Meet the Pros, Judges and Hosts of ABC’s Skating With the Stars

A while back, Patrick introduced us to the stars of this new show but now, I’m taking the time to introduce you to the pros, judges and hosts. Now that Dancing With the Stars is coming to close, Americans are going to be looking for something new to do on Monday nights. Well look no further. Taking a cue from their friends up north, ABC takes a page from CBC’s book and introduces Skating With the Stars. Unlike Battle of the Blades where pro skaters are paired with professional hockey players, this show pairs celebrities with professional skaters. At least in the Canadian version, the men have some skating experience. With ABC, the celebrities have little to no skating experience whatsoever. I feel like this is an invitation to many a injury.

So let’s meet the pro skaters first…


Celebrity Partner: Jonny Moseley

With partner Ben Okolski, Brooke won 10 medals including one for what she considers her biggest life-defining moment, her victory at the 2007 U.S. National Championships. After the 2007 Nationals, Brooke and Ben were invited to perform with Champions on Ice. That same year, they were part of NBC’s Skating Spectacular along with legends Brian Boitano, Dorothy Hamill and David Pelletier. Impressive. In May of 2010, Brooke and Ben retired from competitive skating. For Brooke, this move was more of a transition, as she is now coaching and choreographing for pair skaters in Detroit.


Celebrity Partner: Sean Young

Denis is one of the few skaters to have competed at both the European Figure Skating Championships and Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. He has an impressive resume of U.S. National medals, International Event Championships, and top World rankings. He and Melissa Gregory represented the U.S. in the 2006 Winter Olympics and has toured with Champions on Ice. Denis has choreographed programs for top skaters like Johnny Weir, Evgeni Plushenko and other world level talent. In 2010, Denis and Melissa produced and directed the entertainment ice show Proud Nation. The event included local inner-city and suburban kids, World & Olympic skaters, Cirque du Soleil performers and America’s Best Dance Crew dancers.

Celebrity Partner: Bethenny Frankel

He’s a three-time USA Team Member, five-time Senior National competitor and he’s won three National Medals. In other words, he’s pretty darn good on the ice. With former partner and fellow Skating with the Stars pro, Keanu McLaughlin, Ethan won two straight medals at the United States Figure Skating Championships, a bronze in 2004 and pewter in 2005. In 2006, Ethan had the opportunity to show off his skating skills as Jon Heder’s stunt double in the hit Will Ferrell comedy Blades of Glory.


Celebrity Partner: Rebecca Budig

At the U.S. Eastern Sectional Championships in 1993, Fred’s 4th place finish allowed him to qualify for the U.S .Nationals. But that probably wasn’t his fondest memory from that event since it’s where he met his wife/skating partner, Melanie Lambert. Fred and Melanie began skating together in 1994. Nine years later, they were married! In their first event competing as a team, the U.S. Eastern Sectionals (the qualifying event for the U.S. National Championships), Fred and Melanie blew away their competition and won Gold. They went on to compete at the 1995 U.S. National Championships where they finished in 4th in Juniors Pairs. That same year, the dynamic duo had another 4th place finish at the U.S. Olympic Festival.


Celebrity Partner: Vince Neil

In 2002, Jennifer returned to the United States from Italy and started looking for a partner. A year later, she teamed up with Daniil Barantsev. Even though they debuted at the 2005 Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships winning the Original Dance, they were forced to sit out of International Competition until the 2007-2008 season because of ISU rules. Bummer. From 2006 to 2010, Jennifer has been a top skater the Midwestern Championships. In late 2007, partner Daniil obtained a release from the Russian Skating Federation and the pair began to represent the United States in international competition. At their debut international competition, Jennifer and Daniil won the prestigious Nebelhorn Trophy in 2007 which is represents one of the elite competitions in International Figure Skating.


Celebrity Partner: Brandon Mychal Smith

With partner and fellow Skating with the Stars pro, Ethan Burgess, Keauna won two consecutive medals at the United States Figure Skating Championships—a bronze in 2004 and pewter in 2005. Keauna partnered with Rockne Brubaker in 2006 and found immediate success. Undefeated their first season together on the Junior level, they took gold at the 2007 U.S. Nationals. A year later, they competed on the Senior level and again won gold at Nationals making them the first pairs team in 51 years to win consecutive Junior and Senior titles. In 2009, they successfully defended their National title. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Not bad, not bad. We have a lot championship and Olympic experience in here. So who is going to throw the scores out and give their educated advice? 2 former skaters and one… hip hop choreographer? I am as confused as you are. Lets take a look at the judges.


He is the inventor of the move the flying camel spin. Oh ya, and his name is DICK BUTTON (pictured above left)! LMFAO.

A two-time Olympic champion and Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, Dick Button is widely considered one of the premier male figure skaters and figure skating TV commentators of all time. As a skater he dominated the sport like no other, in one seven-year period (1946-52) winning two Olympic gold medals (1948, 1952), five straight World Championships (1948-52), seven U.S. National titles and six North American titles. Not bad. Not bad at all.


Johnny (pictured above centre) has made appearances at two Winter Olympics including the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. He’s the star of his own reality series, Be Good Johnny Weir, on the Sundance Channel, for which he won the 2010 NewNowNext Award for Most Addictive Reality Star. Also in 2010, he again earned the Readers’ Choice Award for Skater of the Year, making Johnny the only skater other than Michelle Kwan to win this trophy more than once. Most recently, Johnny was recently honored by the Human Rights Campaign-Seattle with the HRC Visibility Award. Known around the world as the “people’s skater,” Johnny continues to win the hearts of new fans with every appearance. We’re pretty sure his efforts on Skating with the Stars will only add folks to his already impressive fan base.


In addition to working with stars such as Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys, Dixie Chicks, Clay Aiken, Brandy, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, The Jonas Brothers, Jordin Sparks, and Mario, Laurie Ann (pictured above right) choreographed Paramount Pictures’ Alfie, as well as the Universal feature film, Honey. Laurie Ann has worked alongside acclaimed directors such as Spike Lee with Beyonce for Pepsi and Matthew Rolston during his recent Slim-Fast campaign. She’s also worked on campaigns for GMC Envoy, Hoover Vacuums and KMart. Laurie Ann is also heavily featured in Diddy’s new brainchild titled Making His Band, which recently premiered on MTV. Laurie Ann also appeared as a choreographer on the hit show So You Think You Can Dance.

What do you think of the judges? Are they going to give some good feedback? Who do you think is the Bruno, the Len, and the Carie Ann? Last but not least, we have our two hosts. Lets get to know them a little bit.


Hailing from Bolton (above right), Vernon’s first taste of fame came when he was spotted by a model scout from Select at the BBC’s Clothes Show Live. He began a successful modeling career but it wasn’t long before he was picked for stardom by Channel 4 when he won ‘Model of the Week’ on The Big Breakfast. In 2000, Vernon landed a regular gig on T4. This proved to be the perfect vehicle to show off his humor and warmth. His love of music shone through and he became a presenter for BBC2’s Top of the Pops Plus, and the spinoff series Top of the Pops @ Play for Play UK. In 2010, he got the chance of a lifetime when he was asked to host Million Dollar Mind Game for ABC.


Tanith Belbin (above left) is the most decorated U.S. Ice Dancer ever! In 2006, Tanith was named “Hottest Female Athlete” by and named “Detroit’s Hottest Couple” (with Ben) by Hour Detroit Magazine. Tanith was also named “America’s Hottest Olympic Athlete” by Men’s Health Magazine and made the cover! Following the 2006 Olympics, Tanith got rave reviews for a stint with Good Morning America as an on-air contributing reporter and as a red carpet correspondent for the ESPY Awards. Tanith has also been a celebrity spokesperson for De Beers, Ralph Lauren, Sega and Proctor & Gamble.

So there you have it. Are you tuning in next Monday to watch? Do think this show will be a hit or a miss?

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  • gad1n10

    FRED PALASCAK – OMF’nG! That ‘Feast on for a week and still have left over’ Nipple is worth tuning in for alone. The fact it’s on a Smok’n Hot guy is the icing on the cake ;P He is 1 Fine Look’n Hunk-o-Man ;))

    DENIS PETUKHOV – He def looks like a (P)enis with that expression.