"Dancing With the Stars" Announces New Cast

"DWS" unveils its new cast, which includes an Olympian, rap star and comedian.

Feb. 9, 2009 — -- The coveted mirrorball trophy is up for grabs once again as 13 superstars prepare to team up with professional dancers and face off on television's hit ballroom competition, "Dancing With the Stars." Past seasons have given actors, a racecar driver and two disabled contestants an opportunity to samba, fox trot and tango their way to victory.

Season eight, which begins March 9, brings seven men and six women the chance to hoist the super-silvery prize above their heads. And for the first time three real-life couples will face-off on the dance floor.

The Men

Ty Murray

Ty Murray may be the King of the Cowboys, but will that make him the King of the Ballroom? The rodeo cowboy has two challenges on his way to the top spot: mastering his ballroom dances ... and his wife.

That's right. Murray will take on his wife, the singer Jewel, in this season's "DWS." Murray, a Phoenix native, is in the Guinness World Records and has held the World All-Around Rodeo championship title seven times.

He's used to bulls bucking, but how well will he handle the judges' critiques?

Dancing With the Stars Contestants Season Eight

David Alan Grier

Funnyman David Alan Grier has been making audiences laugh for decades. Today he hosts "Chocolate News," a satirical look at news events affecting the African-American community.

He continues to do standup, but many fans will never forget his successful run on the African-American sketch show "In Living Color." Through the show, Grier brought his comedic sensibilities to the masses.

Will Grier be able to parlay his improvisational skills into mirrorball dominance?

Steve Wozniak

His name may not be as familiar as some of the other contestants, but the brand he helped create is as famous as any of them. Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple computers with Steve Jobs in 1976.

The company would go on to become a huge success, and Wozniak was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2000.

Perhaps the computer engineer will be able to devise just the right program to put him on top in the "DWS" competition.

Season Eight Contestants: Men

Chuck Wicks

Country hottie Chuck Wicks is one of two country music stars appearing on season eight of "DWS."

The crooner has released just one studio album, but it had a bit impact thanks to songs like "Stealing Cinderella" and "All I Ever Wanted."

The 29-year-old crooner may want to be paired with his girlfriend, two-time "DWS" champion Julianne Hough.

Gilles Marini

Gilles Marini may not have uttered a single word in last summer's hit movie "Sex and the City," but his impeccable bod did enough talking for Samantha and movie-goers.

As the scene-stealing Dante, the Casanova living in a beach house next door to Kim Cattrall's character, Marini's perfected pecs gave viewers something to swoon over.

Aside from the big screen, the California resident has appeared in "Ugly Betty," "Dirty, Sexy Money" and "Criminal Minds."

The French actor has two children, a son and a daughter, with wife Carole.

Season Eight Contestants


Steve-O has stapled his butt, squirted lemon juice into his eyes and eaten glass -- but can he seamlessly do a tango?

The 34-year-old stuntman, who came to fame on the MTV program "Jackass," is known for his insane stunts. He is never afraid to go to the extreme to shock and awe onlookers.

Sure Steve-O is a daredevil. But just how much will that help him when he faces the tart-tongued "DWS" judges?

Lawrence Taylor

In past seasons, the move from the gridiron to the dance floor has been smooth — and that may give Lawrence Taylor the upper hand in the competition.

The football Hall-of-Famer was the New York Giants' first-round draft pick in 1981 and became the league's defensive player of the year in his first season.

In addition, his speed, intensity and strength helped make him one of the most memorable linebackers the NFL has ever seen.

Taylor had the second highest number of all time for career sacks when he retired in 1993. Let's see if that fancy footwork translates into ballroom supremacy.

Season Eight Contestants: Women


Singer Jewel rocketed to superstardom in 1995 when she released her debut album, "Pieces of You." Her inspired vocals and soft rhythms proved too much for fans to resist, on singles like "Who Will Save Your Soul," "Foolish Games and "You Were Meant for Me."

The songwriter parlayed her success into six more solo records, books of poems and film and television work.

Jewel has served as a guest judge on "American Idol" and hosted "Nashville Star."

In 2007, the pop songstress tried a new genre — country music. Her duet with Jason Michael Carroll, "No Good in Goodbye," was just the beginning.

In 2008, she released her own full country album, "Perfectly Clear," which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's country music chart.

Jewel loves country music so much, she roped in her own cowboy. She married rodeo champion Ty Murray in August 2008, and the couple has the distinction of becoming the first married pair to compete in the same season of "DWS."

Belinda Carlisle

Belinda Carlisle fronted one of the most successful girl groups of the 1980s. With hits like "Our Lips Are Sealed" and "We Got the Beat," Carlisle and the Go-Gos dominated 80s airwaves.

Following the band's 1985 breakup, Carlisle went on to a very successful solo career, which included hits like "Mad About You," "I Get Weak" and "Heaven Is a Place on Earth."

The pop icon shared her rock-star know-how with famous offspring seeking the spotlight for their own right on MTV's "Rock the Cradle." The singer also has become a spokeswoman for NutriSystem.

In past seasons, contestants have danced away the pounds. Will Carlisle be able to do the same and take home the trophy?

Female Dance Contestants

Denise Richards

Actress and model Denise Richards has a face that was etched into pop culture's minds in the 1990s, when the sultry thespian melted the silver screen with roles in "Wild Things" and the James Bond flick "The World Is Not Enough."

Men's magazines often have place Richards among the most beautiful women in the world.

Recently, the mother of two has become a tabloid favorite, with readers intrigued by every facet of her personal life. Her reality show, "Denise Richards: It's Complicated," let fans see her life with her father and daughters, Sam and Lola.

Surely Richards will bring her sexy brand of style to "DWS" -- but will it be enough to secure judges' and viewers' votes?

Shawn Johnson

At just 17 years old, Shawn Johnson is the youngest competitor ever on "DWS." But age won't be a factor for the Olympic gymnast, who already proved to the world she was a top-tier, world-class competitor when she brought home a gold and silver medal in the Summer 2008 Olympic games.

Johnson is the gold medalist for women's balance beam and a silver medalist in the individual all-around. Though she is in the midst of her junior year of high school in Des Moines, Iowa, Johnson has shown she can balance almost anything.

Her athletic background could help her in the dance completion, as it did another gold medalist who took the top ranking when she competed. Could Johnson follow in Kristi Yamaguchi's footsteps?

Dancing With the Stars Women

Lil Kim

Hip-hop's Queen Bee has battled emcees, chauvinism and even the law — but can Brooklyn's diminutive diva break through on the ballroom floor?

The female rap pioneer has wracked up a bevy of successes, including four solo albums. The 33-year-old hip-hopper, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, is known as much for her brash lyrics as she is for her eclectic style.

One of her most memorable fashion moments came at the 1999 MTV Music Video Awards, when only a purple-sequined shell nipple slip covered her bare breast. It became the stuff of legend when icon Diana Ross appeared onstage with Kim and jiggled the little one's assets in front of a live audience.

But it's not just Kim's fashion antics that have kept her in the spotlight. She served as judge on the television show "Pussycat Dolls Presents: Girlicious" and even allowed cameras to follow her as part of a reality show in 2006.

"Lil Kim: Countdown to Lockdown" showed the rapper as she finished her album "The Naked Truth" and prepared to serve a year in jail for conspiracy and perjury. She also has appeared in movies like "She's All That" and "Zoolander."

The artist holds the distinction of being the only female emcee to receive five mics from Source magazine.

Nancy O'Dell

Entertainment watchers know Nancy O'Dell as the host of "Access Hollywood."

The red-carpet regular gives the dish on Tinsletown's top stars, but the South Carolina native does more than just bring viewers the latest news on their favorite celebrities.

O'Dell is also an actress who has appeared on the big and small screens.

Having covered "DWS" in the past, how will O'Dell compare to her former interview subjects when it comes to burning up the dance floor?

Top Stories

Top Stories

Top Stories

Top Stories

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events