How Dancing With The Stars Pairs Celebrities With Dancing Pros

Dancing With The Stars ABC Mr. T Awkward Season 24

This Monday the world gears up for yet another season of Dancing With The Stars. If you've been watching even half of the seasons, you're more than familiar with the dancers, but do you know how they pick their celebrities? I always assumed it was all on the dancers to decide who goes with whom, but executive producer Ashley Edens says that's not the case and explains the process below:

There's no real science or a perfect formula behind the pairing process. The dancers don't have a say in who they're getting. Joe, myself and [casting director] Deena [Katz] who books the cast. Deena will know the celebrities a little bit more. Joe and I work with the dancers day in and day out so together we try and make the best pairings based on height, personality [and] dance ability or lack thereof. We try not to always put predictable pairings together. You're not seeing Witney [Carson] with the exact same type person every single season. That's a challenge. And ultimately we want everyone to be happy whether it's the celebrity or the dancer. That's at the forefront in making the strongest pairings.

Sounds like way more thought than I ever thought went into it! I guess it's fair that the dancers don't get to pick their talent, and the height thing makes sense as well. Obviously, it would look a little funny for the 6'2 Nick Viall of The Bachelor to be paired with 5'3 Witney Carson, as well as make dancing a little bit more difficult. It's odd how the casting process sounds like you're searching for soulmates rather than a dance partner!

That comparison is not lost on the Dancing With The Stars executive producers either. Both Ashley Edens and fellow executive producer Joe Sungkur feel like they're setting people up to create some chemistry. The real challenge, according to the producers, is finding a way to create a story through a strong dynamic of the pairings. Obviously, if the celebrities don't care much for their partner, they aren't going to be as fun on television, which, in turn, won't be fun for anyone. Sungkur shares more on the process below:

It's like we're matchmakers. We're constantly looking for new stories. Having the opportunity to partner Keo [Mostepe] with Charo, for example, felt like a story we've never seen before. Throughout the whole casting process, we really look forward to that and are trying to make new stories and bring a new dynamic to the show.

While some may be excited for Charo, I'm pretty pumped to see Mr. T put on his dancing shoes! The Dancing With The Stars producers tell THR the former A-Team actor has been on their list for a long time and they think audiences will respond well to his positive attitude and warm nature. Another star to watch will be recent Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, who will join the ranks of Olympians to appear on the show. While he might not be as high on the list for others, I'm also excited to see former Saturday Night Live star Chris Kattan and see if he pulls any Night At The Roxbury dance moves out on the dancefloor!

Season 24 of Dancing With The Stars returns Monday, March 20th on ABC. Check it out as well as other returning shows on our midseason premiere guide, and while you're at it, get a jump on Summer with our Summer premiere guide!

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick contains multitudes and balances his time reporting on big happenings in the world of Star Trek, the WWE, reality television, and other sci-fi shows.