Dancing with the Stars is back in January — and who's the new judge?

12 new celebrities, one brand-new member of the judging panel and new pro-dancers to join the show
Dancing with the Stars is back in January — and who's the new judge?

Dancing with the Stars presenters Jennifer Zamparelli and Nicky Byrne; and new judge Arthur Gourounlian. 

The hit Sunday night TV series Dancing with the Stars will return to screens in January 2022, with a new judge — and 12 new celebrity dancers hoping to make it all the way to the final.

Presenters Jennifer Zamparelli and Nicky Byrne will be back at the helm of the series in 2022. Judges Loraine Barry and Brian Redmond will also return to Dancing with the Stars, and in January will be joined by new judging panel member, dancer and choreographer, Arthur Gourounlian.

Some of Julian Benson's fabulous outfits — designed by Claire Garvey
Some of Julian Benson's fabulous outfits — designed by Claire Garvey

He replaces popular judge Julian Benson who impressed fans with his fabulously flamboyant costumes each week. Julian was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was two years old. He was given a life expectancy of just 13 years of age but has never let it define him. Through positivity, exercise and a controlled diet, Julian continues to beat the odds today.

Armenian-born Arthur launched his career in Belgium before moving to Britain. He has performed or toured with Bananarama, Beyonce, Pink, Pussycat Dolls, Girls Aloud, Will Young, and Duffy to Kylie Minogue, Cheryl Cole, and Leona Lewis. He recently left LA and relocated to Ireland with his husband, Brian Dowling.

Again this season, aspirational dancers from the showbiz world will be teamed with professional dancers in a bid to impress the judges and viewers at home with their routines. All will be hoping to progress to the final and get their hands on the coveted Dancing with the Stars glitterball trophy.

All three judges will be ready to give their informed, upfront, and sometimes tough-talking reviews and scores from each of the live performances to the contestants.

Among the other changes for the upcoming series are that 12 brand-new celebrities will now take part in the show (previously there were 11), and the series will get straight down to business, with celebrities and their partners being voted off from week 2 of the 12-week run of shows.

Demi Isaac Oviawe and Kai Widdrington
Demi Isaac Oviawe and Kai Widdrington

Celebs who previously took up the Dancing with the Stars challenge include: Deirdre O'Kane, Marty Morrissey, Aidan Fogarty, Lottie Ryan, Demi Isaac Oviawe, Dr Eva Orsmond, Mary Kennedy, Bernard O'Shea, and Peter Stringer.

Social reporter James Patrice is back for the new season with his access-all-areas backstage pass to bring fans all the latest news and updates from the training room and the dancefloor on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.

Larry Bass, CEO ShinAwiL, said: “It will be a challenge to manage a show of this scale while also policing the strict covid protocols we have identified with RTÉ, but it is a challenge the whole team are looking forward to taking on. Dancing with the Stars is such a great feel-good show, it is exactly what the country needs after two years of tough times."

A number of new pro-dancers will be joining this year's show also for the first time, including two new professional dancers from Ireland.

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