(NEW YORK) — Tonight, season 24 of Dancing with the Stars kicks off at 8 p.m. on ABC.
As always, this year brings a varied crop of celebrity hoofers — everyone from Fifth Harmony member Normani Kordei, Olympians Nancy Kerrigan and Simone Biles, a pro bull rider in Bonner Bolton, and classic TV mainstays Charo and Mr. T.
DWTS pro Kym Johnson Herjavec is partnered Mr. T, born Lawrence Tureaud. He told ABC News that he’d been pursued for the show for some time, but the cancer survivor finally accepted when he was able to donate proceeds from his DWTS salary to the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
“That’s what my mother taught me,” he said, “‘The Blessed of us, must try to save the lessed of us, and I’ve been blessed by God Almighty…This is my way of giving back.”
Kerrigan, partnered with Artem Chigvintsev, admitted she was nervous. “There is definitely pressure: skaters have won in the past, and gymnasts have won in the past…” She explained she was a fan of the show, adding with a laugh, “It all looks like, ‘I think I could do this!’ It seemed very comfortable from the couch, now I’m like, ‘Oh boy!'”
Musician and dancer Charo told us she’s “honored” to be a part of the program, which is a global phenomenon. “The show, thank God it is real, and full of energy, and entertains a lot of people that doesn’t have the money to go to Vegas, that’s where I [make] my living.”
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