By Ava Keresztesy

Season 30 of Dancing with the Stars is finally here and with it comes the most talked about cast list yet. Dancing with the Stars, which has been airing since 2005, has seen countless decorated athletes, talented singers, and American heros grace the ballroom floor. Among the list of stars are cast members who some may argue don’t fit the definition of “star”. DWTS is no stranger to controversial contestants who never fail to build up anticipation for the coming season. Past controversial contestants include Carole Baskin, Sean Spicer, and Ryan Lochte who was just overcoming his 2016 robbery scandal. 

Season 30’s cast list is no exception. Contestants this fall include influencer Olivia Jade. Jade is more so known for her mother, Full House actress Lori Loughlin, who took part in the college admissions scandal of 2019. Jade has had consistent high scores the past three weeks and is actually very entertaining to watch. I am excited to see how far she makes throughout the rest of the show and what improvements she will make. Her pro partner this season is Val Chmerkovskiy. 

In typical DWTS fashion this season’s cast includes Bachelor star Matt James. James was the star of season 25 of The Bachelor and also the first Black Bachelor. Unfortunately, his season on the Bachelor wasn’t without controversy. In the end, James chose to give the final rose to Rachael Kirkconnell. Kirkconnell was caught in controversy over racist and tone deaf Instagram posts. Despite the rocky relationship, Matt and Rachael are still publicly in a relationship. The pressure is definitely on James this season on Dancing With the Stars as last season fellow Bachelor Nation star Kaityln Bristowe won first place. Matt is partnered with Lindsay Arnold this season. I’m curious to see how high Matt will place, but I am not confident he will take first. 

My personal favorite this season is YouTuber Jojo Siwa. Jojo is known for her signature bright colored bows, energetic personality, and her appearance on the famous Lifetime show Dance Moms. In January 2021, Siwa came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and is currently in a happy relationship with girlfriend Kylie Prew. Siwa will be making DWTS history and be the first contestant to dance with a same sex partner. Her pro is Jenna Johnson. Jojo has not failed to impress and held a top score each week. 

From what I’ve seen in the first three weeks of the show, I’ve already started to place my bets on who I think will make it to the finals and even who may win the coveted Mirrorball trophy. Talk show host Amanda Kloots has had the highest score consistency and is my pick for winner this season. Along with Amanda, Oliva Jade and Jojo Siwa are looking like two strong runner ups. All three women improve from week to week and I am excited to see their dances next week.