Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013 | 7:07 a.m.
Season 17 of ABC’s hit series “Dancing With the Stars” is going to be fresh to death.
Las Vegas regular and new mom Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi of “Jersey Shore” fame leads the celebrity hopefuls who’ll compete for the prized mirrored disco ball trophy that was won by “General Hospital” actress and “Peepshow” headliner Kelly Monaco in Season 1 in 2005(!) and last season by “American Idol” alumnus and country singer Kellie Pickler. (Flamingo headliner Donny Osmond won Season 9 in 2009).
Joining Snooki in the season that kicks off Monday, Sept. 16: actress Elizabeth Berkley Lauren (“Saved By the Bell,” “Showgirls”); singer and actor Corbin Bleu (“High School Musical”); actor Brant Daugherty (“Army Wives,” “Pretty Little Liars”); comedian Bill Engvall; and veteran actress Valerie Harper (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Valerie’s Family”).
Also, former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson; singer and actress Christina Milian; Bill Nye, the science guy; singer Jack Osbourne (son of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne); actress Leah Remini (“The King of Queens” and, most recently, formerly of the Church of Scientology); and actress Amber Riley (“Glee”).
The pairings: Berkley Lauren and Val Chmerkovsky; Bleu and Karina Smirnoff; Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd; Engvall and debuting dancer Emma Slater; Harper and Tristan MacManus; Johnson and Sharna Burgess; Milian and Mark Ballas; Nye and debuting dancer Tyne Stecklein; Osbourne and Cheryl Burke; Polizzi and debuting dancer Sasha Farber; Remini and Tony Dovolani; and Riley and Derek Hough.
The announcements were made on this morning’s “Good Morning America” on ABC. Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet return as hosts. New this season for “DWTS”: The series is down to one show a week, eliminating the Tuesday results show, to reportedly combat its ratings decline.
Check back Thursday for a Q+A with “DWTS” pro dancer champions Cheryl Burke and Smirnoff, who were at Encore Beach Club in Steve Wynn’s Encore last Thursday night to promote Pom’s new juices (hula, coconut and mango) and kick off the 2013 Labor Day weekend.
The gorgeous ladies, Burke in green and Smirnoff in gold, shared who their dream dance partner would be on the longtime ABC juggernaut.
Today’s “DWTS” trivia question: Which pro dancer has won the most championships? The answer … wait for it … is Derek Hough at four. Burke, Mark Ballas and Julianne Hough, Derek’s sister, have two apiece.
Don Chareunsy is senior editor for arts and entertainment of the Las Vegas Sun.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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