Pairs pair up with new ‘Dancing’ partners

  • By Yvonne Villarreal Los Angeles Times
  • Thursday, March 6, 2014 4:15pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

The drawdown begins Monday for the new crop of celebrity hoofers competing in Season 18 of “Dancing With the Stars.”

There are TV stars of yesteryear, including “The Wonder Years” Danica McKellar (aka Winnie Cooper), and “Full House” big sis Candace Cameron Bure (DJ Tanner).

Some sports stars: recent gold medal winners from the Sochi Olympics, ice skating duo Meryl Davis and Charlie White; and swimming legend Diana Nyad.

And some firsts: snowboarding champ Amy Purdy, who lost her legs as a teenager, will be the first Paralympian to compete; and Sean Avery will be the first former hockey player to hit the shiny wood floors.

Also getting in the dancing fun are comedian-turned-game show host Drew Carey, “Real Housewives” personality NeNe Leakes, and Billy Dee Williams.

Sure to bring in some young viewers are Australian pop singer Cody Simpson and “Big Time Rush” actor-singer James Maslow.

The long-running ABC show, whose ratings have been slipping in recent seasons, comes into its 18th season with more than a fresh crop of celebrity contestants.

The show recently axed co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet and replaced her with former contestant / sports host Erin Andrews.

The show is also experimenting with a new format that allows viewers to switch celebrities and their pro-partners midseason.

Of course, the professional dancers have earned their own fan base. So here’s the rundown of who the celebrities will be paired up with.

Pro dancing bad boy Maksim Chmerkovskiy will return after sitting out last season, paired with Davis.

Karina Smirnoff partners with Avery.

Mark Ballas partners with Bure.

Cheryl Burke partners with Carey.

Derek Hough partners with Purdy.

Witney Carson partners with Simpson.

Sharna Burgess partners with White.

Emma Slater partners with Williams.

Valentin Chmerkovskiy partners with McKellar.

Peta Murgatroyd partners with Maslow.

Tony Dovolani partners with Leakes.

First timer Henry Byalikov partners with Nyad.

Watch it

“Dancing With the Stars” new season begins at 8 p.m. Monday on ABC.

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