was just 2 years old.

Ariana Greenblatt with Artyon Celestine, mentored by Brandon Armstrong

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Greenblatt, 11, is a young actress best known for her roles in Avengers: Infinity War, A Bad Moms Christmas and Stuck in the Middle. The young star just wrapped filming Disney’s The One and Only Ivan, in which she stars opposite Bryan Cranston, Sam Rockwell and Angelina Jolie.

Hudson West with Kameron Couch, mentored by Hayley Erbert

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Born in Dayton, Ohio, the 10-year-old star is best known for his role as Jake Spencer in ABC’s General Hospital. He’s also had roles on Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here, Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, Grey’s Anatomy and Modern Family.

Jason Maybaum with Elliana Walmsley, mentored by Emma Slater

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Maybaum, 10, stars as Levi in Disney Channel’s live-action comedy Raven’s Home, a spinoff of That’s So Raven. In addition, Maybaum starred in the critically acclaimed Hulu movie Becoming Bond, has guest-starred in Workaholics, Teachers, Blunt Talk and Superstore episodes and has appeared in numerous commercials. He is also featured in the upcoming Disney Channel Original Movie Freaky Friday, a contemporary musical update of the classic comedic story.

Mackenzie Ziegler with Sage Rosen, mentored by Gleb Savchenko

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Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the 14-year-old singer/songwriter and actress is best known for her appearance in Lifetime’s Dance Moms for six seasons and is the younger sister of Maddie Ziegler. On top of her many television roles, the young star also wrote a book, Kenzie’s Rules for Life, which was released on May 8.

Mandla Morris with Brightyn Brems, mentored by Cheryl Burke

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Morris, 13, is the son of iconic singer/songwriter superstar Stevie Wonder and is an aspiring fashion designer who loves to draw and sketch clothing. Morris has five brothers, four sisters, one dog Cairo, and one exotic cat King, and he has a passion for music and playing the piano.

Miles Brown with Rylee Arnold, mentored by Lindsay Arnold

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Brown, 13, stars in ABC’s black-ish as Jack Johnson and just wrapped production on the independent film Emmett, opposite Rita Wilson and Nora Dunn. The film is a coming-of-age comedy directed by Bridge Stokes.

In addition, Brown is the official JrNBA/NBA “Jr reporter” & is the youngest of the JrNBA council members.

His partner, Rylee, is the younger sister of their mentor, Lindsay Arnold.

Sky Brown with JT Church, mentored by Alan Bersten

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A 10-year-old powerhouse, Brown is best known as a skateboarding and surfing phenomenon and social media sensation. The athlete is one of the youngest girls to compete and medal at a professional skateboarding competition and is known to use her platform in skateboarding to promote positivity and empowerment to young girls around the world.

Sophia Pippen with Jake Monreal, mentored by Sasha Farber

Image zoom ABC/Ed Herrera

Pippen, 9, is the daughter of six-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Scottie Pippen and entrepreneur (and Kim Kardashian’s bff!) Larsa Pippen. An aspiring model and fashion designer, the star is currently the face for Oscar De La Renta Kids.

Tripp Palin Johnston with Hailey Bills, mentored by Jenna Johnson

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Palin Johnston, 9, is the son of former Dancing with the Stars contestant Bristol Palin, and grandson of Sarah Palin.

Dancing with the Stars: Juniors premieres Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Dancing With the Stars: Juniors series premiere recap: Big personalities, tiny dancing feet

Eric McCandless/ABC type

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Welcome to Dancing With the Stars: Juniors, which is happening whether you want it to or not! Thankfully, the show learned a lot from the junior edition of So You Think You Can Dance, and instead of pairing little dancers with adult pros, which, as you can imagine, was insanely awkward at times, the little celebrity kids (and kids of celebrities — what a world!) get partnered up with a professional junior dancer (um, these kid pros are insane), and matched with a DWTS Pro as a mentor. Our Juniors judges, DWTS King Val Chmerkovskiy, choreographer extraordinaire and Academy Award winner Mandy Moore, and Olympic figure skater (and break out star) Adam Rippon, do a nice job of offering some critiques while keeping everything upbeat.

The formula mostly works! Are there awkward moments? Of course! Did I ever think I’d see Malcolm in the Middle interviewing Honey Boo Boo? Not in one thousand years. But did I still cha cha away smiling? Yes! And that last thing is all that matters. Enough with the chit-chat, let’s watch some adorable tiny humans dance their hearts out.

Jason Maybaum and Elliana Walmsley
Mentor: Emma Slater
Cha Cha, “Bills” by Lunchmoney Lewis
I knew these people would be tiny, but this tiny? How adorable are little Jason (an actor on Disney’s Raven’s House) and Elliana? Will this competition simply be a cute-off? Not if Jason has anything to do with it. He’s bringing all of his experience dancing at bat and bar mitzvahs to the dance floor. He wants to win! It’s tough to tell what the technical level of these kids will be, but Jason definitely has high-performance value. Mandy loves his confidence, and all three agree that he’s a showman. He even makes a joke about paying bills. Get it? He’s a kid. HE DOES NOT PAY BILLS.
Judges’ Score: 18/30

Image zoom ABC/Eric McCandless

Tripp Palin and Hailey Bills
Mentor: Jenna Johnson
Foxtrot, “Mama Said” by The Shirelles
Tripp is a kid who’d rather spend his time fishing than dancing, and who blames him? His mom, Bristol Palin didn’t seem to totally love her time on the show (she came in third place in season 11), and it doesn’t seem like Tripp is totally into this either. He’s super shy in the beginning, but in great hands with Hailey (this girl is so good!) and Jenna. He definitely looks a little lost out there and falls behind the music, but gets through the whole thing with a smile on his face. He was probably so scared! All three judges applaud his courage (and choice of footwear), but actively avoid talking about the dancing. Typically, not a great sign.
Judges’ Score: 17/30

Addison Osta Smith and Lev Khmelev
Mentor: Keo Motsepe
Cha Cha, “Burnin’ Up” by Jessie J featuring 2 Chainz
Did you guys see Addison win season 4 of MasterChef Junior? She was amazing. I’m sad to see her baseball caps are gone, but glad to see she is still killing it in the kitchen. The learning curve from the kitchen to the ballroom is a little steep, but Addison brings the heat. And by heat I mean sass. The technique, maybe not so much. Adam points out that she was mouthing her eight counts (a bit distracting) and Mandy wants her to work on matching Lev’s energy (which is a lot!). I’m just sitting over here very pleased because, true confession, I live for cooking-themed dance routines.
Judges’ Score: 15/30

Miles Brown and Rylee Arnold
Mentor: Lindsay Arnold
Salsa, “Who Let the Dogs Out” by Baha Men
I can’t fight this show any longer — I love these two. Miles is from Black-ish and Rylee is Lindsay Arnold’s baby sister. Together, they melt hearts. Miles has never danced with a girl and he’s so nervous! Rylee cries when she’s overcome with emotion! And although I never wanted to hear “Who Let the Dogs Out” ever again for as long as I lived, I’m giving them a pass! Miles is a natural dancer and their salsa is equal parts energetic and smooth. The judges seem to be very withholding, huh? Adam and Val rave about the routine but only hold up shiny seven paddles. Sevens!
Judges’ Score: 22/30

Sophia Pippen and Jake Monreal
Mentor: Sasha Farber
Jive, “Do You Love Me” by The Contours
Can you even imagine doing this show as a 9-year-old? Sure, Sophia Pippen (NBA legend Scottie Pippen’s daughter) is a “fashion model” but dancing in front of a live audience is a completely different game. Lucky for her, she’s paired up with Jake Monreal, a precious treasure from the junior edition of So You Think You Can Dance and Sasha. I will never tire of Sasha fanboying over Scottie Pippen. Sophia seems shy, but all of that goes away the minute the music starts. They tell a cute little jive-over-milkshakes story and the judges are impressed. Mandy loves the storytelling and Val loves how clean and sharp they looked. More of them, please.
Judges’ Score: 21/30

Image zoom ABC/Eric McCandless

Hudson West and Kameron Couch
Mentor: Hayley Erbert
Cha Cha, “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” by Shawn Mendes
It seems like the actors on this show have a little advantage. They’re used to working and rehearsing, much more comfortable with the camera, and can sell even a so-so routine. That’s exactly what General Hospital star Hudson West does with his first week on DWTS: Juniors. This cha cha feels a little too “kids acting like adults” to really take off. Still, Hudson is right there with Kameron the whole time, smiling his face off and owning every move. Mandy and Val advise Hudson to work on his timing, but Adam praises him for getting through a ton of partner work. Not a bad reception, overall.
Judges’ Score: 22/30

Ariana Greenblatt and Artyon Celestine
Mentor: Brandon Armstrong
Cha Cha, “Cut to the Feeling” by Carly Rae Jepsen
Apparently, Guardians of the Galaxy actress Ariana Greenblatt is the first human person made entirely of energy. You think you’ve met balls of energy before, you have not. She is it. Okay, maybe also her partner Artyon. I’m exhausted just watching these two. Their first routine, a bright (so much yellow) cha cha, is pretty great. Brandon nails the choreography for these little ones — not too hard that she can’t get it, but challenging enough that it looks like a real cha cha. And Ariana and Artyon just ooze charisma. So now I’m exhausted and my face hurts from smiling. Can I go to bed yet?
Judges’ Score: 24/30

Mackenzie Ziegler and Sage Rosen
Mentor: Gleb Savchenko
Foxtrot, “New York, New York” by Ray Quinn featuring Ultra Love
Meet your DWTS: Juniors ringer! Sure, sure, we’re repeatedly reminded that being trained in jazz and contemporary (and being the sister of Maddie Ziegler) is COMPLETELY different from ballroom, but still — any dance training, any live performance experience, is a big help. Just own it, people! Gleb pushes his team hard and Mackenzie and Sage perform a fun foxtrot that quickly moves from the traditional style to a more modern take. Surprisingly, Val is not into it. He’s really taking his position in Len’s seat to heart. The guy wants classic ballroom, people!
Judges’ Score: 22/30

Alana Thompson and Tristan Ianiero
Mentor: Artem Chigvintsev
Salsa, “Conga” by Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine
Bless Honey Boo Boo: She wears her tiara to her first rehearsal. Seriously, the girl knows how to follow her joy and also uphold her brand. She’s paired with Tristan (um, hello insanely talented dancer) and Artem. Could there be anyone better pair to attempt to rein in the Honey Boo Boo energy? Artem’s smart, he doesn’t totally rein it in — he embraces it and uses it in their salsa. Sure, she’s doing a lot of walking and shaking while standing in place, but she is owning it. She and Tristan look like they’re having a blast and the judges and audience really respond to it.
Judges’ Score: 19/30

Mandla Morris and Brightyn Brems
Mentor: Cheryl Burke
Jive, “Land of 1000 Dances” by Wilson Pickett
Oh, okay Cheryl Burke with this choreography. Get. After. It. Mandla is Stevie Wonder’s son and also a “fashion designer” and seems a little apprehensive about this entire thing. But he shouldn’t be — the kid is a natural. He full on attacks this jive. It doesn’t hurt that his partner Brightyn is a phenom. Seriously, did you see her kick her leg over her head? Val and Artem call it the performance of the night and Mandy is impressed with his level of technique. Do Mandla and Brightyn have this thing locked up? Do they also have two of the hardest names to spell in this competition? Where’s that Akash kid when you need him?
Judges’ Score: 24/30

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Akash Vukoti and Kamri Peterson
Mentor: Witney Carson
Foxtrot, “L-O-V-E” by Nat King Cole
Scripps National Spelling Bee competitor Akash here, can give you a nice definition of the word “tango,” but he’s never held a girl’s hand before. Honestly, I was dreading this performance, the Venn Diagram for spelling geniuses and people with rhythm probably has almost zero crossover — but I was pleasantly surprised. Akash and Kamri are so pint-sized, and that definitely works in their favor, and he looked like he was really, truly living out there. Adam and Val praise Akash for dancing with his heart and Mandy applauds his foxtrot technique. Foxtrot is a tough break for week one!
Judges’ Score: 21/30

Sky Brown and JT Church
Mentor: Alan Bersten
Salsa, “Light It Up” by Major Lazer featuring Nyla & Fuse ODG
Hello, I’d like the be Sky Brown when I grow up. I’m not afraid to admit it, this tiny professional skateboarder is much, much cooler than I am. Okay, like, don’t agree with me so quickly. Sky skateboards into rehearsals, learns that salsa is more than a delicious dip for your chips, and somehow picks up the hip action and armography Alan throws at her and partner JT almost immediately. Mandy is incredibly impressed with Sky’s poise out on the dance floor, Adam praises how sharp and clean the routine is, and Val tosses out the Dad Joke he’s been holding onto all night, telling her that “the Sky’s the limit.” Has Val found his true calling?
Judges’ Score: 22/30

Praise sparkles for tiny miracles and for whatever human had the forethought to pre-tape this series so we could cut away from the crying children. Sometimes adults don’t take getting sent home on this show very well, how can we expect the children to? THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN. And they did. We get a double elimination to end this whole shebang and after adding the live audience vote to the judges’ scores, we have to say goodbye to Addison and Lev (Keo’s team) and Tripp and Hailey (Jenna’s team). Not to cause any additional crying, because my old person heart cannot take that, but it seems right.

How is everyone feeling? Will you tune in next week? Do you believe the children are our future?

Episode Recaps

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SPOILER ALERT: The following post contains results from Sunday night’s season finale of “Dancing With the Stars: Junior” on ABC:

After weeks of battles in the ballroom, the first-ever “Dancing With the Stars: Juniors” title belongs to …

Sky Brown and her pro partner, JT Church, along with mentor Alan Bersten.

They were crowned Season 1 champions at the end of Sunday’s hourlong holiday-themed finale, which was actually taped months earlier.

“I just want to say to everyone, you’re all winners and I love you all and am going to miss you so much,” Sky told her fellow competitors after being announced as the winner.

For the finale, the four remaining pairs were required to perform two numbers: a reprise of their favorite dance of the season — this time featuring their mentors — and a holiday-themed freestyle. For their favorite reprise, Sky and JT did a salsa to “Light It Up” by Major Lazar (featuring Nyla and Fuse ODG). For their freestyle, they performed to “Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson.

Both dances were awarded perfect scores of “10.”

The 10-year-old Sky is a skateboarding and surfing phenom and a viral video media sensation. She learned to skateboard at the age of 3 and is one of the youngest girls to compete and medal at a professional skateboarding competition. Clearly, her skateboarding agility and standout moves came in handy on the dance floor. Many observers considered her to be a better dancer than Bobby Bones, who was the surprise winner of the adult version of “Dancing With the Stars.”

Sky and JT managed to hold off the other finalists, which included pop singer Mackenzie Ziegler and Sage Rosen (mentored by Gleb Savchenko), “Black-ish” star Miles Brown and Rylee Arnold (mentored by Lindsay Arnold) and Ariana Greenblatt (“Avengers: Infinity War”) and Artyon Celestine (mentored by Brandon Armstrong).

Adam Rippon, Mandy Moore and Val Chmerkovskiy to judge ‘Dancing with the Stars: Juniors’

Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, “La La Land” choreographer Mandy Moore (not to be confused with the “This Is Us” star) and two-time Mirror Ball trophy winner Val Chmerkovskiy are the judges on the new “Dancing With the Stars: Juniors.”

The newest iteration of the popular dance competition show, which will feature celebrity kids paired with junior professional dancers, is set to debut Oct. 7 on ABC.

Rippon is the reigning champ, having won the all-athletes season of “Dancing With the Stars” in May. In addition to her work on the Oscar-winning musical, Moore has choreographed dozens of routines for the ABC reality show as well as for Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Chmerkovskiy, 32, is one of the professional dancers featured on the show. He most recently won the coveted trophy when he danced with Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez during Season 23 in 2016. He also recently became engaged to fellow “DWTS” pro Jenna Johnson.

Season 27 of the original “Dancing With the Stars” is due to return to ABC (8 EDT/PDT) on Sept. 24.

ABC fall schedule: Here’s when ‘The Conners’ (and other shows) will premiere

More: ‘Dancing with the Stars’ pros Jenna Johnson and Val Chmerkovskiy are engaged

If you love television and love talking about it even more, USA TODAY Life’s Yes, I’m Still Watching is here for you. Join our Facebook group to discuss all things TV with our critic Kelly Lawler.

Adam Rippon talks ‘Dancing with the Stars: Juniors’ and the challenges he faces as a judge

Dancing with the Stars: Juniors is a fresh take on an established favourite in which 12 celebrity kids are partnered with professional junior ballroom dancers to perform choreographed routines. The show will be judged by Mandy Moore, Val Chmerkovskiy and Dancing with the Stars: Athletes champion Adam Rippon.

Hosted by Dancing with the Stars season 25’s Mirrorball trophy winner Jordan Fisher and finalist Frankie Muniz, the show features the youngest cast ever, including Toddlers and Tiaras’ Alana Thompson (Honey Boo Boo), MasterChef Junior winner Addison Osta Smith and YouTube sensation Mackenzie Ziegler.

READ MORE: ‘Dancing with the Stars: Juniors’ cast revealed

Rippon has taken his talents back to Dancing with the Stars, this time as a judge.

One of the most dramatic figure skaters on the planet, Rippon won the hearts of Americans and people around the world at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

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Known for his refreshing candour and wit, Rippon’s rise to fame on the global stage has provided him with a platform to speak out in support of LGBTQ rights and the freedom to be oneself. His passion and charm have made him an inspiration to young and old alike, and he has quickly become a role model and icon to millions.

Global News had the chance to speak with Rippon about winning Dancing with the Stars: Athletes, the challenges he faces as a judge on the Juniors show, what he hopes to teach the show’s young contestants and much more.

READ MORE: ‘Dancing With the Stars: Athletes’ crowns season 26 winner

Global News: You won Dancing with the Stars: Athletes. How important was that accomplishment for you?
Rippon: Right after the Olympics, to go from that craziness to go to the craziness of DWTS, it was a wild ride. It was a lot of ups and downs. I would come in exhausted but I had such an amazing time and I made some friends I’ll have for life. Getting to meet Jenna (Johnson) was so incredible. She’s one of the best human beings I’ve ever met. And I’ve also been lucky to do DWTS: Juniors with her fiancé, Val (Chmerkovskiy). So I guess, in a way, I feel like I’m part of the Chmerkovskiy house.

Jenna Johnson (L) and Adam Rippon visit the Build Series to discuss Dancing with The Stars: Athletes at Build Studio on May 23 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

How do you feel your time on the show prepared you to become a judge?
I think my time on the show helped me to prepare to be a judge on the junior season because it helped me understand more about dance and it helped me understand what it’s like to be a contestant on a reality show. I think, more than anything, my skating has helped me because I know what it takes to put together a good performance. And I think that, on the judges panel, I focus on the performance and how clean the movements are done and how do they make me feel as an audience member and a judge.

Mandy Moor, Val Chmerkovskiy and Adam Rippon, judges on Dancing With the Stars: Juniors. (Eric McCandless via Getty Images)

I think a lot of the kids on the show will look up to you because your confidence is everything. How do you view your role model status? Is it weird to know that people look up to you?
It is a little weird, but I am the oldest of five younger siblings, and when I was training I was 28 and a lot of my training mates were still teenagers or in their early 20s. In a way, I’ve felt like a role model my whole life. Or I felt like I needed to act like one. I’ve tried to be a big brother and I’ve tried to be a leader in different things I’ve done. And I think that means reaching out to young people or your friends, if you feel like they are struggling, and just talk to them. Growing up, I didn’t have many friends and I got teased a lot. I didn’t like how that felt and as I’ve gotten older I’ve made sure not to exclude anybody or make people feel less than. If they just need a minute of your time, I try to give everyone a minute of my time because it takes little effort for me to do that, but it means a lot to the other person because I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of that.

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Sometimes you never know how much it means to someone when you give them that second of your time.
One hundred per cent, and I know so many people that probably wouldn’t even remember that we’ve talked before, but the time they spent with me has made a huge impression on how I approach things later in life.

What was your biggest challenge when you took part in the competition?
My biggest challenge was that it was something so far out of my comfort zone, but I was able to rely on Jenna (Johnson) and her experience as a dancer and competitor on the show. I think that I was able to also rely on the fact that I am a good competitor. That’s what was so fun about being part of the athlete’s version, was that it was all of our strengths. Everyone on that show was a competitor so it wasn’t an advantage in any way, but as a group of athletes it made us pretty close. I’m still pretty close to a lot of the athletes that I did the show with just because it was such a fun experience, and a lot of us were just coming back from the Olympic Games in 2018.

What challenges do you face as a judge?
I’ve worked with kids in skating before, giving lessons and helping choreograph programs, and I think that as a judge in a children’s show you want to find a balance between giving constructive criticism and also raising them up. They’re out there doing things they are not comfortable doing, but they’re giving it their 100 per cent. It takes a lot of guts, and those kids have guts. But you also want to help them improve so that they have a good experience and it’s positive. I think that it’s finding a balance of giving them constructive criticism and raising them up by telling them: “Hey, I know what you’re doing is tough, and you’re doing a great job.”

What do you hope you can teach the contestants on the show?
I hope that I can teach them that they have the most fun, and they’ll have the best experience if they have an open mind, open heart, if they work really hard, and they go into every situation that they encounter in their time doing the show giving it their 100 per cent and not worrying about if it will be good or bad. And I know in my own life, when I was able to go into situations like that, that’s when I had the best results and the best time.

Do the juniors have to practice as much as you guys did in the athlete’s version? Because I know you all had to practice for hours every single day.
Well, because they are kids, they don’t work as long but they are expected to do a lot. And I know that from my own experience on the show, it’s a lot to learn. It’s also a lot to take on, and they were given no easy task and they all stepped up to the plate. It’s really amazing to watch.

If you could sum up this season of Dancing With the Stars: Juniors in one word, what would it be?
If I had to sum it up in a hashtag I’d be like #MyMindIsBlown.

If you had an entire day off from work and responsibilities, what would be your ideal day?
I think my ideal day would be waking up in my bedroom, which would already be clean, and my laundry would be done and my suitcases would be put away. And maybe I would go skating and go to the gym and just relax. When I go onto the ice, it’s my happy time and I feel at home when I’m there. I don’t get to skate that much anymore, but when I do have days off, I love to do that. I want to stay in touch with who I am and how I got my start. In the craziness of everything, I tell people that you need to find things that you love doing, no matter what they are or how intense you do them. But when you are able to do something you love, you’re able to really enjoy life.

If you ran into Donald Trump at a store, what would you say to him?
I’d say: “Get out and vote Democrat.”

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(This interview has been edited and condensed.)

Dancing with the Stars: Juniors airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Global.

Viewers can catch every twirl, kick and sashay live or tune in the next day on GlobalTV.com, Global GO (available on Apple TV and Google Chromecast) or on demand.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Fall will be here before you know it, which also means all your favorite shows are coming back (finally). To make the season even sweeter, ABC is launching a new spinoff series of Dancing with the Stars. For this show, instead of pairing professional dancers with grown-up celebrities, DWTS is looking to get famous kids grooving on the floor for Dancing With the Stars: Juniors.

Exciting, right? Wait until you hear about all that’s in store for the upcoming series:

Dancing with the Stars: Juniors will premiere Sunday, October 7 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

If you’re elated about the spinoff but also worried that this means you won’t get to see the original format of Dancing with the Stars, rest easy. ABC is not — we repeat, ABC is not — getting rid of the long-running show (*wipes sweat off brow*). In fact, you can watch the new season of Dancing With the Stars starting on Monday, September 24 at 8 p.m. ET. In other words, you now have two ways to get your DWTS fix this fall.

Frankie Muniz and Jordan Fisher will host the show.

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The actors (and former fan favorites of DWTS) will be the official emcees on the all-kids version. Jordan — well-known for his roles in The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Broadway’s Hamilton — won the Mirror Ball trophy for season 25. Frankie also competed in the same season as well, placing third with his partner Witney Carson. After the competition ended, both Frankie and Jordan opted to join the DWTSLive! Light Up the Night tour.

“I was so excited because I had such an amazing time on Dancing With the Stars,” the Malcolm in the Middle star revealed to 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.”

Jordan, too, was thrilled about the opportunity and promised that the new program will be “Dancing With the Stars as you know it.”

The DWTSJ judges will include Adam Rippon.

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The Olympic figure skater (and most-recent winner of Dancing with the Stars Athletes) was so outstanding during his own time on the show, that he’s been asked by ABC to be on the judging panel for the spinoff. The choice might be a bit surprising, considering Adam isn’t a professional dancer and his primary sport is skating. Still though, there’s no denying that the reigning Mirror Ball champion is a very talented performer. We’re sure he’ll give top-notch advice to the young contestants.

Mandy Moore will also be involved.

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No, not the Mandy Moore that plays Rebecca on your other favorite show returning this fall, This Is Us. We’re talking about the esteemed La La Land choreographer. Mandy boasts a very impressive resume, including one Emmy Award and six nominations for her work on So You Think You Can Dance. So in terms of helping out with the kids with their technicalities, it’s more than safe to say Mandy knows what she’s talking about.

Val Chmerkovskiy will round out the judges panel.

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In addition to Adam and Mandy, the DWTS pro, who recently got engaged to fellow dancer Jenna Johnson, will be the third judge at the table for the new show. Val has two Mirror Ball trophies to boast — one in season 20 with actress Rumer Willis and the other in season 23 with Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez. When asked by TMZ about what kids he’d love to see on the new series, Val quickly named LeBron James Jr., the son of NBA superstar LeBron James. We’ll see if his wish comes true!

There will be DWTS pros and kid dancers.

Some of your favorite veteran DWTS dancers — Cheryl Burke, Sasha Farber, and Witney Carson — are helping mentor the group of young ballroom dancers and their celebrity kid partners throughout the show. Some of the junior pros have already competed on other shows such as So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Got Talent, and World of Dance. Here’s the full list of who will be paired with who:

  1. Alan Bersten and JT Church
  2. Brandon Armstrong and Artyon Celestine
  3. Artem Chigvinstev and Tristan Ianiero
  4. Jenna Johnson and Hailey Bills (her niece)
  5. Hayley Erbert and Kameron Couch
  6. Emma Slater and Elliana Walmsley
  7. Keo Motsepe and Lev Khmelev
  8. Gleb Savchenko and Sage Rosen
  9. Sasha Farber and Jake Monreal
  10. Cheryl Burke and Brightyn Brems
  11. Witney Carson and Kamri Peterson
  12. Lindsay Arnold and Rylee Arnold (her little sister)

The cast of celebrity kids is full of big names.


As announced on the first week of Dancing With the Stars season 27, the Juniors version of the show will include famous faces like “Honey Boo Boo” Alana Thompson, Miles Brown of Black-ish, Sophia Pippen (Scottie’s daughter), and Stuck in the Middle actress Ariana Greenblatt. Here’s a list of the rest of the cast:

  • Akash Vukoti
  • Sky Brown
  • Mandla Morris
  • Hudson West
  • Mackenzie Ziegler
  • Tripp Palin
  • Addison Osta Smith
  • Jason Maybaum

Catch Dancing with the Stars: Juniors on Sunday, October 7 on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.

Kayla Keegan News and Entertainment Editor Kayla Keegan covers all things in the entertainment, pop culture, and celebrity space for Good Housekeeping.

Dancing With the Stars: Juniors recap: The kids are in charge tonight

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Sometimes it’s so exhausting watching kids that adults just say screw it — let the kids be in charge. Yes, it’s scary, and also you should never do that but still, #SelfCare. And that’s exactly what happens on the latest DWTS: Juniors. It’s ‘Juniors Choice’ night, so all the contestants get to select the song they’ll be dancing to and get some creative control over the routine. It looks very painful for the mentors, but super fun for the kids!

Miles Brown and Rylee Arnold
Mentor: Lindsay Arnold
Jazz, “Space Jam” by Quad City DJ’s
Just when I think I can’t love Miles any more, he goes and chooses “Space Jam” as his song for “Juniors Choice” night. SPACE JAM IS A JAM. Both the movie and the song. Miles is an old soul, and that is appreciated. More than spectacular song choice, Miles and Rylee dance a super fun, high-energy jazz, complete with basketballs. The hardest of all props in history, probably. I mean, they bounce! Mandy loves that the routine focused solely on the dancing, Adam can’t resist calling the number “a slam dunk,” and Val drops a piece of wisdom so good I might get it tattooed to my body: “Ball is life.” Ball is life, indeed.
Judges’ Score: 27/30

Mackenzie Ziegler and Sage Rosen
Mentor: Gleb Savchenko
Cha Cha, “What If” by Johnny Orlando & Mackenzie Zeigler
Mackenzie here decides she would like to dance a cha cha to one of her own songs. She breaks down in tears during rehearsal talking about how she’s so happy she FINALLY found her passion in singing. Tell me what that’s like, 14-year-old who has her life figured out before me. Not surprisingly, Mackenzie is great in the cha cha, but honestly, Sage is the one who really shines in this routine. Will he be on SYTYCD soon? My DVR is ready. Mandy gives Sage a shout out too, and although she wants them to work on partnering a bit more, she tells Mackenzie she showed star quality tonight. I mean, when you’re dancing to your own song, you better have some star quality, right?
Judges’ Score: 27/30

Jason Maybaum and Elliana Walmsley
Mentor: Emma Slater
Jazz, “It’s Tricky” by Run-DMC
Um, so, apparently little Jason Maybaum is the biggest Run-DMC fan on the planet. As Frankie points out, “It’s Tricky” came out 20 years before Jason was even born, but the little dude knows his music history. He really takes charge in his homage to hip-hop and gets the troupe involved to make it a spectacle. The judges can’t believe this is a Jason Maybaum routine. I mean, the number of gold chains alone, you know? Val loves how unexpected it was. Mandy praises the tiny guy for dancing so big and is happy to see that the choreography included all the basic jazz elements. Adam loves seeing him really lead that routine. Gold chains from now on, I guess.
Judges’ Score: 25/30

Akash Vukoti and Kamri Peterson
Mentor: Witney Carson
Charleston, “Do Your Thing” by Basement Jaxx
Bless his heart, all Akash wants to do for his Juniors Choice routine is to spell a word. And not just any word — the longest word in the history of words. Not that I’ve ever had to think about it before, but the Charleston seems like the perfect dance style to add a super fast spelling component. Akash never had the natural ability that some of the other contestants on the show have, and his personality has for sure helped him get through each round, but as contestants get eliminated, that lack of skill is starting to show. But also, like, who even cares? Akash says, “You are never too young to do big things” and everyone’s hearts are collectively melting. Can you get scored on an inspirational post-dance message?
Judges’ Score: 20/30

Sky Brown and JT Church
Mentor: Alan Bersten
Samba, “The Greatest” by Sia
Before Sky performs in a skateboarding competition, she gets pumped up by listening to Sia’s “The Greatest” so it’s a no-brainer that she selects that song this week for her samba. Samba’s hard, man, so might as well dance to a song you love while working your tiny hips off, ya know? Even though it’s Juniors Choice and JT and Sky make Alan do push-ups all week, Alan is still in charge of the choreography and doesn’t go easy on them. There’s so much traditional samba content in this routine that it’s amazing Sky made it through the entire thing. The judges loved seeing the traditional samba content — Mandy gives an extra shout out to her and all of America’s favorite samba move, the slingshot — and again, praise Sky for giving it her all.
Judges’ Score: 23/30

Mandla Morris and Brightyn Brems
Mentor: Cheryl Burke
Cha Cha, “Perm” by Bruno Mars
I’m pretty excited that Mandla chooses this Bruno song for his cha cha, but Cheryl might be the most excited. Dancing to this song seems like it would be a real good time. The team makes sure to inject a lot of personality into this routine (how could you not), but more than personality, there are stairs. So many stairs! Mandy’s right — not only do you have to perform in a dance style that is foreign to you for millions of people, but you also have to make it down a flight of stairs without falling on your face. Good luck! I mean, Mandla gets down those stairs with aplomb, but I was scared. Apparently, his stair-prowess (and his energy and technique) is enough to earn Mandla and Brightyn their highest score of the season.
Judges’ Score: 25/30

Ariana Greenblatt and Artyon Celestine
Mentor: Brandon Armstrong
Jazz, “Rolex” by Ayo & Teo
Don’t get me wrong, Ariana and Artyon’s jazz is fantastic — stuffed with both personality and great technique — but was anyone else alarmed that this song was a “juniors choice?” If I can teach one lesson in these DWTS Juniors recaps, let it be that yes, Rolexes are cool, but so is reading. The judges love this routine. And since Ariana received some harsh critiques during “Halloween Night,” this is sort of a comeback for her. Mandy loves Brandon’s choreography — he made fan kicks swaggy, who knew? And Adam loves that Ariana took her critiques and really learned from them. As a reward, Ariana and Artyon get the first ten of the season. But still, guys: Reading.
Judges’ Score: 28/30

Well, it’s no one’s choice to go home, but those are the rules. Tonight, the fickle audience vote rears its head and sends Jason and Elliana from Team Emma packing. At least he got to live out his dream and dance to Run-DMC, right?

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What is the ‘Thotiana’ dance? And other dance crazes kids are doing these days


Who is Thotiana, and why is she bustin’ it down?

What is a shiggy?

If you find your kids, or even just people younger than you, doing the same dance moves and making you feel like you missed out on a mass memo, do not fret.

We’re here to help.

Check out our guide so you’re hip to all the latest dance crazes. (If you’re just getting the hang of the dab; it’s so 2017 by the way.)

Disclaimer: Just because you know what these dances are now, doesn’t mean you should do them with your kids. It’s probably best you don’t.


A Los Angeles rapper who goes by Blueface Bleedem and is known for rapping off beat, has a popular single titled “Thotiana” that’s on Billboard’s Top Ten Hot Rap Songs chart.

The dance originated from Blueface’s move of grabbing his pants in the groin area. He did it in the “Thotiana” music video and now whenever the song is played, people default to that same dance move.

View this post on Instagram

Hit dat shyt den granny 😂

A post shared by Blueface (@bluefacebleedem) on Feb 17, 2019 at 4:20pm PST

MORE: Get hip to all the slang words and phrases your kids are using and what they mean, okurrr

‘In My Feelings’ Challenge (The Shiggy)

“Kiki, do you love me?” Raise your hand if you cringe at hearing those five words because you know as soon as that line is uttered someone is going to hop out of nowhere and start dancing?

Instagram comedian Shiggy (real name: Shaquille Mitchell) created a dance to Drake’s single “In My Feelings,” and it took off, earning dual hashtags: #InMyFeelingsChallenge and #DoTheShiggy.

It involves doing hand motions that are in line with the lyrics of “In My Feelings.” For example, when Drake sings “Kiki, do you love me?” you form a heart with your hands and put it over your own heart. The “Are you riding?” lyric warrants hand motions similar to driving a car.

Even celebrities have taken up the dance challenge, from New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to “This is Us” stars Sterling K. Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson. Will Smith even took the challenge to the top of a bridge in Budapest.

Although the original Shiggy dance didn’t involve hopping out of a slow-moving car, many people are doing that.

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#Mood : KEKE Do You Love Me ? 😂😂😂 @champagnepapi #DoTheShiggy #InMyFeelings

A post shared by Shoker🃏 (@theshiggyshow) on Jun 29, 2018 at 6:15pm PDT

‘Sangria Wine’

Camila Cabello and Pharrell Williams made up this dance to go with their song “Sangria Wine,” which they debuted during their Billboard Music Awards performance in May 2018.

Basically the dance involves swirling your finger around a pretend glass of sangria that you’re holding. You have to add some hip movements, twirling and side steps.


Some people think this dance originated from the popular video game Fortnite Battle Royale, but it was created by Blocboy JB, a Memphis, Tennessee rapper.

The dance came to be seen as an accompaniment to the rapper’s “Shoot” song. The dance is done by pumping one’s arm and leg at the same time and is done to the chorus of the song which — you guessed it — goes “shoot, shoot, shoot.”

More: Rapper BlocBoy JB sues ‘Fortnite’ for using his ‘Shoot’ dance


No, your kids haven’t improved their dental hygiene; they’ve just picked up a new dance.

This one looks fairly simple but takes some coordination, kind of like trying to tap your head and rub your stomach at the same time. It involves swinging your arms from side to side and then swinging your hips in the opposing direction all while keeping your feet still.

It was created by a kid named Russell Horning who’s been dubbed the “Backpack Kid.” He posted a video of himself dancing to Instagram, and the dance blew up when Rihanna reposted it. He even appeared on an episode of “Saturday Night Live” with Katy Perry.

‘Milly Rock’

If you’re not Milly Rocking on any block, you’re tardy to the party.

This is another one that Fortnite used in their games and is getting some heat for, but the dance was created by Brooklyn, New York, rapper 2 Milly to his single “Milly Rock.” The dance consists of a two step with circular arm motions in a smooth rhythm.

The dance has gotten so popular that even Beyoncé hit the Milly Rock for her iconic Coachella performance in 2018.

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