PureDWTS Season 26 – Who Would You Like to See on DWTS Junior? Court Picks Pros & Celebs

So we’re still over 6 months away from the premiere of Dancing with the Stars Junior next spring, but given that any show with minors seems to take quite a bit more planning, I’m guessing the casting directors are already wheeling & dealing on who they want on the show – after all, they’re not just casting potential celebs, but pros too…and apparently a host, as well, as Tom has said he will not be hosting the spinoff. Alfonso, you still lurking around set? πŸ˜‰ We need a host, bruh. My gut’s still telling me that Maks will somehow land on the judging panel, and I guess I can only hope that being a father himself with have softened him a bit…I don’t think I could bear a whole season of him being as big a jerk as he was guest judging switch week on DWTS.Β  And to kids, no less 😯

I had mixed feelings upon hearing about the spinoff – and if I’m being honest, my feelings are still pretty mixed – but at the very least, I think having a brand new set of pros, judges, and celebs (and perhaps a bit of a new format, to accommodate the unique nature of casting kids) might give me a bit of a reprieve from the manipulative grind of the regular DWTS. And the fact that all of the pros are gonna be brand new? Makes it hard for producers to play favorites πŸ™‚ But I do worry about seeing young kids face rejection on national television, especially after seeing young kids cut on World of Dance this summer…I just hope the producers know they have to handle them far more gently than they do the adults on DWTS.

So all that being said – who do I want to see as pros and celebs on the show? Well, given that they haven’t really specified what the age range will be, I am gonna guess that anyone under the age of 18 is probably going to be eligible to be a pro or a celeb partner – similar to the competitive ballroom world, where 18 is more or less the cutoff for dancing in the youth division, and then they make you just start doing adult amateur events. Yes, I’m aware that Willow Shields was only 14 when she did the regular version of the show – but if we cut it off at 14, we actually lose some potentially good pro and celeb choices, and I don’t think the show is going to be able to afford to be THAT picky.Β  So 18’s my cut-off, and all of my picks won’t turn 18 during the airing of the show, either.Β  I was also realistic – I doubt we’re gonna see the children/siblings of any huge, A-list celebs on DWTSJ.Β  So yeah – no Jolie-Pitts and the like on this list.Β  I listed celebrity children that I think the show actually stands a chance of possibly getting.

I find myself caring more about the pros than the celebrity contestants (although there’s two celebs that I’ve already picked out pro partners for… πŸ˜‰ ), but I had a good time compiling this list nonetheless.Β  Let me know what you think πŸ˜‰

Court’s pro picks:

D’Angelo Castro: He’s 16, from Miami, and already has quite a bit of TV dancing experience, on top of competition ballroom experience.Β  He and his partner Amanda (more on her later) won Live to Dance (Paula Abdul’s one-and-done dance competition series on CBS) in 2011; he’s been a repeat finalist on America’s Got Talent (6th place in 2012 with The Untouchables, made the top 12 in 2013 with Amanda); and he and Amanda most recently made it to the top 8 of the junior division on World of Dance – more details in the profile I created for them over at PureWOD. He & Amanda are currently the #4 Junior Latin couple in the country, and consistently place in the top 10 in their division at competitions.

Amanda Carbajales: Also 16, she’s from Miami as well and she’s D’Angelo’s partner – so everything in his bio above also applies to her, and additionally, she was a contestant on season 1 of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition back in 2012, and came in 4th place.

Behold, as they dance a paso doble on WOD as Derek looks on…

Ruby Castro: She’s 13, from (you guessed it) Miami, and she’s D’Angelo’s younger sister.Β  Like him, she’s been a finalist more than once on America’s Got Talent – she also danced with The Untouchables back in 2012, and she and her partner Jonas competed against D’Angelo and Amanda and made it to the quarterfinals in 2013. Additionally, she came in 6th on So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation last summer, where she was paired with all-star Paul Karmiryan. She and Jonas, like D’Angelo & Amanda, have also had a pretty successful competition career, and recently won the Junior II Latin Championship at Millennium Dancesport.

Watch Ruby & Paul samba…

Jonas Terleckas: He’s 14, originally from Lithuania, but now lives in…say it with me…Miami πŸ™‚ He’s been competing with Ruby for five years now, and they were on AGT together in 2013.Β  They’re currently ranked #7 nationally in the junior Latin division.

Watch Ruby & Jonas jive…dats niiiiice.

Why I think casting these four is a good thing: They’re basically a Ballas-Hough reboot, plus a bonus person πŸ™‚ You’ve got a set of siblings, a la Julianne & Derek, and their competition partners (Mark and…Aneta, was it?) All four have been cross-trained in multiple styles (check out D’Angelo’s Instagram for videos of him giving me some serious Derek vibes doing contemporary), D’Angelo & Ruby’s dad and the owner of their studio, Manny, is basically a Chilean version of Corky Ballas, and their mom, Lory, is Shirley Ballas with a bit of Miami flavor. Did I mention they’ve actually trained with Shirley, too? πŸ™‚ Plus they’d be the first Latino pros this show has seen since Fabian Sanchez, I think.

Rylee Arnold: She’s 12, she’s from Provo, UT, and she’s Lindsay’s little sister. She just started dancing with a newp partner this year, so they haven’t done a ton of competitions yet…but she seemed pretty successful with her old one, consistently placing in the finals of her division.

Watch her practicing with her partner…my god, is she adorable…

Why I think casting her is a good idea: I think the sibling connection will likely draw some viewers from regular DWTS, eager to see if the littlest Arnold is anything like her big sis. She’s also part of the VIBE crew, so she’s been cross-trained in multiple styles.


Kid celeb picks (children/siblings of previous contestants):

Robert Irwin: He’s 13, he’s season 21’s champ Bindi Irwin’s younger brother, and he, like her, is an animal conservationist. He also seems to have inherited Bindi’s irresistible charm and relentlessly positive outlook on life, so I think he’d quickly endear himself to viewers and would probably have the work ethic to do well on the show. I think he and Ruby would make a fantastic partnership.

Watch him being adorable with some animals on Jimmy Fallon…

Maksim Bure: He’s 15, he’s season 18 contestant Candace Cameron-Bure’s youngest son, and he’s apparently a pretty good hockey player like his dad. I just remember all of Candace’s kids coming across as so well-mannered and happy when they showed them in her rehearsal packages. I just hope he doesn’t share mom’s tendency towards stage fright…

Here’s a video from a couple years back that he filmed with his sister, Natasha:

Coco Arquette: She’s 13, she’s season 13 contestant David Arquette’s daughter, and she’s a budding actress herself. I loved seeing her all giggly and excited in the audience when her dad was on the show, and it seems she’s grown up to be a lovely young lady.

Here she is in the music video for Monogem’s “Wild”:

Briahna Fatone: She’s 16, and she’s season 4 runner-up Joey Fatone’s oldest daughter.Β  If she’s anything like her dad, I think she’ll take to the show with ease – and I get the feeling Papa Fat One would love to cheer her on from the audience πŸ˜›

Watch Joey giving her a hard time on Periscope…

Children of celebs (that haven’t been on the show):

Kaia Gerber: She’s 15, she’s Cindy Crawford’s daughter, and she’s following in mom’s footsteps as a model.Β  I just think she’s stunning, and would love to see if she’s got any skills on the dance floor.

Lola Consuelos: She’s 16, her mom is TV host Kelly Ripa, her dad is actor Mark Consuelos. Since we’ve never gotten Kelly or Mark on the show…why not Lola? πŸ™‚

Child stars:

Aubrey Anderson Emmons: She’s 10, and plays Lily on Modern Family. My only concern is that she’s awfully young – but she seems pretty mature and precocious for her age, so there’s that.Β  Being part of the ABC family would likely help her chances of getting on the show.

Miles Brown: He’s 12, he plays Jack Johnson on Black-ish, and (ringer alert!) he’s also dabbled in some dancing, as he was on America’s Got Talent several years ago as part of hip-hop act Future Funk. I just think he’s adorable, and I’m not sure being a ringer is going to be as big an advantage on DWTSJ as it is for the adults on DWTS. I think he’d be a stellar partner for Rylee. Below is him today – and below that is him 7 years ago on AGT.Β  I melt!!!

So those are my picks…what are yours? And what are your overall thoughts on DWTSJ?