‘Dancing with the Stars’ spotlight: Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough

There are stacked teams when it comes to “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars,” and then there are stacked teams. It’s not always easy to try and pick the winner from an announced crop of contestants, but we can say one thing already about Shawn Johnson and her partner Derek Hough — they are going to go far. Not only is gymnastics super-popular right now following the summer Olympics, but Shawn is a former winner and is partnered with arguably the series’ best choreographer.

Claim to fame – A Gold Medalist at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, Johnson is one of the more well-known gymnasts in the country. She retired not long before the start of the London Games, but she does still have a major footprint in the sport courtesy of her experience, and could be a sought-after teacher and commentator for years to come.

Past placement – Winner (season 8)

Past partner – Mark Ballas

Current partner – Derek Hough

Story on the show – When Shawn last made an appearance in the ballroom, it wasn’t that long after the Beijing Olympics and she was still a household name. However, she was looked at as the underdog for most of the season thanks in part to everyone gushing all over Gilles Marini and Melissa Rycroft all season long. Her victory still is thought of as one of the most surprising in the history of the show, and this is why fans are excited about a rematch this time between Shawn and some of the dancers she defeated.

Strengths – First things first, we know that Shawn is in dancing shape. While gymnastics and ballroom are hardly the same, there are at least some elements that are reasonably similar — they involved performing in front of an audience, and you are scored oftentimes based on your technique. Shawn is a strong dancer and a natural entertainer, and we also have to mention again that she has Derek — a man who goes far with just about every single partner that he has. you would have to go back to Shawn’s season to see the last time that Derek did not take a celebrity to at least the top 4.

Weaknesses – While gymnastics are popular as a sport, Shawn was not in London — so with that, her star power could be diminished as is the case with many other retired athletes. Just as we think that former Julianne Hough partners Apolo Anton Ohno and Helio Castroneves could end up splitting their votes, the same thing could happen to Shawn with newly-appointed contestant Sabrina Bryan.

Prediction – If Shawn fails to make the top five, we’ll be stunned. Even though there are contestants who have danced more recently and danced more than she has, you can’t really argue against someone who is athletic, has a Mirrorball Trophy under her belt already, and is partnered with someone with such a fanbase of his own. This is going to be a monster partnership, and one to watch out for all season.

What’s your take on Shawn and Derek? We want to hear your thoughts below! To check out more of our spotlight series, all you have to do is visit the link here.

Photo: ABC

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