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Season 20 Dancing with the Stars Cast: Did You Know …?

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Dancing with the Stars: Fun Facts About the Cast

From left: Patti LaBelle, Rumer Willis, Michael Sam and Suzanne Somers

The 10th anniversary cast of Dancing with the Stars boasts plenty of recognizable names, but how well do you really know the 12 stars who will be facing off for this year’s mirror ball trophy?

Here are 13 surprising facts about the cast – plus some bonus trivia about the returning judges and hosts.

1. Glee‘s Riker Lynch is related to pro Derek Hough and his sister Julianne, a judge and former pro.
Lynch is actually a cousin of the Houghs, telling E! that he “doesn’t see them very often, but we’re cool.” Even though they’ll be competing against each other on the dance floor, Derek congratulated him on the gig. Said Lynch, “Right when I got on the show and we went on Good Morning America, I texted Derek the next day and he was super pumped that I was going to be on the show.”

2. Army vet Noah Galloway may have lost two of his limbs, but he’s probably one of the most active of all of this year’s competitors.
According to his website, Galloway regularly competes in Tough Mudders, Spartan events and Crossfit competitions, as well as 5K and 10K races.

3. Patti LaBelle has broken some very important racial boundaries over the span of her long career.
As member of the ’60s girl group LaBelle, the singer made history by being a part of the first African-American group to perform at the prestigious Metropolitan Opera House. They were also the first African-American group to land the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, according to Biography.com.

4. Football player Michael Sam has a very famous boy band member as a fan.
One Direction’s Harry Styles wore a Michael Sam No. 96 jersey onstage during an August concert in St. Louis. The boy bander made the move as a show of support for Sam two days after the first round of NFL roster cuts, which Sam made it through, though he was cut afterwards.

5. Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Nastia Liukin is currently a student at one of the nation’s top universities.
Per her Instagram biography, Liukin is a student at NYU in addition to being an NBC sports commentator. An NYU blog reported that she is studying Sports Management at the Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management.

6. LMFAO’s RedFoo is a serious tennis player.
The “Party Rock Anthem” singer entered the U.S. Open national playoffs in 2013 (though he ultimately didn’t qualify). RedFoo told ESPN that he grew up playing tennis and only stopped to pursue music after a snowboarding injury prevented him from playing.

7. Charlotte McKinney has fans of all ages – including her grandfather, who is in his 90s.
The model may have appeared almost nude in her Carl’s Jr. Super Bowl commercial, but that didn’t stop her from watching it with her father and grandfather, who both loved it. Her family members are her “No. 1 fans,” McKinney told PEOPLE, “so they just freaked out and called all their friends. Even my grandfather who’s in his 90s got to see it.”

8. Robert Herjavec truly started from the bottom before becoming a multi-millionaire.
The Shark Tank panelist delivered papers and worked as a waiter before developing successful IT companies. He’s now worth $100 million, according to his website.

9 & 10. Willow Shields’s competitors need to watch out – she’s no stranger to dance.
“I like going to dance classes,” the Hunger Games star told Just Jared Jr. “That’s my hobby. I take hip-hop, ballet, modern dance, so that’s kind of my thing.” (Bonus fun fact: She has a twin sister!)

11. Suzanne Somers is older than all but seven of the 236 contestants DWTS has ever had.
But her age didn’t deter her from signing up from the show! “There’s a new way to age and it’s not about the number, it’s about energy and vitality, and I wanted to prove to me and to them it’s not over,” the 68-year-old told Entertainment Tonight. “It’s definitely not over for this chick.”

12. Rumer Willis has become a star in her own right, but her first time appearing on screen was in the same lineup as her famous mom.
Rumer’s first acting credit is for Now and Then, which starred her mother Demi Moore.

13. Chris Soules is about as all-American as they come.
The former Bachelor is a fourth-generation farmer, currently residing in Arlington, Iowa. Did you know his town encompasses just 1.05 square miles and boasts only a single postal worker?

14. Carrie Ann Inaba has something major in common with Jennifer Lopez.
Both Inaba and Lopez were Fly Girls, dancing on the sketch comedy show In Living Color. Watch them in action.

15. Len Goodman wouldn’t have become a dancer if it weren’t for a major sports injury.
Goodman had a passion for football before an injury ended his career, according to his bio page on BBC One. After the injury he took up ballroom dancing and went on to win the title of British champion four times.

16. Bruno Tonioli once appeared in an Elton John music video.
The Italian dancer is seen wearing some very interesting costumes – including a high-waisted swimming brief and a bellman’s uniform sans shirt – in John’s “I’m Still Standing.””

17. Julianne Hough moved to London when she was just 10 years old to pursue dance.
The former champion–turned–judge actually lived with the family of fellow future pro Mark Ballas while studying dance abroad, though she had to become independent at a very young age. “I remember one of my first days there I got off at the wrong train station,” Hough told PEOPLE. “I was just standing there thinking, ‘Where am I?’ ”

18. Tom Bergeron is a record-breaking host.
According to his ABC bio, as host of both Dancing with the Stars and America’s Funniest Home Videos, he has clocked at different times more primetime hours on TV than any other host.

19. Erin Andrews has TV journalism in her blood.
Her father Steve Andrews has earned several Emmy awards for his work as a broadcast journalist. He currently works as an investigative reporter at WFLA-TV News Channel 8 in Tampa, Florida.

20. Tony Dovolani know how to cope with a tough loss.
Somers’s partner may be a previous champion – and DWTS‘s pro with the longest tenure – but he’s known defeat. After a heartbreaking first-round elimination with partner Martina Navratilova in season 14, Dovolani sought fluffy consolation: a puppy for his three daughters.

 

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