New Rules, Bigger Stars, More Dancing: ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Season 28

As ABC gets ready to premiere the 28th season of “Dancing with the Stars” in September, fans have been anxious to know what are the alleged changes that will be coming to the show after its last fall controversial cycle. Here’s everything we know about the new season so far.

For the past 14 years, “Dancing with the Stars” has run with a schedule of two seasons per year—one in spring, one in the fall—but after season 27’s unexpected and controversial finale, the showrunners decided to take a break and skipped 2019’s spring season.

Although fans of the show feared a cancellation, ABC confirmed the season 28 earlier this year.

To some of the viewers' delight, the show will come with a few “tweaks” on its format that, hopefully, will make the show a more dance-focused competition instead of a popularity one.

WHAT HAPPENED ON SEASON 27?

After the 27th season finale results, fans started to call for a restructuration of the show’s rules.

What happened was that country radio DJ Bobby Bones, and partner Sharna Burgess had been on the back burner for the entire competition in the judges’ eyes. However, the audience votes took them to the finale.

In the end, Bones and Burgess earned a total of 54 out of 60 from the judges, the lowest score of the night. Still, they were crowned as winners thanks to the audience’s votes, which many fans thought was an unfair outcome considering two other couples had a perfect score.

The uproar on social media was so big that the complaints reached the higherups of the show, and they set to work on improving the system by skipping the spring season for the first time on the show’s history.

ARE THEY CHANGING THE RULES?

Although the executives have been secretive about the upcoming changes, host Tom Bergeron took to Twitter last June to inform fans that the major takeaway from the new season’s first meeting was “we hear you.”

ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke confirmed that they’re working on “refreshing” the format of the show, as per Deadline:

“We have been pitched some really fun format changes for ‘Dancing with the Stars’ by the executive producers, but right now they are top secret. [Reality chief] Rob Mills and I had a meeting with them a couple of months ago and got very excited about some of the new ideas that they were talking about to freshen up the format. It’s still the show that the audience knows and loves, but they’ve got some good ideas in terms of how to surprise people in new ways.”

It is not clear year if the new format will affect the voting or elimination process, but one thing is for sure: say goodbye to the paddles, as Bergeron revealed on Twitter we won’t be seeing those “10” anymore.

Speaking to TV Line, Burke explained that the “tweaks” would be “about [shifting] the focus of the show to really focus on it being a celebration of dance, and also focusing on the celebrities.”

ARE THE JUDGES AND HOSTS COMING BACK?

Yes, hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews are back, as well as the judging panel made up of Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, and Carrie Ann Inaba.

Goodman was a judge on “Strictly Dancing” the original UK version of “Dancing with the Stars.” He was a professional dancer and now owns a successful dance school in Kent, England.

Inaba is a celebrated veteran choreographer, actress and singer that has also worked for shows like “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” She was first introduced to American audiences as part of the original Fly Girls on the Fox sketch comedy series “In Living Color.”

Tonioli, on the other hand, is a famous choreographer that has worked with high profile celebrities such as Elton John, Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Tina Turner, and Paul McCartney. Like Goodman, he’s also a judge on “Strictly Dancing.” He also works in theatre and television.

WHICH CELEBRITIES WILL BE IN THE CAST THIS SEASON?

Although the entire cast will be revealed on Wednesday, ABC has been teasing fans with black and white pictures of the new stars on their Instagram account.

One of the confirmed stars is the new bachelorette, Hannah Brown, whose photo was posted with the caption "We’d LOVE to tell you who this is… But we’re going to make you wait a few more days.” US Weekly already confirmed the news.

Another possible contestant is “Queer Eye” star Karamo Brown.

“You might be a cultural genius if you can guess who this star is,” read the caption of another teaser. Fans pointed out that Karamo is a culture expert on “Queer Eye,” and he also went to Florida A&M and was on "The Real World," which are other clues seen in the teaser image.

A post that features a woman holding an emoji on her face has fans guessing it could be "Dance Moms" Abby Lee Miller or actress and choreographer Debbie Allen.

There’s also a possible NBA star, and a dragqueen on the lineup, but those are just fan theories following the DTWS Instagram account posts.

WHEN DOES SEASON 28 AIRS?

“Dancing with the Stars” season 28 will premiere on Monday, September 16 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

The expectations are higher than ever for fans of the show, and according to Burke, taking a break on spring was necessary for the producers and everyone involved to re-group and re-focus on what matters: the talent.

“Resting the show does help us focus on talent, and we will go after people that we think will be the strongest,” she told Deadline. “That has been a gift, and the producers are chomping at the bit to bring it back next fall.”

We can’t wait to see what this season has in store for us!

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