Dancing with the Stars revealed on Good Morning America its season 23 cast, which includes a lineup of musicians, models, actors, politicians and of course athletes … most notably, Olympic athletes … and one in particular who’s perfected the butterfly stroke, but faces charges from the Brazilian government for lying about being robbed at gunpoint while out drinking during the Rio Games.
The public will get the chance to see if Ryan Lochte can samba as well as he can swim when Dancing with the Stars returns Monday, September 12, at 8 p.m.
He joins a celebrity cast that includes Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick, singer and songwriter Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, model Amber Rose, actor Jake T. Austin, musician Vanilla Ice, wide receiver Calvin Johnson Jr. and former Texas governor Rick Perry.
“I’m definitely really excited,” Lochte told ABC. “This is completely new for me. I think it’s time for me to hang up the Speedo and put on my dancing shoes and get in that ballroom.”
In one regard, he didn’t have much of a choice.
Lochte faced backlash after the scandal and was ditched by sponsors Speedo, Polo Ralph Lauren, Airweave and Gentle Hair Removal—but was also picked up by Pine Bros. Throat Drops. Lochte’s ads will run with the clever tagline “Forgiving on Your Throat,” as the gold medalist continues to apologize for his actions.
Audiences will likely tune in to see what he’s got for moves, as Lochte uses the experience to make a comeback and show viewers a different side.
The show is often a platform for non A-listers to reintroduce themselves to America, and marketing opportunities abound for all the new faces on season 23. Here’s what the dancing stars have to offer this year.
Lochte is not the only gold-medal Olympian to lock down a spot on DWTS. Gymnast Laurie Hernandez, who especially shines on the balance beam, is also part of the cast. The 16-year-old enrolled in the sport at age six because she always wanted to experience the feeling of flying. She should bring some amazing acrobatics to the show, and potentially walk away with some sponsorships while having fun.
Meanwhile, NFL wide receiver Calvin Johnson Jr., known in the football world as “Megatron” devotes his downtime to his Calvin Johnson Jr. Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the education, training, and social development of at-risk youth, along with providing financial assistance to community organizations—definitely a noble cause worth dancing for.
A stint on DWTS could also help young actor Jake T. Austin use his public profile to raise awareness about his work with the Ronald McDonald House New York as its first-ever Youth Spokesperson. The 21-year-old is best known as Max Russo on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place, and he previously starred as Jesus Foster in Freeform’s The Fosters.
At the other end of the age spectrum, Maureen McCormick, 60, may be best known as the eldest daughter on The Brady Bunch, but DWTS should help shed light on her successful career since encapsulating the phase “Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!,” as viewers revel in nostalgia and hope for a Netflix spin-off.
The TV personality
Amber Rose, executive producer and host of VHI’s The Amber Rose Show is also a model, actor, author, activist, entrepreneur, spokesperson and mother. Founder of the nonprofit The Amber Rose Foundation, dedicated to women empowerment and equality, she’s also got TV credits that range from black-ish to Inside Amy Schumer, has debuted singles, has appeared in music videos, and is credited on albums with the likes of Kanye West and Drake.
Her 2016 emoji app MuvaMoji quickly shot to number one, her book “How to Be a Bad Bitch” was ranked #2 in iTunes audiobook sales, she was recently named the face of Estee Lauder’s Flirt Cosmetics, and last year she used social media to draw more than 10,000 people to help produce the largest “Slutwalk” in the work, which is now becoming an annual event in Los Angeles.
It will be no surprise if some, or all, of her endeavors get a shout out on Dancing with the Stars, and she’ll step away with a clear public identity that has nothing to do with being Kanye West’s ex-girlfriend.
Former Texas governor Rick Perry is trading the political arena for a different kind of stage. While it seems an odd choice for the US Air Force veteran and Eagle Scout with unsuccessful bids as the Republican presidential nominee for the last two elections, Perry’s role on DWTS will undoubtedly make his two granddaughters proud.
Eleven-time Grammy Award winner Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds will also be back on stage. The R&B singer’s first solo album in seven years, Return of the Tender Lover debuted in December 2015, and his return to the spotlight serves as reminder of his long career that has influenced everyone from Whitney Houson to Beyoncé since the ‘90s.
In another blast from the past Vanilla Ice—aka Robert Van Winkle—is working on season seven of The Vanilla Ice Project, airing early 2017. Since exploding onto the music scene in the ‘90s with hit single “Ice, Ice Baby,” and boasting worldwide album sales of over 20 million, he’s currently working on season seven of The Vanilla Ice Project airing in early 2017 on DIY Network. If he can prove himself on the dance floor, perhaps fans will stick around if he heads back to the recording studio.